The OALCF Overview

Other LBS resources:

The Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) is a competency-based framework that supports the development of adult learners and literacy programming delivered through the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) Program. As the cornerstone of the LBS Program, the OALCF links the program to the requirements of employers, education and training providers and community partners in a clear way and furthers the Employment Ontario promise of building a highly skilled, highly educated workforce in Ontario.

For LBS practitioners to obtain secure access to the OALCF Milestone and Culminating Task portal site maintained by Contact North, LBS service providers will be required to submit requests for changes to user access to the portal directly to Contact North through their SPRA (Service Provider Registration Authority) for EOIS-CaMS.


  • supports the development of task-based programming;
  • helps practitioners focus on strengthening the learner’s ability to integrate skills, knowledge and behaviours to perform authentic, goal related tasks;
  • supports the development of contextualized programming that reflects the learner’s culture, language and other features specific to the learner and her or his goal; and
  • builds on current literacy practice and strengthens the links between the LBS Program and Ontario’s employment, education and training system.

The Curriculum Framework (March 2015) is the foundation of the OALCF and outlines what is commonly available at an LBS program. It describes six broad competencies - generic categories of learner abilities - that organize the content of the LBS Program. These competencies are embedded in authentic and purposeful tasks that show how literacy learning transfers to goal-related activities.

The curriculum framework uses three levels to describe the increasing complexity of these tasks, and learner’s developing proficiency in performing these tasks. 

The curriculum framework also provides examples of what a task at the end of the level looks like; end-of-level tasks are categorized by OALCF goal path, providing practitioners with additional support in designing and implementing literacy programming.

Since it was released in April 2011, the curriculum framework has been subject to minor revisions which have been documented in the OALCF Change Log (October 2011).

In order to support the implementation of the OALCF, frequently asked questions and answers have been developed based on questions submitted through the OALCF mailbox.

  • The first FAQ (January 2012) answers questions about learner plans, milestones, culminating tasks, and goal paths.
  • The second FAQ (February 2012) answers questions around the implementation of the OALCF.

More information on the development of the OALCF, including an overview of the key elements, development process and how it can be used by learners and practitioners can be found in the OALCF Curriculum Framework Conceptual Foundation (March 2011). As well, a background paper on the Foundations of Transition-Oriented Programming (March 2011) is also available.

How does the OALCF improve adult literacy outcomes in Ontario?

The OALCF improves learner outcomes by supporting adult literacy programming that is learner-centred, goal-directed and linked to a broader system of service provision.

To achieve improved outcomes for learners, the OALCF:

  • uses a task-based approach to literacy training that helps learners use literacy skills to meet real-life challenges as students, employees and citizens;
  • focuses on learner transitions through the development of programming related to five distinct OALCF goal paths: employment, apprenticeship, secondary school credit, postsecondary and independence; and
  • has a common language for describing learner progress and readiness to transition to next steps that supports greater learner mobility and more effective referrals and service co-ordination.

How does the OALCF contribute to successful learner transitions?

OALCF tools and resources provide practitioners with practical guidance on how to develop goal-directed programming that will help LBS learners to transition to their goals.

When developing programming for learners, literacy practitioners start by asking, “What does this learner need to know and be able to do to be prepared for their next steps beyond LBS that this learner can’t do now?" and “What credentials or other proof of learning does the learner need to meet the criteria to enter the goal?"

By answering these questions, a practitioner makes decisions about content and any other supports that a learner might need.

To help guide the practitioner in answering these questions, five goal path descriptions have been developed: employment, apprenticeship, secondary school credit, postsecondary and independence.

An Introduction to Goal Path Descriptions for Practitioners and Learners (October 2011) has been provided to explain how the goal path descriptions were developed and how they can improve learner outcomes.

Goal path descriptions are available for each of the OALCF’s five goal paths:

The goal path descriptions will provide practitioners with valuable support in developing goal-directed programming by providing important information that will both inform the goal-setting process and contribute to the development of the learner plan. They help practitioners and learners make good decisions about the selection of a goal, learning activities and assessment methods and about other supports that might be necessary for learners’ successful transitions to their goal.

Both the goal path descriptions above and the curriculum framework provide support for practitioners and learners in developing programming that is goal-oriented, task-based, and learner-centred. Another key resource in developing programming is the Integrated Tasks by Goal Path (March 2011) document. An integrated task is a complex task that incorporates two or more tasks, usually from different competencies. This allows learners to develop and apply their skills and knowledge across competencies in a way that reflects real life situations.

With a better understanding of goal requirements, practitioners can also use the Learner Plan Template (March 2012) (also available as a printable PDF) to develop better informed learner plans.

comprehensive list of OALCF resources (October 2011) that includes these documents is available to help practitioners and learners develop programming that is tailored to meets the each learner’s needs.

How does the OALCF provide a basis for program development and assessment of learner progress?

Practitioners map out the details of a learner’s program in a learner plan. To make sure it includes the key elements of a goal-directed, transition-oriented program, the practitioner can use the Learner Plan Template (March 2012) (also available as a printable PDF) to assist in collecting and recording the information that will inform their programming decisions. The Learner Plan Template Instructions (March 2012) provide guidance in the use of the Template.

The Learner Plan Template includes key OALCF features that are intended to improve literacy outcomes in Ontario, including:

  • a focus on the transition of the learner beyond his or her LBS program to a chosen goal;
  • use of a common language and approach for describing learning activities and achievements; and
  • incorporation of learner supports provided through referrals and service co-ordination.

The use of the Learner Plan Template supports practitioners to integrate these features of the OALCF into their literacy programming. A Selected Assessment Tools (March 2011) guide is also available to provide practitioners with examples of formal and informal assessment tools.