Summary of the 2012 CAPLA conference in Halifax

There was an almost palpable buzz of excitement at this year’s CAPLA conference. Held In beautiful coastal Halifax, Nova Scotia, from October 21-23, 2012, the conference attracted 202 participants, ...

Editor's note: Find out more about the CAPLA conference at MPLAN's Winnter Flurry of Learning luncheon event on December 5th, in Winnipeg.

There was an almost palpable buzz of excitement at this year’s CAPLA conference. Held In beautiful coastal Halifax, Nova Scotia, from October 21-23, 2012, the conference attracted 202 participants, including 10 from the USA and 11 from other countries around the globe. The topics ranged from basic RPL concepts to presentation and evaluation of projects as well as in depth conversations and research regarding the future of RPL.

Keynote speakers included Arne Carlsen, Director of UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and Len Jillard, Senior Vice President, People Resources and Chief People Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

Arne spoke about the UNESCO Education First initiative, which is “a reflection of UNESCO’s vision that education is the most effective way to fight poverty, improve health and well-being, generate growth and promote responsible citizenship”. (UNESCO website) He made the connection between Education First and the 2004 UNESCO research Recognition, Validation, and Accreditation of Non-formal and Informal Learning (RVA). Arne suggested that the mismatch between skills acquired in formal education and today’s livelihoods leads to the under-utilization of human talent and resources. Although RVA (another acronym to add to your list) guidelines are not legally binding, they promote lifelong learning for all as one of UNESCO’s major commitments, and are based on a consultative process with over 50 member states on comparative research.

Len’s address provided a mind’s eye tour of the education and training methods and systems offered to employees at Hamburger University. Yes, it is an institution that provides realistic, measurable education and training that is now accredited against a variety of college and university programming via the American Council on Education (ACE), America’s largest higher education association and governing body for all of USA’s higher education institutions. See video at http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/corporate_careers/training_and_development/hamburger_university/college_credit_connection.html

Three pre-conference sessions were offered on Sunday, October 21, followed by a welcome reception complete with delicious hors d’oeurves and other tasty options. 56 separate presentations, workshops and Conversation Café sessions were covered over the jam-packed two days.

Attendees also took advantage of the seasonal weather to get out and about and enjoy the market, local seafood and other tasty menu selections at restaurants, and other nearby attractions including several large buildings which seemed to appear overnight. Otherwise known as cruise ships, these monstrosities docked each day just a block away from the host hotel and were quite the sight for land locked folk. The Immigration Museum at Pier 21, opened in 1928, offered a peek into Halifax, and indeed Canadian, history including a model of the original immigration process.

Overall, the opinion of this writer is that the 2012 CAPLA conference was a resounding success with many contacts being made and plenty of information being exchanged. Canadian RPL Practitioners can be proud of the work they have accomplished as was evident when the world came to learn in Halifax.

Respectfully submitted by Ann Pedersen

Image: 
Halifax Harbour