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A $120,000 investment in Fanshawe College from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) is allowing the College to research, measure and assess transferrable skill attainment for students enrolled in one of its microcredential health care programs.


The research project, taking place from August 2021 to August 2022, examines whether effective skill acquisition can take place in a health care micro certification program that incorporates work-integrated learning. The project focuses on assessing transferrable skill development in communication, teamwork, time management and cultural sensitivity – specifically Indigenous ways of knowing – from the perspective of the learner, program faculty, and work-integrated learning employers. It addresses a gap in existing research literature by comparing students' self-assessment of skills before, during and after the program to more objective skill assessments provided by faculty and employers at the same time points.


The project addresses three key research questions:

How do student self-assessments of core program skills and competencies align or compare to objective ratings provided by faculty and employers;

To what degree does work-integrated learning experience following class-based instruction improve transferable skill acquisition;

Is work-integrated learning more effective for the acquisition of particular program skills and competencies?


Fanshawe's Corporate Training Solutions and Institutional Research departments partnered to develop and implement the study for students enrolled in the College's Supportive Care Assistant micro-certification program. The program has four intakes of 15 students. Each student completes four-weeks of online training, followed by a four-week paid work placement in a community setting. Project staff includes an Indigenous Research Associate who establishes and maintains Indigenous-focused liaison activities with students, community partners, faculty and employers over the length of the program. The Research Associate also guides the development and integration of contextual Indigenous content into the survey instruments and focus group questions.


The Supportive Care Assistant program was developed to address chronic regional labour shortages in the long-term care sector. On graduation, supportive care assistants will be prepared to make a difference in the lives of others who require help, assist certified personal care providers, and community health care teams to support clients. 


About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) was established by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005, as a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario. As per section 5 of this same Act, the Council exists to assist the Minister of Colleges and Universities "in improving the quality of education provided in the sector, access to post-secondary education and accountability of post-secondary educational institutions." It does so by conducting research on all aspects of post-secondary education and by making recommendations to the Minister.

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