Co-creating the Future of e-Learning in Canada

Facilitating a co-design workshop for Employment and Social Development Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.


The unemployment rate in Canada typically falls between 5–6%. This is relatively low, but jobseekers still require assistance from the federal and provincial governments to upskill and connect with potential employers.

Outwitly partnered with Employment and Social Development Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) to facilitate a co-design workshop experience where participants generated concepts for a holistic eLearning solution. This solution would offer consistent essential skills assessment and learning resources to help jobseekers, workers, and employers across the country.

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The workshop put on by Outwitly was incredible and very worthwhile. We look forward to more discussions and opportunities to work together in future!

Manager, George Brown College

The Challenge

Previously, no eLearning platform existed at the federal level for adult Canadians looking to develop essential skills as part of labour market programs and services. All previous solutions were managed individually at the provincial level, and none offered a holistic online solution for both learning and assessment.

The Goal

Understand the needs and goals of adult learners, identify roadblocks and challenges, and generate design concepts and recommendations for a “one-stop shop” eLearning Solution.

The Process

We used design thinking––incorporating both traditional environmental scanning (i.e. SWOT and stakeholder analysis) and innovative approaches to complex problem solving––to facilitate a dynamic two-day Design Jam workshop that brought together 25 adult education leaders in government and industry from across Canada.

On Day 1, we divided the group into teams, and we asked that participants step outside their comfort zone to embrace ambiguity and trust the process in order to fully understand the problem and welcome new and “crazy” ideas.

We created interactive exercises to uncover participants’ hopes and fears, identify user groups, understand and depict user learning journeys, and build a set of learner proto-personas. These exercises enabled participants to gain empathy for and better understand Canadian adult learners. Together we developed a set of guiding North Star Principles and Keystone Goals for the future of eLearning.



Building on the previous day’s outcomes, teams were tasked on Day Two with co-creating an ideal future state and design concepts for eLearning. Outwitly’s facilitators guided participants through a series of activities enabling them to let go of their apprehensions, embrace creativity, and build solutions through brainstorming and participatory design tools. These exercises allowed the group to collaboratively envision and draft an ideal future state, design new concepts, and identify next steps and areas for future exploration.

The Research



from industry, academia, and the public sector



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eLearning Concepts

were developed through co-design

Following the workshop, Outwitly delivered an Insights Report in both official languages that included an ecosystem map, North Star Principles, eLearning concepts, and actionable next steps for UX design and crucial end-user research.

The Impact

Insights and recommendations from the Design Jam Workshop Report enabled OLES to seek support from the Privy Council Office’s Impact Canada Initiative, providing substantial support in the design, delivery, and development of an eLearning Solution.

Feeling inspired? Our team would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today!