Project

State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada

Goal: The purpose of this comprehensive study is to examine the current state of all forms of K-12 e-learning (i.e., distance, online and blended learning) in Canada. The State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study updates the provincial, territorial, and federal governance and activity of K-12 e-learning in each jurisdiction, along with providing vignettes to illustrate a variety of those individuals and programs providing these e-learning opportunities.

For more information, visit http://k12sotn.ca/

Date: 30 December 2006

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Project log

Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
La 13e édition du rapport sur la situation nationale du e-learning en M–12 au Canada décrit les changements survenus en matière de gouvernance et d’activités d’apprentissage en ligne au cours de la dernière année. Les profils juridictionnels décrivent l’activité et la nature de la gouvernance de chaque province et territoire, ainsi que pour les programmes autochtones de compétence fédérale. Cette édition ne décrit que les changements survenus en ce qui a trait à la gouvernance et en apprentissage en ligne incluant des profils juridictionnels complets qui sont aussi disponibles sur le site Web du projet. Il fournit également un contexte pour la transition d’urgence à l’enseignement à distance qui a débuté en mars 2020 au tout début de la pandémie, telle que décrite par le « Projet de recherche sur l’apprentissage à distance » de CANeLearn, qui a été conçu pour décrire comment chaque juridiction gérait cette transition à l’enseignement à distance. Les inscriptions à l’enseignement à distance ou en ligne sont demeurées relativement stables à travers le pays, on dénote cependant une légère et constante augmentation du nombre d’élèves accédant aux programmes. Bien qu’il n’y ait eu aucun changement majeur au niveau de la règlementation régissant les activités d’apprentissage à distance et en ligne de la maternelle à la 12e année par les provinces et les territoires, la consultation entre Services aux Autochtones Canada (SAC) du gouvernement fédéral et l’Assemblée des Premières Nations a donné lieu à des changements importants. Le programme « Nouveaux sentiers pour l’éducation » a été abandonné et des révisions sont en cours pour les programmes d’enseignement du primaire et du secondaire afin de rendre l’apprentissage en ligne plus complet et pour mettre en évidence et élargir les partenariats faits directement avec diverses Premières Nations. De plus, une certaine clarté a été apportée à plusieurs propositions de modifications de l’apprentissage en ligne qui avaient été annoncées au cours de l’année scolaire 2018-2019. Par exemple, le ministre de l’Éducation de l’Ontario a annoncé que les élèves du secondaire seraient tenus de compléter deux crédits en ligne, et non les quatre précédemment annoncés, pour l’obtention du diplôme d’études secondaires à partir de 2023-2024, et que les cours pourraient être pris en compte pour cette exigence à partir de septembre 2020. De plus, la Loi sur l’Office de la télécommunication éducative de l’Ontario et la Loi de 2008 sur l’Office de la télécommunication éducative de langue française de l’Ontario ont été modifiées après l’année scolaire 2019-2020 afin d’élargir les mandats de Television Ontario (TVO) et de Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO) pour les positionner de manière à être en mesure d’offrir des possibilités d’apprentissage en ligne centralisées. La Colombie-Britannique a modifié le régime de financement de l’apprentissage distribué dans les écoles indépendantes et poursuit son élaboration de politiques et de modèles de prestation des programmes d’apprentissage distribué afin de refléter le financement par élève. Plusieurs provinces ont établi ou clarifié les définitions de l’apprentissage mixte pour assurer la cohérence et l’harmonisation avec la langue vernaculaire actuelle de l’apprentissage en ligne. Le rapport sur la situation du e-learning en M–12 au Canada et les publications qui l’accompagnent sur le site Web de son projet, fournissent des renseignements essentiels et un aperçu de la façon dont les autorités éducatives et les gouvernements intègrent des approches appuyées par la technologie pour préparer les élèves à l’économie d’aujourd’hui et une société future dans laquelle l’utilisation de la technologie sera omniprésente. Le rapport et le site Web du projet fournissent une référence pour les éducateurs et offrent des informations, des conseils et des idées pour l’amélioration des politiques et des pratiques en matière d’apprentissage en ligne et d’apprentissage mixte. Barbour, M. K., LaBonte, R., Nagle, J., & Mongrain, J. (2020). L’état de l’apprentissage électronique de la maternelle à la 12e année au Canada. Canadian eLearning Network. https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/StateNation20_fr.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
The 13th issue of the annual State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada study describes the changes that have occurred in relation to e-learning governance and activity over the past year. Jurisdictional profiles describe activity and nature of governance for each province and territory, as well as for Indigenous programs under federal jurisdiction. This issue describes only changes that have occurred in relation to the governance and e-learning activity with full jurisdictional profiles available on the project research website. It also provides context for the emergency remote teaching that began in March 2020 during the pandemic drawn from the Canadian eLearning Network’s “Remote Learning Research Project,” which was designed to delineate how each jurisdiction managed their emergency remote teaching. Distance or online learning enrolment remains relatively stable across the country, with a slight continuous increase in the number of students enrolled in programs. While there have been no major changes in the nature of regulation governing K-12 distance and online learning activity in the provinces and territories, consultation between the federal government’s Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Assembly of First Nations provided significant changes. The New Paths for Education Program was discontinued and revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Program were undertaken to make e-learning more comprehensive in nature and to focus on partnerships directly with various First Nations. Additionally, some clarity was made for several proposed changes to e-learning that had been announced during the 2018-19 school year. For example, the Ontario Minister of Education announced that students would be required to take two, not the previously announced four, online credits to graduate from secondary school beginning with students graduating in 2023-24, and that courses could count toward this requirement beginning in September 2020. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority Act and the Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority Act, 2008 were also amended following the 2019-20 school year to broaden the mandates of both Television Ontario (TVO) and Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO) to position them to provide centralized e-learning opportunities. Another example of regulatory clarity that came about during the 2019-20 school year was in British Columbia, where the government modified the funding regime for distributed learning in independent schools and the development of policy and program delivery models for distributed learning to reflect per-student-based funding continues. Other examples included several provinces that established or clarified definitions of blended learning to provide consistency and alignment with the current e-learning vernacular. The State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report, and its accompanying publications on its project website, provides critical information and insight into how Canadian educational authorities and governments are integrating technology-supported approaches to prepare students for today’s economy and a future society in which the use of technology will be ubiquitous. The report and website provide a benchmark for educators and offers background, guidance, and ideas for the improvement of policy and practice in online and blended learning. The full report is available at: https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/StateNation20.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added 3 research items
This report is third of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, Documenting Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020), described how each jurisdiction managed their emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020. The second report, A Fall Like No Other: Between Basics and Preparing or an Extended Transition During Turmoil (Nagle, LaBonte, & Barbour, 2020), outlined how each jurisdiction attempted to manage what should have been a transition to remote teaching during Fall 2020. The goal of this third report, Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic, was to provide vignettes authored by education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their homes, schools, communities, and districts. Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements, supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report. In this report you will find the voices of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended learning community across Canada as they provide descriptions of what actually happened on the ground. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders, school trustees, and teacher-education leaders from the post-secondary offer a glimpse of the impact of what the Ministries and Departments of Education planned and announced in the Spring and Fall of 2020 for the safe return of students to schools. For students, the lack of social interaction was a noted loss, for parents their children’s physical, emotional, and mental health and their own, were worrisome at best. Many describe the education offerings lacking and some sought their own solution. Teachers, district and school leaders, even trustees, found the changing dynamic of the education landscape overwhelming. Health protocols, physical distancing, masking, the number and flow of people in the school building(s), and the social and emotional impact on staff and students was almost impossible to manage. The range of stories from school leaders offers glimpses of success in the development of new programs and the expansion of others. The stories of teachers reflect a focus on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing first, curriculum second. As new models and approaches emerge, post-secondary teacher education researchers are shining a light on what effective practices provide options today and for the future beyond pandemic. 1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/
This report is second of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this second report, as with the first report Documenting Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020) that described how each jurisdiction managed their emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020, is to report on what occurred, not to assess its quality. This report is designed to delineate what actions each jurisdiction took: the tools, content, and devices provided, curated, and/or created; and, the nature of instruction that occurred. The third report will provide vignettes authored by education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their school and community. Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements, supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report. This second report provides a description of what was announced and provided for by provincial and territorial Ministries of Education during the Fall 2020. While a national view is considered, the approach taken varied among each of the provinces and territories. Some jurisdictions required students to wear masks in school buildings, others did not. Many jurisdictions required masks to be worn when physical distancing was not possible. Some jurisdictions announced specific plans for remote learning, others relied on existing online learning programs for students who remained at home. Few jurisdictions announced or published specific plans for professional development or training for teachers new to remote learning. Most schools opened as planned with physical distancing measures, restricted movement, and encouraged outdoor activity when possible. Remote learning choices were offered, but there were issues of managing choices as parents chose to shift from remote to online or the reverse after the school year started. Teachers had to be shifted from teaching in the classroom to teaching remotely or in a hybrid format as student groupings and classroom attendance shifted during the opening months. For the most part, the supports and resources provided by each of the jurisdictions continued as in the Spring, including access to mail delivery of educational learning packages, radio and television broadcasting, centralized learning management systems, and access to a variety of digital tools. Some provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia provided technology to students. All jurisdictions – except for Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick – provided resources that did not require internet access. Further, some jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut continued to make specific considerations for Indigenous students. 1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/
Ahead of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) March 11, 2020 declaration that COVID-19 was indeed a pandemic, and as Canada began diagnosing its first cases of the coronavirus, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, urged Canadian communities to “prepare for stronger public health measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, including closures of schools” (CMAJ News, 2020). Two days later, New Brunswick was the first of the 13 provinces and territories to close their schools across the province. However, within 10 days all K-12 schools across Canada were closed. Through the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the moves each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory, through government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases regarding each jurisdictions strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies appropriate for the continuation of emergency remote teaching and learning. This report is designed to delineate how each jurisdiction managed their emergency remote teaching during the spring of 2020. The goal is to report on what occurred, and it is not intended to assess the quality of what occurred. This shift was dependent on the supports and resources provided by each jurisdiction across Canada. By April 21, 2020 all of Canada had moved forward with emergency remote teaching for their K-12 learners. In providing emergency remote teaching, the three territories took much longer to release their plans then their provincial counterparts. If the territories were excluded, the average length of time it took the 10 provinces to release their emergency remote teaching plans was 14 calendar days. The supports and resources provided by each of the jurisdictions manifested in various ways, such as access to mail delivery of educational learning packages, radio and television broadcasting, centralized learning management systems and access to a variety of digital tools. Some provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia provided technology to students. All jurisdictions – except for Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick – provided resources that did not require internet access. Further, some jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut made specific considerations for Indigenous students who may be on-the-land and offered a land-based curriculum for learners who did not have access to both the internet or to educational packages. While access to resources and supports for emergency remote learning is key for the success of any program, so too is the level of preparedness and professional learning of teachers. The vast majority of teachers across Canada had no training or professional experience with online pedagogies related to using digital tools in their teaching or even how to develop online content that was instructionally sound. Yukon, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia were the only provinces that announced some form of professional learning for teachers. These professional learning opportunities were evidenced in the form of online professional development days, access to webinars, educational toolkits, access to paid digital tools, virtual learning environment instruction, and University courses. Other jurisdictions referred teachers to other ongoing professional learning options already in existence. Full citation: Nagle, J., Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2020). Documenting triage: Detailing the response of provinces and territories to emergency remote teaching. Canadian eLearning Network.
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
K-12 online learning continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in North America. Canada, in particular, continues to expand with over 300,000 students being enrolled in distance and online programs in 2019. Despite this rapid growth, there does not appear to be much recognition of this form of learning by institutions in Canada that provide teacher training programs. Understandably, programming changes take time to adjust to workplace needs. This report highlights the status of teacher education programs with regard to provision of distance and online field experiences by Canadian teacher education programs. In-service teacher professional development is one area where distance and online training for educators is being actioned by Canadian institutions. From Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia there are examples of program offerings that support distance and online learning professional development for in-service educators. Graduate certificate, diploma, and degree programs across several universities in Canada are available, with Athabasca University even offering a series of open access MOOCs targeted at supporting distance and online education professional development. The information presented in this report originated from a mixed method study originally conducted in the US, which was replicated within Canada. Based upon the Canadian replication, a minority of the respondents’ programs currently had online or blended field experiences for their pre-service or in-service teachers. Furthermore, at the time there was little likelihood of more programming addressing the distance and online field experience needs of educators due to institutional lack of resources, a limited knowledge base, perceived lack of usefulness for their teachers’ future careers, and regulatory discouraging of online field experiences. This report highlights the dramatic need for programming in this area of distance and online education. Available online at: https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/k12ol-teacher-ed.pdf Full citation: Archibald, D., Barbour, M. K., Leary, H., Wilson, E. V., & Ostashewski, N. (2020). Teacher education and K-12 online learning. Half Moon Bay, BC: Canadian E-Learning Network.
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
La douzième édition du Rapport sur la situation du e-Learning en M-12 au Canada correspond également à la septième année d’appui à cette recherche par le Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn). Ce rapport ainsi que les documents de référence sur des questions et défis ainsi que les vignettes qui l’accompagnent gagnent en importance compte tenu de l’intérêt et de l’attention croissants que l’e-learning gagne dans le cadre de l’enseignement de la maternelle à la 12e année. De nouveaux changements de politique dans plusieurs provinces ont déclenché un débat public sur l’efficacité et l’application de l’apprentissage en ligne. Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, la recherche spécifique à l’apprentissage en ligne dans l’enseignement de la maternelle à la 12e année au Canada est nécessaire pour appuyer les changements de politique et les conversations qu’ils génèrent. Ce rapport fournit une base solide pour l’expansion de la recherche qui met en évidence la diversité des besoins et des solutions que les technologies numériques et l’apprentissage en ligne abordent dans nos pratiques éducatives. Cette édition, contrairement à ceux du passé, ne décrit que les changements survenus en ce qui a trait à la gouvernance et l’apprentissage en ligne. Les profils juridictionnels complets sont disponibles sur le site Web (https://k12sotn.ca/francais/donnees/). De plus, les documents de référence sur des questions ou défis et les vignettes reçus sont simplement mentionnés dans ce rapport, mais sont présentés dans leur intégralité sur le site Web. Bien qu’il n’y ait eu aucun changement majeur dans la nature de la règlementation régissant les activités d’apprentissage à distance et en ligne de la maternelle à la 12e année et que les inscriptions à distance ou en ligne restent relativement stables, plusieurs initiatives lancées ou conclues au cours de l’année scolaire 2018-2019 sont susceptibles d’avoir un impact sur les activités dans deux provinces ainsi que dans les programmes des Premières nations à l’échelle nationale. L’Ontario a annoncé qu’à partir de l’année scolaire 2020-2021, l’apprentissage en ligne serait centralisé et deux crédits de cours en ligne seraient requis sur les 30 crédits pour obtenir un diplôme d’études secondaires de l’Ontario. En ColombieBritannique, un examen du financement de la maternelle à la 12e année entrainera un changement de politique ainsi que le financement des programmes d’apprentissage distribué (e-learning) de la province. Le rapport sur la situation du e-learning en M-12 au Canada et les publications qui l’accompagnent sur le site Web de son projet, fournissent des renseignements essentiels et un aperçu de la façon dont les autorités éducatives et les gouvernements intègrent des approches appuyées par la technologie pour préparer les élèves à l’économie d’aujourd’hui et une société future dans laquelle l’utilisation de la technologie sera omniprésente. Le rapport et le site Web fournissent une référence aux éducateurs et offrent des informations générales, des conseils et des idées pour l’amélioration des politiques et des pratiques dans l’apprentissage en ligne et l’apprentissage mixte ou hybride. La version en ligne du rapport sur la situation du e-learning en M-12 au Canada, continuera d’être la ressource complète pour l’apprentissage en ligne dans chaque province et territoire. Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2019). L’état de l’apprentissage électronique de la maternelle à la 12e année au Canada. Half Moon Bay, BC: Canadian E-Learning Network. Retrieved from https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/StateNation19_fr.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
The 12th issue of the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report is also the seventh year of the Canadian eLearning Network’s (CANeLearn) support of this research. This report and its accompanying research briefs and vignettes grow in importance given the increasing interest and attention e-learning is taking in K-12 education. New policy changes in several provinces have sparked public debate about the effectiveness and application of e-learning. Now, more than ever, research specific to e-learning in K-12 education in Canada is necessary to inform policy changes and the conversations generated. This report provides a foundation for expanding research that reflects the diversity of needs and solutions that digital technologies and e-learning are addressing in our educational practices. This issue, unlike those in the past, describes only changes that have occurred in relation to the governance and e-learning activity with full jurisdictional profiles available on the project research website at https://k12sotn.ca/data/. Additionally, any brief issue papers and vignettes received are simply introduced or referred to in this report, but are presented in full on the website. While there have been no major changes in the nature of regulation governing K-12 distance and online learning activity and distance or online learning enrolment remains relatively stable, there were several initiatives launched or concluding in the 2018-19 school year likely to impact activity in two provinces as well as in First Nations programs nationally. Ontario announced that starting in the 2020-21 school year e-learning would be centralized and two e-learning course credits would be required of the 30 credits to achieve an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. In British Columbia a review of funding for K-12 in the province will result in a change in policy as well as funding for the province’s distributed learning (e-learning) programs. The State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report, and its accompanying publications on its project website, provides critical information and insight into how Canadian educational authorities and governments are integrating technology-supported approaches to prepare students for today’s economy and a future society in which the use of technology will be ubiquitous. The report and website provide a benchmark for educators and offers background, guidance, and ideas for the improvement of policy and practice in online and blended learning. The online version of the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada will continue to be the comprehensive resource for e-learning in each jurisdiction, and additional research is noted on the site. Available online at https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/StateNation19.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2019). Sense of irony or perfect timing: Examining the research supporting proposed e-learning changes in Ontario. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 34(2). Retrieved from http://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/1137 Abstract: Only weeks before the 2019 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) was held in Toronto, Ontario, the provincial government announced a major reform of education for that province entitled Education that Works for You-Modernizing Classrooms. From an e-learning perspective the proposal called for a centralization of e-learning, a graduation requirement of four e-learning courses, and increasing the class size limit for e-learning courses to 35 students. The AERA call for submissions for the 2020 meeting issued a challenge for scholars to 'connect with organizational leaders to examine collaboratively continuing educational problems... [and] programmatically engaging with educational organizations.' This article accepts that challenge and describes a collaboration between scholars and a pan-Canadian organization to examine the research behind each of these proposed e-learning changes. Based on that collaboration, the authors explore the existing system of e-learning in Ontario and highlight the concerning lack of details in many aspects of the proposal, as well as a lack of research to support the proposed actions. Keywords: K-12 online learning, K-12 e-learning, K-12 blended learning, Ontario Résumé : Quelques semaines seulement avant la tenue de l'assemblée annuelle 2019 de l'American Education Research Association (AERA) à Toronto, en Ontario, le gouvernement provincial a annoncé une importante réforme de l'éducation pour cette province intitulée « L'éducation qui marche pour vous-Moderniser les classes ». Du point de vue de l'apprentissage en ligne, la proposition préconisait la centralisation de l'apprentissage en ligne, l'obligation d'obtenir un diplôme pour quatre cours d'apprentissage en ligne et l'augmentation de la taille maximale des classes pour les cours d'apprentissage en ligne à 35 étudiants. L'appel à soumissions de l'AERA pour la rencontre de 2020 a lancé aux chercheurs le défi de " se connecter avec les leaders organisationnels pour examiner de manière collaborative les problèmes éducatifs continus.... et] s'engager de manière programmatique avec les organisations éducatives. Le présent article relève ce défi et décrit une collaboration entre des chercheurs et un organisme pancanadien pour examiner la recherche qui sous-tend chacun des changements proposés concernant l'apprentissage en ligne. En se fondant sur cette collaboration, les auteurs explorent le système actuel d'apprentissage en ligne en Ontario et soulignent le manque de détails concernant de nombreux aspects de la proposition, ainsi que le manque de recherche sous-tendant les mesures proposées. Mots-clés : surveillance en ligne, apprentissage, test d'anxiété, inquiétude, émotivité Available online at http://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/1137
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
In March 2019, the Government of Ontario unveiled its vision for education through a policy entitled Education that Works for You – Modernizing Classrooms. From an e-learning perspective, the proposed policy called for a centralization of e-learning courses and a graduation requirement that students take a minimum of four e-learning courses beginning with the 2020-21 school year. Either as a part of, in conjunction with, or simply at the same time, the Government also engaged in a public consultation around class sizes that would increase the class size limit for face-to-face courses to 28 students and increase the limit for e-learning courses to 35 students. The goal of this report is to examine the literature related to e-learning class size in Canada and internationally. However, before any examination of the literature related to class size, it is important to understand the different roles that educators play – and the different types of educators involved – in the e-learning environment. While in the traditional classroom environment a single teacher may select or design the materials used, deliver the actual instruction in a variety of ways, and support the student as they engage the lesson; in the e-learning environment the research clearly indicates that these roles are performed by multiple educators in different settings. Based on the model of e-learning utilized in Ontario, the two most defined roles are those of the e-learning teacher and the local school based facilitator or mentor. The e-learning teacher being responsible for determining the best pedagogical strategies, methods of assessment, and way to meaningful communicate with their students; while the local facilitator or mentor is responsible for supervisory and administrative duties, technical troubleshooting, and – in some cases – content-based assistance. The available literature related to e-learning class size demonstrates there has been a historical expectation in Ontario that the class size limit for e-learning courses was the same as the class size limit for face-to-face courses. The literature further demonstrates that across several provinces the class size limit for e-learning courses has ranged from a low of 22 students to a high of 30 students per course. In both Canadian and American jurisdictions where there has been a significant increase in the e-learning class size, student outcomes have also decreased significantly – particularly in full-time e-learning environments. Finally, the literature demonstrates the local facilitator/mentor role must be included in any conversation around class size because that teacher has a significant impact on class size and, more importantly, student success. The present e-learning model in Ontario clearly describes the importance of the supporting roles of teachers in school settings where students are taking e-learning courses. If teachers at the school level provide substantial levels of support in a wide range of areas, an e-learning class size could be higher than a traditional brick-and-mortar class in that context because there would be two educators that have instructional responsibility for those students. The larger question looming for the implementation of a drastic increase in e-learning in secondary schools in Ontario is how the present supports, which the research indicates are essential for e-learning success, will be scaled for the unprecedented increase of e-learning courses in the province.
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
This issue of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report marks its 11th year, and the sixth year of the Canadian eLearning Network’s (CANeLearn) support of this research. This report follows the relatively extensive tenth anniversary edition and the annual report has undergone significant changes. This 11th issue describes changes that have occurred in relation to the governance and e-learning activity over the past year in the provinces and territories. The full jurisdictional profiles can be found on the report website at https://k12sotn.ca/data/. Additionally, any brief issue papers and vignettes received are simply introduced or referred to in this report, but are presented in full on the website. The online version of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada will continue to be a more comprehensive resource for e-learning in each jurisdiction. While there have been no major changes in the nature of regulation governing K-12 distance and online learning activity in distance or online learning remains relatively stable. The 263,686 students or 5.1% proportion of students engaged in K-12 distance and online learning across the country was a slight decrease in the overall participation level from the previous two school years yet represents only approximately a half a percent proportion difference and, from a proportional standpoint, the number of K-12 students engaged in distance and online learning has remained relatively steady over the past six years. Yet at the same time estimates of blended learning activity have shown a sharp increase. However, estimates of blended learning continue to be a best effort attempt at trying to quantify this type of e-learning activity. The State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report, and its accompanying publications on its project website, provides critical information and insight into how Canadian educational authorities and governments are integrating technology-supported approaches to prepare students for today’s economy and a future society in which the use of technology will be ubiquitous. This report and website provide a benchmark for educators and offers background, guidance, and ideas for the improvement of policy and practice in online and blended learning. The Canadian eLearning Network is a proud supporter and partner of this research, its publication, and the dissemination of its findings and supporting research publications. Actual citation: Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2018). State of the nation: K-12 e-learning in Canada. Victoria, BC: Open School BC. Also available at https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/StateNation18.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
Funding and Resourcing of Distributed Learning Executive Summary In Fall 2017, the Government of British Columbia (2017) began a review of the model that it uses to fund K-12 education. In the press release announcing the members of the review panel, the Government (2018a) described the goal of the review was “to find a better way to provide equitable and predictable funding to boards of education” (¶ 5). As a part of this review, the government panel released a discussion paper that stated, among other things, that there was “an artificial division in the current model between ‘bricks-and-mortar’ and distributed learning, which should not exist” (Government of British Columbia, 2018d, p. 3). The purpose of this brief is to examine the nature of distributed learning funding in British Columbia and how that compares to other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States. This brief begins with an overview of the existing funding model in British Columbia with respect to distributed learning. This is followed by a description of how distributed learning is funded and resourced in other Canadian jurisdictions. The brief concludes with an exploration of the research literature related to funding distributed learning, most of which focuses on contexts in the United States. This brief outlines how distributed learning funding models across Canada generally fall into one of three models. First, the government directly funds and/or resources distributed learning opportunities. Second, individual distributed learning programs charge a fee for students who enroll on a per course basis (often paid for by the school or school district). Third, the government provides direct funding for the distributed learning program through FTEs/CEUs. Interestingly, those Canadian jurisdictions that did fund distributed learning through FTEs/CEUs provided less funding for distributed learning enrollments compared to traditional brick-and-mortar enrollments. The larger body of literature indicates that the American context generally follows the second for supplemental program and the third model for full-time programs. However, it is important to understand the role of private enterprise in public education with respect to distributed learning in the United States, and the impact this has on the funding of full-time distributed learning programs. There is also the issue of whether the government has the obligation to provide the same funding for public education regardless of the modality that education is delivered. As Ministries of Education across Canada review and revise funding models in their jurisdictions, issues of equity and access to effective learning options must be considered. Funding is a critical driver for educational practice. The research community would serve students and schools well to keep funding models for K-12 education in the forefront of their work. Available online at https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/DL-Funding-Report.pdf
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
This chapter provides an overview of the state of K-12 online, blended and distance education, or e-learning, in Canada. A summary of the history of K-12 e-learning and research is provided along with enrolment, current policy and legislation. A description of programs is provided along with an overview of practitioner-based organizations and consortia that have evolved to support e-learning programs in the country. A discussion of issues in K-12 e-learning and research are included and the chapter’s conclusion calls for more research and sharing of innovative practices emerging in Canada. Retrieved from http://repository.cmu.edu/etcpress/82/
Michael K. Barbour
added a research item
This issue of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report marks its 10th year, and the fifth year of the Canadian eLearning Network’s (CANeLearn) support of this research. The report continues to be Canada’s own benchmark for the expanding use of technology-supported blended and online learning in Canada. The anniversary report continues the traditional incisive analysis of the state of K-12 e-learning in Canada as well as an expanded collection of research briefs and a description of several vignettes providing considerable insight about innovation and new approaches emerging in online and blended practices in K-12 programs across Canada. Full results of the research and work undertaken in this study, including all annual reports and associated papers, are published on the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada project website (http://k12sotn.ca/). This document provides a synopsis and overview of the published work on the comprehensive website. Canada provides an interesting exemplar for the rest of the world, given its widely varying population and geography fostering comparisons with other countries/regions of similar population. With two official languages and a growing immigrant population combined with a rich indigenous population, Canadian schools offer online and blended learning programs in English, French, and in some cases Aboriginal languages, leading to comparisons with other English and French-speaking countries and those with significant indigenous populations. The ‘Brief Issue Papers’ and ‘Vignettes’ published on the website capture some of this diversity of program and populations served. They make for particularly topical reading about the challenges and innovations underway in many places across the country, featuring some of the personalities of the online educators who are blending practice, creating learning programs and environments with a varied mix of classroom and online learning methodologies that increase flexibility and access to learning for students. The State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report, and its accompanying publications on its project website, provides critical information and insight into how Canadian educational authorities and governments are integrating technology-supported approaches to prepare students for today’s economy and a future society in which the use of technology will be ubiquitous. This anniversary report and website provide a benchmark for educators and offers background, guidance, and ideas for the improvement of policy and practice in online and blended learning. Available online at http://k12.sotn.ca
Michael K. Barbour
added a project goal
The purpose of this comprehensive study is to examine the current state of all forms of K-12 e-learning (i.e., distance, online and blended learning) in Canada. The State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study updates the provincial, territorial, and federal governance and activity of K-12 e-learning in each jurisdiction, along with providing vignettes to illustrate a variety of those individuals and programs providing these e-learning opportunities.
For more information, visit http://k12sotn.ca/
 
Michael K. Barbour
added 5 research items
To date, most of what is known about K-12 online learning from the media and literature is focused upon experiences in the United States. However, virtual schooling first began in Canada in 1994-95. Over the past fourteen years, there has been little federal funding for the development and research of K-12 online learning in Canada. This has largely been due to the fact that education is a provincial jurisdiction and there is no federal department with this responsibility in Canada. Therefore, there have been no federal guidelines or standards for these programmes to meet through reporting or external evaluations. With limited government, foundation, and private support for education research, K-12 online learning programmes have not received financial support for research and evaluation. Moreover, there has been little activity in Canadian higher education towards research of K-12 online learning, compounded by the fact that there are fewer than five-dozen Canadian universities, which limits the focus and scope of K-12 education research. As such, K-12 online learning has continued to develop across Canada quietly, and with little dissemination outside of the country and between individual provinces. This report is the first of many steps that researchers and the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) are taking to begin to address the lack of information about K-12 online learning in Canada. This report will provide an examination of online learning activity at the K-12 level and how it is governed in each province and territory. Thus the authors provide a brief overview of the national landscape of K-12 online learning, with a more detailed focus on three jurisdictions. A list of selected resources and bibliography are included.
Current research in K-12 online learning in Canada has focused on defi ning distance learning and its current strengths and weaknesses. Yet, the proliferation of technologies and digital learning spaces has led to the emergence of new instructional strategies and digital learning practices for teachers in many K-12 classrooms, both online and onsite. Traditional school-based classrooms are incorporating technology-supported open learning options, creating “blended learning” opportunities where at least part of instruction occurs in a classroom, part online at a distance to the teacher, both combined with some element of choice in learning for students. For these emerging practices little is known empirically, only anecdotally, as research into these practices has been limited or nonexistent, particularly in Canada. As you will find in this publication, many provinces and territories in Canada have some reference to distance education in their Education Act or Schools Act, the reference is typically used to describe distance education or to enable the Ministry of Education to create, approve or regulate K-12 distance education. However, few provinces and territories have any regulations describing online or blended learning. Two exceptions may be Nova Scotia and British Columbia. In Nova Scotia distance education is described in the collective agreement signed between the Government of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. British Columbia has the highest level of regulation for K–12 online learning, featuring a structured system that allows students to freely choose any online course or program, and a funding model where dollars follow student choice. BC also has de ned and published standards and a focus on quality for their online learning programs. As digital learning practices expand, there is a clear need for further research and study in the emerging eld of K-12 online and blended learning. Canada, as the second largest country in the world, has a rich history of technology-supported distance learning strategies to bridge the country’s geographic expanse. Yet, for the past decade Canadian educators actively embracing new learning models and technologies have worked in relative isolation, sharing only locally at best. Given our rich experience in online and distance learning, an investment in Canadian-based research would be wise, and a national research model founded on the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report could foster, support, communicate and share research in a manner that reaches local practitioners, not just academic journals. This eighth edition of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report, combined with the consolidation of Canadian research posted on the Canadian eLearning Network’s (CANeLearn) website (see http://canelearn.net/state-of-the-nation-k-12-online-learning-in-canada/), lays the foundation for an expansion of critical research for Canadian K-12 practitioners of K-12 online and blended learning practice and innovation. The 2015 report is a call for an expansion of research from Canada, including written publications covering topics specif ic to blended and online learning, vignettes, features and expanded information and stories about innovation and new approaches across Canada. CANeLearn looks forward to continuing to take a lead role in supporting and partnering in this research, posting this information on its website, and sharing it with members and educators across Canada and beyond. Retrieved from http://canelearn.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/State-of-the-Nation-Report-2015.pdf