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Continuing Education

Embrace Lifelong Learning

As a teacher who challenges her adult learners to embrace lifelong learning, Lori Dilliott decided to listen to her own advice.

Lori Dilliott has been a literacy practitioner at Adult Language and Learning in Chatham, Ontario for the past nine years. As a teacher who challenges her adult learners to embrace lifelong learning to be the best that they can be, Lori decided she had much to learn from her own advice. Her recent completion of the Teacher of Adult Literacy Educator Certification program at Conestoga modeled to her own students the importance of upgrading to enhance skills and successes. The practical application of this certification program coupled with Lori's degree in applied sciences has become a great combination to strengthen her personal and professional growth.
Lori sat down with us recently to discuss her experience with the program and describe how it improved her professional growth.

  1. Could you describe what initially led you to Conestoga and inspired you to further your education through Conestoga's Distance Learning program, Teacher of Adults - Literacy Educator program? I was searching online for a program that offered courses in adult education and literacy to support my current position as a Literacy Basic Skills practitioner. Although I had been accepted into the Bachelor of Adult Education program at Brock, I wasn't certain that the program would offer me what I was looking for. When I learned about the Teacher of Adult Literacy Educator Certification (TALEC) program on the Conestoga College website, I felt that it was a more practical and appropriate program for my learning needs.
  2. Why did you choose to take a Distance Learning program instead of the traditional classroom format? Living in Chatham-Kent, the Distance Learning education was my only option as the post-secondary institutions in our area did not offer the program I was seeking. Distance education offers the opportunity to work at my own pace and allows me to fit my studies into my personal and professional schedule.
  3. What would you describe as some of the benefits of your Distance Learning experience at Conestoga? There have been several benefits to Distance Learning. First, access to the program that I wanted attracted me to enrol. Flexibility of the program was also a positive aspect. I was able to complete the certification program in a time frame that was suitable to my needs. As well, while taking each individual course, I was able to access the material 24/7. Further benefits include the opportunity to network with other individuals from across Ontario taking the same program. Connecting with other professionals and volunteers in the field provided the opportunity for us to share our experiences.
  4. How has your experience at Conestoga benefited your career development? Enrolment in this program has supported my on-the-job learning and provided me with a more comprehensive understanding of the principles of adult literacy and essential skills upgrading. I have had the opportunity to engage in ongoing professional development, applying new knowledge in my workplace of an adult literacy environment. I have also used this opportunity to share with my learners the importance of lifelong learning regardless of whether we feel we already have successful careers.
  5. Was it important that the program was designed in partnership with Project READ Literacy Network? Knowing that the program was designed in partnership with Project READ Literacy Network validates and supports the material being taught. Knowing that those who are directly involved in the literacy field have contributed to the program's development lends credibility to the curriculum material of the TALEC Program.
  6. What was your favourite course in the program and why? I found value in all the courses that I studied in the program. However, my favourite has to be the field placement. This course allowed the opportunity for flexibility in addressing what I believed to be my personal learning needs. Having the chance to create my own learning plan brought purpose to the placement, and supported my motivation to learn.
  7. If you could share advice with others considering taken this program what would it be? I would first share that regardless of how long you have worked with adults in the literacy environment, enrolment in the TALEC program brings credibility to your careers as a Literacy Practitioner. The curriculum content may be familiar, but the opportunity to network with an instructor and other individuals taking the course helps you to develop a deeper understanding of the principles behind adult learning while you learn from other's experiences. Further to this, my advice would be to tackle one course per semester in order to get the most out of the content of the material. If you are looking to register into the certification program, it is most beneficial to be working or volunteering in literacy/upgrading program. Much of the curriculum content is more easily understood and applied if you are in a literacy setting.
  8. What advice would you give someone who hasn't experienced Distance Learning but is considering it as an option to upgrade their skills? Distance Learning is simple. The college and course instructors make sure that you have plain language instructions to guide you through the process. Technical support is always available. The greatest challenge to online learning is making certain that you are prepared to take control of your own learning so that you stay on top of the course expectations and deadlines.
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