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UFCW Canada

Learning in the Moment: Empowering Union Members on the Go

  • 6 Min Read

To support the diverse needs of union members and impact the collective strength of the workforce, UFCW Canada has provided continuous learning opportunities for its members for almost three decades through webCampus. Recognizing workers’ demanding schedules, webCampus introduced On-the-Go modules designed to provide flexible, engaging and targeted training. These 15-minute skill-focused sessions are designed to fit into busy schedules without the pressure of tests, directly aligning with workplace challenges. By making learning accessible and engaging, webCampus redefines professional development, catering to the dynamic demands of today’s workforce and empowering union members with essential skills for career advancement and holistic well-being.


UFCW Canada



  • D2L Brightspace
  • HTML templates
  • Technical account manager
  • Customer success manager


Marv Funk, educational director, UFCW Canada


  • Boosted webCampus enrollment by 25% and OTG module enrollments by 55%
  • Streamlined the creation and deployment of OTG modules to just a few days, compared to months for traditional online courses
  • Elevated OTG module completion rates to 57%, significantly outperforming the 35%–40% completion rate of traditional courses


UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) is Canada’s largest private-sector union, representing over 250,000 workers across the nation. In an era in which continuous learning is imperative for professional growth, UFCW Canada has offered upskilling opportunities for its members and their families through webCampus for almost three decades. WebCampus emerged as a dynamic solution designed to contribute to individual growth, organizational success and adaptability in a dynamic and competitive professional landscape.

Tailoring Value to Work Life  

While full-length courses will continue to be developed and leveraged with effective tools from D2L, they did not fulfill webCampus’ desire to cater to the modern workforce’s demands for flexibility, relevance and accessibility.

“Front-line workers juggling demanding schedules and a varied schedule of shifts are reluctant to invest in learning that doesn’t align with their career goals or offer clear, practical benefits within their current job scope,” explained Marv Funk, educational director. “Despite the undeniable efficiencies and standardized effectiveness of structured online learning, the learner ultimately determines what, when and how they will learn.”


Empowering the Workforce With On-the-Go Modules

A new path was sought by designing succinct 15-minute OTG modules of worker-relevant training, perfectly suited for integrating into daily routines, like lunch breaks, without demanding large time commitments.

Our On-the-Go modules continue to offer our union members the flexibility to learn a wide range of topics in a way that is quick, engaging and easy to navigate. The convenience of these courses is particularly appealing to members who ‘just’ want to explore new topics or acquire new in-demand skills, without having to compete with other commitments such as work and family.

Ximena Mastrodonato, engagement and education coordinator, UFCW Local 247, British Columbia

Designed with the principles of andragogy, these courses cater to webCampus participants who are predominantly adult learners, ranging in age from 12 to 75 years.

Key features include:

  1. Seamless self-enrollment: empowering learners to manage their own learning with support from instructional staff for any needed guidance
  2. Unrestricted access: providing learners with indefinite access to course materials, eliminating the pressure of time constraints
  3. Targeted content: enhancing workers’ skills and knowledge that’s applicable both professionally and personally, with content curated to meet professional challenges and industry demands
  4. Efficient learning: focusing on small objectives for quick comprehension and application

Each OTG module incorporates:

  • Text paced at 153 words per minute, aligning with an approximate grade eight reading level for accessibility
  • Videos within the 15-minute total duration to enrich learning
  • Interactive elements designed for enhanced engagement
  • Attention-grabbing titles for maximum visibility
  • An absence of tests, discussions or assignments to minimize anxiety and maximize learning potential
  • A conversational tone rather than academic, with relevant topics that resonate with workers
  • Graphics that reflect progressive social consciousness

“Including D2L’s updated and upgraded tools allowed us to create and support our new path for online learning. Using interactive templates and consulting with our customer success manager and technical account manager continue to be integral to our efforts to align continuous skill development with the lifestyle and needs of today’s workforce,” remarked Funk.


Surge in Enrollment Growth

webCampus stands at the forefront of online learning platforms with more than 10,000 enrollments across Canada. Over a period of 10 months, webCampus experienced a 25% increase in enrollment, while OTG modules witnessed a 55% surge.

With more than 42 OTG offerings and over 3,100 enrollments, these modules cover a wide range of subjects from well-being and problem-solving to financial literacy and cultural awareness. Top enrollments in courses such as Effective Responses to Unreasonable Managers and Responding to Discrimination indicate a strong alignment with UFCW Canada’s mission to empower workers.

Beyond increases in enrollment, UFCW has also been able to realize improvements in efficiency. “OTG modules can be developed and uploaded in just a few days, unlike traditional courses which may take weeks or months. By leveraging D2L tools, we can quickly turn relevant ideas into engaging formats, keeping content up to date and responsive to our members’ evolving needs,” Funk commented.

Increased Completion Rates 

Acknowledging the financial barriers of its members, webCampus prioritizes tuition-free learning while upholding academic standards. The platform offers free access to all courses for both members and their families, encouraging engagement through voluntary participation and open registration.

OTG modules provide unique opportunities for our members and their families to ‘try on’ a wide range of topics without the pressure of weeklong commitments or pressure to perform academically. Innovative approaches like OTGs is one of the reasons we value and promote webCampus.

Craig Walsh, president, UFCW Eastern Provinces Council, Canadian Maritimes

This approach has led to a notable increase in completion rates, with OTG modules achieving a 57% completion rate compared to the 35%–40% of traditional courses. This higher engagement with OTG modules reflects a clear preference for concise, directly applicable learning sessions that accommodate the demanding schedules of workers.

“Adult learners appreciate opportunities for social development in addition to content acquisition. D2L’s functionality, which provides our learners the option of sharing their awards and badges on social media platforms, has been a great motivator,” Funk added.

By fostering a culture of continuous learning, webCampus is successfully meeting the demands of modern learners, strengthening the union’s overall resilience and capability in the contemporary labor landscape.

Students sitting on steps gathered around a laptop
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