20 Years of Learning

Story by Mario Toneguzzi

The Academy of Learning Career College in Airdrie is preparing for growth as it moves into a new technology program that will help students achieve their goals.

“What separates us from everybody else is something we patented and call the ILS – the Integrated Learning System. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like. We integrate all facets of learning,” says Ken Hauck, who operates the Academy with his wife Cheryl.

“So when a student comes in … they get a workbook…. We develop workbooks for every one of our courses and it breaks down step-by-step how to do stuff. What happens is our graduates retain a lot more because they’re not just taught something; they actually learn it.”

The privately-owned, post-secondary college is one of the oldest and largest private career colleges in Canada. In Airdrie, the Academy has been operated by the Haucks since 1998.

“We’re the best-kept secret almost in Airdrie for 20 years,” says Ken.

When the Haucks moved off the farm in 1992, Ken was working in landscaping and doing different things. Cheryl wanted to take some courses and ran into the Academy and liked its slogan: simply a better way to learn.

Today, the Academy has about 75 students per year with certificate and diploma programs in a variety of courses from business administration, to medical office assistant, to community service worker and office management.

“We’re right on the cusp. We just launched our new program. Our new platform D2L…. We’ve put our ILS system on it. Probably if you talk to me in one or two years’ time our types of program we’re going to run are probably going to double. With this new program the world is at our fingertips,” says Ken of the communication tool that is used by many elementary schools to post information about courses.

“It’s opening us up for a lot more younger people now.”

Ken explains that previously, the Academy tended to attract 25- to 50-year-old women who wanted to return to school after having kids. “To have maybe that career they put on hold.”

“Now, with this new format, if you talk to me in two years’ time, it will probably be totally different. It’s going to explode, what we’re going to be able to offer.”

Ken adds the ILS system separates the Academy from every other private or public college. At its base, students have a workbook that explains everything to them step by step. There are also tests and audio and visual files on the computer. The other component is facilitators who will act as guides.