Conference Archives

Perspectives on Labour Shortages: Exploring the Education-Jobs Gap

24 October 2008 to noon on Sunday, 26 October 2008

Conference Proceedings PDF Document

False Promises: Precarious Work in the New Economy

October 20 & 21, 2006

Conference proceedings: Paper Presentations  PDF Document and Slide presentations - One (Precarious work situations of individuals with low literacy) and Two (Putting Women in the Picture) PDF Document

Precarious Work and Lifelong Learning

June 2005 

Papers and panels explore the issues of work and learning in precarious employment (temporary, self-employed and part-time).

Three sessions were web cast live from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE).

  • a keynote address by Leah Vosko, Canada Research Chair in Feminist Political Economy at York University
  • two panels on lifelong learning

The conference ended with the performance of "Working the Line, People in My Heart," a readers theatre performance about workers in Edmonton 's garment industry, and songs by Notre Dames de Bananes, Edmonton 's labour choir. No available documents.

Developing Essential Skills: Changing Contexts and Perspectives:

A Workshop for Researchers, Policy-makers and Partners

April 25-27, 2005

The Changing Face of Work and Learning Conference 2003

The first conference of the Work and Learning Network was held in September 2003.

2003 fonference

Conference Proceedings 2003

Part 1         Part 2         Posters|Roundtables|Symposium

List of Presentations and Proceedings Abstracts

1. Occupational Role Salience and the Planning Behaviour of First Nations Mothers
Marlene Renate Atleo, University of British Columbia North Island College
Abstract: A survey of 40 First Nations mothers with school age children found occupational role salience positively related to three types of planning behavior.

2. Dialogues for Changes: Governance Options for Aboriginal Women
By Christine Augustine, University of New Brunswick

Abstract: This paper reports on the concerns of Aboriginal women with regard to Bill C7, First Nations Governance Act (FNGA). A workshop captures participants' fears that the Bill will further diminish their political voice. The forum was also hopeful, articulating an agenda to improve political voice and quality of life for Aboriginal women and their families.

3. Peer Collaboration as a Model for Workplace Learning in Health Care: Possibilities and Challenges
By Constance Barlow, Anne Phelan, Peter Harasym & Florence Myrick,University of Calgary, Alberta; Stansfield, Besner, Iverson, Jackson, Job, Mercer & Vanderlee, Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Alberta

Abstract: This paper presents the rationale, theoretical underpinnings, and qualitative data from research on peer collaboration in a health care region. The study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council INE Grant.

4. Organizational Learning: Diversity of Opinions is Important to Increase Organizational Capacity
By R. Mark Biddle, University of Alberta

Abstract: In contrast to a singular meaning of organizational learning, findings at an Emergency Training Centre suggest that diversity is a necessary ingredient in organizational learning.

5. Essential Skills: A Critical Analysis from Social Cohesion and Literacy Policy Perspectives

By Adrian Blunt, University of Saskatchewan

6. Learning for Extraordinary Projects: How the America's Cup (and Team New Zealand) Challenges Theory on Learning in the Workplace

By Roger Boshier, University of British Columbia,Vancouver

Abstract: The America's Cup is an extraordinary project that looks like a sailing regatta but is really a workplace-learning contest. Team New Zealand does it well.

7. Emerging from the Shadows: Live-in Caregivers Learning Empowerment

By Susan Brigham, Athabasca University, Caridad Bernardino, Grant MacEwan College

Abstract: This paper addresses the quality of life and work of Canada's live-in caregivers. It identifies some of the Live-in Caregiver Program's structural flaws and describes how caregivers learn and create strategies of empowerment and resistance through education.

8. School-to-Work Transitions in Alberta: Challenging Traditional Paradigms

By George H. Buck, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This paper describes antecedent and current paradigms of school-to-work transitions in Alberta, reasons for change, and possible future directions of such initiatives.

9. Risk and Failure as "Lifelong Learning": Entrepreneurship Training Programs in Saskatchewan and the State Promotion of "Me, Inc."

By Joanne Butler, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

10. Missing In Action: Women's Alternative and Informal IT Learning

By Shauna Butterwick, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Abstract: This paper provides a preliminary analysis of the first phase of a project exploring and documenting women's informal and alternate learning pathways to IT jobs.

11. Mathematics Achievement, Career Aspirations and Perceived Relevance of Mathematics: A Causal Model

By Jesse Chan, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This study explores the causal links between mathematics achievement, career aspirations, and perceived importance of mathematics for senior high students. Findings suggest that causal directionality is a function of gender and grade level.

12. Working Lives & Adult Education Framework for a Critical Pedagogy of Work

By Michael Collins, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Abstract: The case is made for a politically and culturally engaged critical pedagogy of work, placing it within the historical legacy of adult education.

13. Integrating Labour Force Development Services: The Challenges

By Ursule Critoph, Ursule Critoph Consulting

Abstract: Conceptualizing an effective system that supports labour market transitions requires an understanding of the principles, components, and pre-conditions necessary to integration.

14. Self-Other Relationships in the Educative Workplace: Lessons from Case Studies of Problem-Based Learning

By John M. Dirkx, Michigan State University, East Lansing

Regina O. Smith, Portland State University, Oregon

Abstract: This study of difference in problem-based learning groups suggests that learning to work across difference is bound up with an evolving sense of group identity.

15. Work/Education/Yukon: Is There a Place for Local Skills in a Small World?

By Anna Dowdall, Whitehorse

Abstract: This paper explores policy and initiatives in the areas of public schooling, post-secondary learning and adult basic education in the Yukon, with particular attention to present and future impact on First Nation communities.

16. New Citizenship Learning: A Place Where Workplace Learning Starts

By Shibao Guo, University of Alberta

Abstract: This paper reports a study conducted with an immigrant service organization where a new citizenship learning community was formed to prepare productive and democratic citizens.

17. Heutagogy and Developing Capable People and Capable Workplaces: Strategies for Dealing with Complexity

By Stewart Hase, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia

Abstract: This paper suggests a theoretical rationale for innovative and dynamic approaches to learning and learning at work based on complexity theory, capability and heutagogy.

18. Rethinking Literacy in the New World Order

By Nancy Jackson, University of Toronto, Ontario

19. Re-Conceptualising the Links Between Work and Learning: A Political Economy Approach

By David Jele, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Abstract: It is widely accepted that a major purpose of schooling is to prepare people for work. Schools perform this function directly, providing knowledge and skills, and indirectly by developing aptitudes and credentials recognised for employment. A political economy approach is used to study the links between work and learning.

20. The Application of Critical Curriculum Paradigms in Reconceptualizing Staff Training in a State Correctional Agency

By Ann M. Jones, SC Department of Corrections, Columbia, SC

Elizabeth A. Peterson, National-Louis University, Chicago, IL

Abstract: The positivist training paradigm in corrections exists solely to transfer and transmit knowledge rather than exploring transformative possibilities in a newer paradigm of "becoming."

21. How Recent Wars in Africa and the Middle East Are Impacting the Professional Development Needs of Teachers in Winnipeg, Manitoba

By David Kirby, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; Jan Smith, University of Calgary, Alberta

Abstract: This article outlines a qualitative research project designed to investigate the pre-service and professional development needs of teachers who are working with war affected refugee children.

22. Just Work: Possibilities within Emerging Forms of Work

By Elizabeth A. Lange, Athabasca University; Tara J. Fenwick, University of Alberta

Abstract: Drawing from critical theories of work and findings of our qualitative studies, this paper first suggests criteria for assessing just and non-alienated work and second, presents the experiences of Canadian workers who have left salaried jobs to pursue self-employment. Our purpose is to explore the possibilities for just work emerging in these non-standard work arrangements.

23. The Case for and of Labour Adjustment in Canada in an Era of LMDAs

By Karen Charnow Lior, Canadian Labour Congress, Ottawa

Ursule Critoph, Ursule Critoph Consulting, Edmonton

Abstract: Labour Adjustment is a contentious issue for the labour movement. Developing a "labour vision" is challenging in light of the Labour Market Development Agreements implemented since 1996.

24. NOISES OFF : Four Sites of Informal Learning On The Edges of Union Education

By D'Arcy Martin, University of Toronto, Ontario

25. Professional Development for Recreation Professionals: "It's All Fun and Games 'til Someone Needs A Certificate"

By Val Mayes, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This paper explores issues of professional development for those who work in the diverse and evolving field of parks and recreation.

26. Human Capital Theory "At Work": The Generalists Meet the Symbolic Analysts in a Changing Workplace and Marketplace

By Sharon M. McIntyre, Athabasca University, Calgary, Alberta

Abstract: A corporation's hiring and training practices are analyzed through the "lens" of Human Capital Theory. The potential consequences of emphasizing labour flexibility, with specific reference to general and specialized training, are examined.

27. Improving Nurses' Work Through Focus Group Research

By Marianne McLennan, University of Alberta

28. PLAR and The Workplace: New Initiatives in Manitoba

By Robin R. Millar, Centre for Education and Work, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Abstract: This paper will report on a recently completed two-year study that articulated workplace learning with the Mature Student Diploma in Manitoba.

29. Racialized Barriers to Computer Access for Immigrant Contingent Workers

By Kiran Mirchandani, Roxana Ng, Jasjit Sangha, Trudy Rawlings and Nel Coloma-Moya

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,University of Toronto

Abstract: This paper explores the learning barriers faced by a group of contingent workers in the context of the peripheral position that they occupy in the knowledge economy.

30. Mentoring and The Learning Organization

By Valerie Neaves, University of Alberta

31. Unions & Workplace Literacy: Developing Cooperation

By Tom Nesbit, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Abstract: This paper examines the roles of various partnerships and local advocates in fostering union-initiated workplace literacy education programs in Canada.

32. Bullish in Business or Cowed in Coach? How the New Economy Affects Employment Preparation Learners and Instructors

By Jennifer A. Sandlin & Ralf St. Clair, Texas A&M University, College Station

Abstract: Both instructors and learners are affected by trends of the post-industrial economy, but the resources available to members of each group are quite different, resulting in different implications. This calls into question the ability of instructors to judge the likely success of participants across this difference.

33. Coping with Change in the Ontario Public Sector: The Importance of Participatory Design

By Peter H. Sawchuk, University of Toronto, Ontario

Abstract: This paper explores recent changes in the Ontario public sector with an emphasis on the participatory structures and the work/tech change design and implementation processes.

34. Adult Education Online: Challenging Corporate Hegemony

By Laura Servage, University of Alberta

Abstract: The convenience of Internet degree programs holds significant appeal for time-crunched adults seeking to further their education and advance their careers - but can cyberspace facilitate anything more meaningful than pragmatic credentialism in these online learners?

35. Integrating School- and Work-based Learning - 'Alternation Education and Learning' in Canada

By Hans G. Schuetze, UBC Vancouver

Abstract: The context in which knowledge and skills are applied is critical to their acquisition. 'Alternation education and learning' entails a combination of classroom-based education and cognitive learning and workplace-based training and experiential learning. In this paper, the concept is explained and the Canadian system reviewed as to the extent to which it is applied.

36. The Uneven Terrain of "Learning Organizations": The Deskilling of Immigrant Professionals

By Bonnie Slade, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto

Abstract: This research examines how immigrant professionals who have been recruited to Canada for their education and skills are deskilled and marginalized within "learning organizations."

37. Youth Perceptions of Their Future Workplace

By Sonia A. Sobon, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This study identifies three preferences some Millennial youth have when seeking employment: 1) desirable transactional exchange; 2) challenging and meaningful work; 3) desirable social exchange.

38. Labour Perspectives on Work and Learning in Canada

By Bruce Spencer, Athabasca University

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to cast a critical eye on the context of discussions about work and learning. A generalised critical workerist view of workplace learning, informs research at Athabasca University's Work and Learning Research Unit (WALRUS). (see Spencer 1998 and 2002.)

39. Retiring can be Hazardous to Mental and Physical Well-Being: Knowing When and How to Retire

By Diane M. Spokus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Abstract: This paper explores the experiences of retirement that are related to a retirees' social, economic, physical and mental well-being.

40. Liberalizing Workplace Education for Recent Immigrants

By John Stewart, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to suggest an educational program that utilizes the ideas of Paulo Freire to help immigrants deal with issues of culture that could potentially influence their workplace satisfaction and productivity.

41. Increasing Learning Transfer Amongst Newly Trained Employees: The Role of the Supervisor

By Andrea Tasse & Mohamed Hrimech, University of Montreal, Quebec

Abstract: This paper addresses the issue of learning or training transfer by studying the role of the supervisor in five organizations, focusing on transfer strategies and identifying successful and unsuccessful transfer situations.

42. The Context of School-Work Transition in Canada

By Alison Taylor, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This paper examines institutional challenges to coherent high school to work transition policy with a particular focus on recent education reforms in Ontario.

43. The Virtual Classroom @ Work: How Technology Shapes Workplace Learning

By Terrie Lynn Thompson, University of Ottawa, Ontario

44. Learning for Work or Learning Through Work?

By Nayda Veeman, Keith Walker and Angela Ward, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Abstract: This paper suggests rethinking the conventional, linear relationship between education and work and argues that learning through work may be more effective than learning for work.

45. Let's Get Personal: Experiencing Resistance to Gender Equity in the Workplace

By Janice Wallace, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This work presents the experiences of three women employed as gender-equity specialists in their respective workplaces. It recounts workplace resistance to gender equity, and ways in which this resistance was often personalized.

46. Adults Helping Adults: Teacher-Initiated Supervisory Option For Professional Development

By Zachariah Wanzare, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This paper discusses peer supervision among teachers. It considers the foci, practices, problems, and potential importance of peer supervision in facilitating professional growth of teachers.

47. Canadian Women in the Industrial Trades: A Historical Perspective

By Bonnie Watt-Malcolm and Beth Young, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: Strategies promoting the industrial trades to women are often ineffective. A critical review of historical policies provides the basis to inform future policy development.

48. Transforming Fugitive Identity Constructions as Cultural and Educational Work

By Kristopher Wells, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: In this essay I discuss how I use found poetry to examine the formal and non-formal educational experiences of Queer young adults in Alberta schools.

49. Workplace Learning as a Field of Inquiry: A Canadian-US Comparison

By Faye P. Wiesenberg, PhD, University of Calgary, Alberta

Shari L. Peterson, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Abstract: This comparative study explored differences in perceptions between Canadian and US post secondary faculty in the fields of Adult Education and Human Resource Development on program development issues in workplace learning. This paper describes one aspect of a larger study, specifically focusing on workplace learning program curricula, workplace learning practitioner skill development, and program-business alliance building.

50. Individual Learners and the Learning Organization: Exploring the Meaning of Personal Learning Plan Usage from the Employee Perspective

By Jane Zakreski, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: This paper explores what Personal Learning Plan usage means from the perspective of worker-learners using this tool, and critically examines the link between encouraging individual learning and advancing the goals of the "learning organization."


59. Information Technology Skills: Enabling the Transition to Work for Arts Students

By Terry Butler, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Tracy Chao, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Peter Ryan, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: Do liberal arts students lack the information technology (IT) skills they need when they enter the world of work? The Technology Edge project surveyed students about their computing skills, and spoke with employers their expectations of Arts graduates. We report that there is no "digital divide" between art and non-arts students, although there are skill areas in which arts students need improvement.

60. Learning Conversations in the Workplace

By Cheryl Zurawski, University of Calgary, Alberta

Abstract: A qualitative and exploratory study reinforces the role of conversation in organizational learning. Characteristics of effective and ineffective workplace learning conversations and best practices are also revealed.


52. Senior Students, New Graduates & Experienced Professionals Perceptions of Opportunities in the Workplace

R. Campbell, H.M. Madill, M.A. Armour, D.Cullen, I. Meglis, T.C. Montgomerie, S. Varnhagen, A. Einsiedel, L. Stewin, C. Rothwell, & W. Coffin, Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST), University of Alberta, Edmonton

Abstract: Factors derived from recent research on career decision-making and retention of women in science, engineering, and technology fields are explored.

53. Working Against the Grain: Exploring Work as 'Not-Labour-Power'

By Jane Dawson, St. Francis Xavier University

54. Bridging the Solitudes: Exploring School to Work Transitions of Marginalized Youth at Seneca College and York University

By Robert Drummond, Carl James, Jan Kainer, & Leanne Taylor, York University, Toronto

Abstract: This roundtable discussion reports on a pilot project that is investigating the post-secondary experience of marginalized youth at Seneca College and York University.

55. The "Healthy" Workplace: Who Benefits? Who Doesn't?

By Karen Foss, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Abstract: This roundtable discussion will describe institutional ethnography as a method of inquiry. In this instance institutional ethnography is used to examine broader social relations in the context of the healthy workplace.

56. Older Workers: Lessons Learned from the Nova Scotia Pilot Projects

By Jeannine Jessome & Marjorie Davison, Nova Scotia Department of Education

57. Leadership of Inclusion: Making the Circle Bigger for Everyone

By Cairine MacDonald, University of Alberta

Abstract: The author of this roundtable reflects upon her extensive business experience for lessons and guidelines in effective, inclusive leadership. While a woman's perspective is considered the author concludes that inclusive leadership strategies can be used by men and women alike.

58. Shifting Our Focus: Moving from Supported Employment to Supported Employers

By Louise Lockhart & Rick Goodfellow, Alberta Human Resources & Employment

Tim Weinkauf, Persons With Developmental Disabilities

Abstract: Persons with disabilities continue to be unemployed or underemployed compared to the population at large. How can our workplaces to become more inclusive?


51. Learning Works: A Symposium Presentation

By Val Davidson, Gay Douglas, Kathy Neill, Anne Ramsay, Jane Tuer & Cheryl Conway

QUILL Learning Network, Ontario

Abstract: This report presents an overview of lessons learned in a pilot project for workplace literacy conducted by a consortium of five regional literacy networks in Ontario.