Episode 23: Nicola Finnson & Carleton Trail College, Saskatchewan

Child care, transportation, cold winters and work shifts are some of the challenges learners face in getting to LINC classes in rural Saskatchewan.

To make it easier to participate in LINC, Carleton Trail College in south central Saskatchewan has piloted a delivery model where face to face study in a classroom is combined with online studies at home, or in the workplace.

The result for immigrants is a more flexible delivery option.

Nicola Finnson led the piloting of the delivery model. Carleton Trail wanted to preserve the social aspects of face to face learning while making it easier for learners to participate when not in class.

The college created three blended learning ‘sites’ and initiated a 16-week pilot project. Finnson reports, “The results were phenomenal”: great language training results and positive impacts on learner retention and participation numbers.

For example, pilot attendance was 89% versus 77.2% in traditional classrooms. Employers report communication gains at work, including more ‘mingling’ between older employees and the newcomers.

The pilot has been extended.

In this ten minute podcast, Nicola describes the challenges newcomers and the college faced, and the impact of the pilot program on learners, their course attendance and participation, and their workplaces.