The Men Behind ALFI: Paul Zakos


ALFI in the words of Paul Zakos

In 1999 I participated as a subject matter expert in a benchmarking study conducted by the Chicago-based Council for Adult and Experiential learning (CAEL). The aim of the project was to identify the best practices of institutions of higher education in serving adult learners. The study resulted in the creation of a book, “Best Practices in Adult Learning” of which I was the author of several sections. Subsequently I was asked by CAEL to take a lead role in developing a manual/workbook designed to help colleges and universities, using eight key principles of effectiveness, to assess their services to adults. I designed the self-assessment process, the institutional self-assessment scale and wrote two chapters in the workbook, which was published in 2003. The title of the book is “Best Practices in Adult Learning – A Self-Evaluation Guide for Colleges and Universities”.

In 1999-2000 I participated in the design and delivery of PLA and Adult Learning training as part of a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) initiative in Chile. From 2000-2004 I worked on a variety of PLAR and Adult Learning related projects in South Africa. In October of 2000 I presented a paper at the Recognition of Prior Learning Conference sponsored by the Joint Education Trust (JET) in Johannesburg. In the fall of 2001 I participated in the design and delivery of a two day training session on PLAR and Adult Learning for 30 faculty and staff in the South African Technikons (technical universities) system. I also worked on a project with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services (MERSETA) Sector in South Africa. This project involved the development of PLAR/adult learning policy, instructional materials and advisor training to employees in the MERSETA. Particular emphasis in the development of these resources was on the creation of culturally appropriate materials given that there are 11 different linguistic and cultural groups in South Africa.

Presently I am leading a project funded by the federal government. This  is a Canadian International Development Agency  initiative under the Indigenous Peoples Partnership Program (IPPP). This is Phase II of PLAR advisor training with the Mapuche Nation in Chile and the Kichwa Nation in Ecuador. It is based on a framework and philosophy similar to the work in South Africa.

FNTI is also partnering with Nunavut Arctic College on a 3 year PLAR project which involves the development of culturally respectful resource materials and  a portfolio development credit course.