About the team


Robert Aucoin

Dr. Robert Aucoin, President and Founder of Avant Learning, is originally from Halifax, Canada but has called many places home over the years. Robert developed an interest in education at a very early age when he began helping students in need in junior high school. This developed into his lifelong interest in working with learners experiencing difficult circumstances including working as a Laborer-Teacher with Frontier College and developing literacy programs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and as a senior tutor at Dalhousie University’s Math Learning Centre. From those early days, Robert moved on to teach math and physics in rural Zimbabwe on a World University Service of Canada-sponsored technical exchange program.

Because of Robert’s international experiences, he has developed related passions for intercultural communications and online learning. As well, he has integrated intercultural training with innovative ways of teaching and learning. His career has brought his consulting work globally in universities, corporations, governments and public schools. Dr. Robert has received numerous teaching and research awards including being nominated for the Royal Roads University Faculty Teaching Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (winning in 2017). Robert also won the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) Award for his doctoral research in 2011 and was the winner of the 2002 Aventis Award for Research and Innovation in Health Education. In 2013, Robert completed his EdD at the University of British Columbia where he focussed on leadership, social media and online learning. More recently, Robert has become a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.

Outside of work, Robert spends a lot of time with his kids at their various activities and has a keen interest in sports. Robert volunteers with KEYS, a community organization supporting refugees and newcomers in Canada. He is an avid kayaker and hiker, & volunteers with refugee families and with the Kingston Aeros Trampoline Club.

See Robert’s LinkedIn Profile here or email him at robert @ avantlearning.com

Ining Tracy Chao

Ining Tracy Chao is Avant Learning’s senior consultant and has over 25 years of experience in learning design and has developed numerous cross-border programs and led internationalization initiatives in colleges and universities. Born and raised in Taiwan, Ining moved to Canada to pursue her master’s degree in educational technology.

As her career expanded into international education, Ining became a leader in intercultural competence training, infusing her own passion in languages and cultures with the training she provides to educators, employees and leaders in various organizations. She uses intercultural development as the foundation for diversity and inclusion and aims to bring about deep and meaningful change through storytelling and dialogues where multiple identities and perspectives are respected and valued. Ining is a qualified administrator for IDI assessment and received the Certificate of Intercultural Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is currently the Associate Dean of Global Learning and Partnerships at St. Lawrence College in Canada and serves as a member on the College’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Task Force.

Ining is the Vice President of the Board of Directors at Global Women in Education, & the Chair of the Board of the Directors at the Kingston School of Dance. She also volunteers with KEYS, a community organization supporting refugees and newcomers in Canada. Her blog Chinese Children’s Stories promotes bilingual storytelling and multi-cultural living. See Ining’s LinkedIn profile here.

Kelvin Mkwalte

Kelvin Mkwalte is a consultant with Avant Learning specializing in culture and dispute resolution. Kelvin has over 20 years of multi-jurisdictional experience acquired from working in various organizations in the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors, in both Canada, and Malawi. Kelvin’s diverse knowledge and abilities include community outreach & engagement, advocacy, stakeholder & government relations, strategic planning, board leadership & development.

Kelvin is a graduate of Royal Roads University’s Justice Studies Program, & he's also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario.