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LRDG’s 20-year marriage to the Government of Canada

LRDG’s 20-year marriage to the Government of Canada

This summer, LRDG is celebrating our 20th anniversary, which is a symbolic milestone for us.
For the last two decades, we have aimed to change the way government employees gain second language skills and maintain them over time.

Our Approach to Learning

When LRDG began in 2002, we believed that traditional classroom training, large groups with limited personalization and engagement, was not conducive to a positive learning environment. We created this simple but powerful concept of allowing people to learn at their own pace and on their own time while being guided by our learning materials. We initially offered our learning materials as CDs, but as technology progressed, we shifted to DVDs, and eventually, to an online Learning Management System (LMS). Now, we are 2 months away from launching a completely redone LMS and set of modules. This will allow us to comply with the new web content accessibility guidelines, and improve user experience and the entire learning infrastructure around them. . This is truly a symbolic breakthrough, and will be used across the entire federal public sector.

Over the past 20 years, LRDG has evolved to meet the needs of a changing world, and throughout this time, the Government of Canada has evolved along with it.

The Evolution of Canada’s School of Public Service Second Language Curriculum

At first, only the Canada School of Public Service’s (CSPS) curriculum, the PFL2 and CEWP, was used, and learning only took place in a physical classroom. At the lowest cost per teaching hour, and within a certain radius of downtown Ottawa. This was mainly done through Standing Offers, a predetermined list of vendors based on their location and price, and most departments had their own, in every major city.

LRDG was never available on these standing offers until recently. Our online curriculum was different from CSPS’s, as we used a blended methodology of tutoring and self-study, and did not use a physical classroom. This removed us from most of the public bids, requests for proposals, and standing offers. Many departments did not reach out to us because they believed they couldn’t use our services anyway.

However, some of the standing offers didn’t meet the needs of some departments, and they took a chance on us. We’ll forever be grateful! If the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), hadn’t implemented our solutions, we wouldn’t be here today with 45 employees and 300 tutors across Canada.

The Pandemic’s Impact on e-Learning

Over the last two decades we have seen many changes, but no more than over the last 2 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a digital transformation. This has taken online service delivery and remote infrastructure from “new” and “different,” to standard practice. During the pandemic, many language schools scrambled to adapt, and those who could not, closed down. Even the Public Service Commission that previously administered 100% of the government’s second language testing, published that they were unable to support the government during this time. The Government removed the requirement for people to use the CSPS curriculum, and departments were free to conduct their own testing through private companies.

Online learning materials and virtual conference software became standard criteria for public bids and contracts. This resulted in an influx in demand for both our existing contracts and new ones. We experienced a 50% year-over-year growth while managing all employees and projects remotely. This was a huge shift for us, and we are still learning and evolving 2 years later. To meet the new demands from the pandemic, we hired external agencies and consultants to help, reengineered processes, and implemented new tools to help us work more efficiently. Our LMS relaunch in September will help our system accommodate an increased capacity to meet our growing needs.

At LRDG, we are proud to offer a flexible approach to learning that can grow within our changing world and meet your individual needs to ensure your success. Our program boasts a 90% success rate for second language evaluations (SLE’s) and offers support every step of the way.

For two decades, we aimed to meet your needs by constantly evolving and adapting our program, while also maintaining compliance with the Public Service Commission’s A, B, and C levels. We are excited to see what the next 20 years bring.