This year, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced a new requirement for graduating from high school: four completed e-learning courses—three more than the other provinces using e-learning courses. Fears that this threatens the traditional role of classroom teachers may be overblown. Although e-learning suggests a teacherless process, research is showing that it works best with students guided by teachers who have the time and necessary skills. This month, we present a grab-bag of issues and information related to e-learning across Canada.

  • Ontario’s new e-learning policyThe Ontario government’s new requirement for graduation includes completing four online courses, three more than in any other educational jurisdiction. According to their webpage, “E-learning is one of the projects of the Ministry of Education to help students succeed in school. It gives students more choices to customize their education based on their strengths, needs and interests.” Useful for Ontario educators, this site may also inform non-Ontario-based teachers who work in a jurisdiction that is moving towards an e-learning requirement.
  • Ontario e-learning plan unique in North AmericaIn this piece, PFE outlines e-learning success criteria, noting that online learning is itself a skill that students will need to develop, citing research showing that students’ online achievement improves through high school. They cite the importance of student access to teachers and argue that even in the virtual environment, class size matters. In sum, they caution, “In order to be implemented fully and successfully, policy changes must be accompanied by appropriate communication with stakeholders, capacity building and resources for practitioners and students, and support for troubleshooting.”
  • The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn)British Columbia-based can connect you to promising practices in K-12 online and blended learning practices and educators, among a range of online services. They feature lists of upcoming e-learning conferences and symposiums, and present current research from e-learning organizations. Although it is not-for-profit, accessing members-only content requires a membership.
  • 5 Reasons Why Online Learning is More EffectiveMeet Dexway, a language-learning company. It has been in the business of e-learning for 35 years, from the days when e-learning was called “computer aided learning.” They’re bullish on it, listing reasons such as price (cheaper); students working at their own pace; 25-60% higher retention rates; less time required; more frequent assessments; it’s the “greener option,” and, finally, that students “learn five times more material in online learning courses using multimedia content than in traditional face-to-face courses.”
  • E-learning yesterday, today and tomorrowIn an article that predates the Ontario announcement, the website Our Kids summarizes the development of e-learning from the early days of using CD-ROMs to today’s context, which they describe as a “…latter-day focus on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL).” CSCL involves a shared development, involving social media, blogging and role playing games, among others. They cite the use of SMART boards for integrated access to the Internet, and note the kinds of problems and issues teachers have faced through the years, not least of which is the need for teachers “to manage the student experience and technology’s integration with learning, no small task and a process not easily summarized.”

Online learning sites from across Canada

Find out what’s happening in your province or territory relative to e-learning.

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