apple Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework

The OALCF helps answer:

  • For the learner, “Why am I learning this?”
  • For the practitioner, “What do I need to teach?”
  • For all stakeholders, “What does a person achieve in a literacy program?”

The Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) is the foundation of the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program. The OALCF:

  • is a competency-based framework
  • supports task-based programming
  • focuses on integrating skills, knowledge and behaviours to perform authentic, goal-related tasks
  • supports contextualized programming
  • reflects the learner’s culture, language, etc. and his/her goal
  • builds on current literacy practice
  • strengthens the links between the LBS Program, other Employment Ontario services and the community

Transition-Oriented Programming

Transition-oriented programming is the overriding principle of the OALCF. The term transition-oriented programming merges three key elements:

1. Goal-directed learning

• uses the learner’s goal or purpose for coming to LBS to plan and deliver training activities specific to that goal and the gaps between the learner’s current skills and those required by the goal

2. Contextualized learning

• uses authentic learning materials relative to the learner’s goal and goal path

• takes into account cultural and linguistic beliefs and attitudes

3. Coordinated supports and services for the learner

• help learners deal with potential barriers to learning and to reaching their goals

• provide links and referrals to service providers with the mandate and expertise to provide financial, employment, health, academic and other social service supports

• coordinate ‘wrap-around’ services to meet the range of learner needs and challenges through interagency cooperation, integrated programming, community-wide planning and active case management

For more information, see the OALCF Foundations of Transition-Oriented Programming. (

Goal Paths

During the development of the OALCF, five distinct goal paths were identified. Learners in Literacy and Basic Skills generally state they are intending to move on, or transition, to:goal

  • Independence
  • Employment
  • Adult Secondary School Credit
  • Postsecondary Education
  • Apprenticeship

To help practitioners support learners’ transition to chosen goals, there are a number of OALCF tools and resources, which can be found on the Employment Ontario Partners’ Gateway ( These documents provide guidance on developing goal-directed assessment, learner plans and programming, and help learners and practitioners to:

  • better understand each goal path and its eligibility and entrance requirements
  • determine whether or not a goal is achievable and realistic
  • select learning activities
  • determine assessment tools and methods
  • locate relevant resources in their community
  • identify other needed supports

As literacy practitioners, we do not need to know everything about every goal learners may choose. Instead, by referring to the OALCF documents noted in the pathway above, we can get a general understanding of the goal. We will also learn who we might contact in our communities


Within the OALCF, the Curriculum Framework uses competencies to organize and articulate learning. These competencies help practitioners and learners make connections between literacy skills development and the real-life tasks that the learners will perform in their future learning, work and/or community participation. There are six competencies:

  1. Find and Use Information
  2. Communicate Ideas and Information
  3. Understand and Use Numbers
  4. Use Digital Technology
  5. Manage Learning
  6. Engage with Others

Together, these six competencies represent and describe the ways learners will need to use their abilities. The competencies are context-free and broad enough to apply to all learners, independent of the learners’ goals, culture or learning environment. The competencies are not separate “subject” areas that are to be taught in isolation. Rather, the competencies work together, allowing learners to complete tasks that represent those they will undertake along their goal path. The competencies also take into account integrated thinking, interpersonal skills and behaviours. The Curriculum Framework notes that “Within a competency-based approach, the interaction of skills, knowledge and behaviours, as well as learners’ understanding of how to use their skills, contributes to learners being able to perform tasks.” The Curriculum Framework can be accessed at

Task-Based Approach

The OALCF takes adult literacy learning from a skills-based to a task-based approach. Tasks…OALCF

  • bundle skills, knowledge and behaviour
  • show how learning can be transferred to work, home and/or the community
  • provide more targeted programming

In a task-based approach, skills and tasks work hand in hand. Learners need to see the relevance of skills to tasks and goals. Skills enable task completion and tasks enable goal completion. If their skills are insufficient for the task, learners may need to step back to learn more skills.

The language of tasks helps stakeholders understand what learners will be able to do because of LBS training, how learners will be learning and why they will learn what they learn. Task-based language also helps to inform referral decisions.

Task Groups

Task Groups are used to arrange and categorize the content within larger competencies. They are links between the broad competency titles and the learners’ actual abilities. For example, within Competency A. Find and Use Information, the task groups are:


Task groups do not have a set ranking. They may be worked on in any order or combination, or not covered at all, depending on the learner’s needs and goals.

OALCF Curriculum Framework Chart with Competencies, Task Groups and Levels


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