The 15,000-square-foot facility, generously provided by Oxford Properties, is a hub for a groundbreaking experiment involving numerous public, private, and non-profit organizations.
Open learning differs from traditional learning by recognizing that learning can happen anywhere at any time. If more traditional learning resembles a ladder, open learning resembles a dynamic climbing wall that embeds community organizations, educators, and employers in an inclusive learning process, incorporating experiential learning, self-directed learning, and mentorship.
Calgary’s Skills Development Framework was developed over three years by the LearningCITY Collective. The framework establishes a goal of accelerating the capacity of all Calgarians to thrive in the face of change by expanding the collaboration between employers, educators, and learners.
The Open Learning Lab is a tangible example of this collaboration.
According to Dr. David Finch, the Chair of the LearningCity Collective, the commitment of the community to drive this collaborative vision forward is what makes Calgary a unique city.
This content is sponsored by Calgary’s own WCD.
WCD recently invested in an HP Indigo 15K Digital Press — the first in Western Canada. This game-changing technology will help WCD disrupt the print fulfillment industry by providing customers with a greater range of capabilities, higher degree of quality, improved order speeds, and more sustainable options.
“To bring the Open Learning Lab to life took dozens of stakeholders across the public, private, and non-profit sector. But mostly it took a lot of courage. We needed educators who were prepared to explore a new collaborative education model; we needed employers who recognized they must play a far more active role in learning; and most importantly we needed students who were prepared to think differently about where and how they learned.”
Some of those students include adult learners enrolled in InceptionU’s Tech Adjacent and Full Stack Developer training programs.
InceptionU CEO Margo Purcell says as the organization expands its programming in Calgary, it was looking for innovative and collaborative space.
“Our programs target adult learners transitioning into the tech space. The people who enroll in our programs are seeking opportunities to expand their network, community and connections,” says Purcell. “Where else can you find a more ideal environment for this than in the company of similar-minded businesses, non-profit organizations, students and learners and the synergies that will come from being together in the space?”
A key player in bringing the Open Learning Lab to life is TalentED YYC. As a founding partner, TalentED YYC is mandated to identify new models for engaging employers in work-integrated learning. It is using the lab to support increased employer engagement through structured professional development and networking.
One of those employers is Goodlawyer, a fast-growing legaltech company that was named Small Business of the Year by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
“Goodlawyer is transforming how businesses and lawyers work together. Similarly, the Open Learning Lab is transforming how employers and learners work together. We’re proud to be scaling our team here in Calgary, so this program was a natural fit,” says Grant Lahring, co-founder and Head of Growth at Goodlawyer.
The Open Learning Lab is also home to up to 1,000 students from the AccelerateU program being delivered by Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business. These students are studying entrepreneurship, social innovation, and marketing. Faculty will be experimenting new ways for students to roll-up their sleeves and tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the community.