In the introduction to the 2006 worldwide survey of departments of education the North American Council for Online Learning (later the International Association for K-12 Online Learning or iNACOL) indicated that “research has been done on several virtual schools in North America; however, little information is available about current K-12 e-learning initiatives across the world” (Powell & Patrick, 2006, p. 1).  At the time, based on the literature on K-12 e-learning a slightly revised quote could also have accurately apply to North America – ‘research has been done on several virtual schools in the United States; however, little information is available about current K-12 e-learning initiatives in the rest of North America.’  When the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada was first published in 2008, the vast majority of literature and research about K-12 e-learning was still focused on the United States.  This annual study was the first of many steps that researchers took, and are continuing to take, to address the lack of information about K-12 e-learning in Canada.

The goals of this study are to address the following questions:

  1. How is K-12 distance, online, and blended learning governed in each province, territory, and federally?
  2. What is the level of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning activity occurring in each province, territory, and federally?

About the Methodology

The methodology utilized to collect the data for the study included:

  • a survey that was sent to each of the Ministries of Education (see Appendix A for a copy of this survey);
  • follow-up interviews to clarify or expand on any of the responses contained in the survey;
  • an analysis of documents from the Ministry of Education, often available in online format; and
  • follow-up interviews with key stakeholders in many of the jurisdictions.

During that data collection process, officials from the provincial and territorial Ministries of Education responded. The profiles were constructed based on these survey responses, along with information provided by key stakeholders involved in K-12 distance, online, and blended learning in each respective province or territory, and in some instances an analysis of available documents. Table 1 indicates the history of data collection for the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study.

Table 1. Data collection sources for the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

NL

KS / DA

MoE / DA

DA

MoE

DA

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE / KS / DA

KS / DA

KS / DA

NS

DA

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

PE

DA

KS / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

NB

DA

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

QC

KS

KS / DA

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE

MoE

MoE / KS

KS

MoE / KS

ON

KS / DA

KS / DA

KS / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

KS / DA

KS / DA

MoE / KS / DA

MoE / KS / DA

MB

KS

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

SK

KS / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE

MoE

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

AB

DA

KS / DA

KS / DA

MoE

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / KS

MoE

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE / KS / DA

BC

MoE / DA

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

YT

DA

KS / DA

MoE / DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

NT

DA

MoE / DA

DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE / DA

MoE

NU

DA

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE

MoE / KS

MoE / KS

KS / DA

MoE

MoE

Federal

AANDC / KS / DA

AANDC / KS

INAC / KS

INAC / KS

INAC / KS

KS

MoE – Ministry of Education; KS – Key stakeholders; DA – Document analysis; AANDC – Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada/INAC – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Prior to publication drafts of each profile were provided to the Ministries, as well as key stakeholders that provided information for the profile. These individuals were given the opportunity to suggest revisions, most of which were accepted by the researchers (and all of which were seriously considered).

In addition to the data collection for the provincial, territorial, and federal profiles, the researchers also undertook an individual program survey (see Appendix B for a copy of this survey). The individual program survey was sent to contacts from all of the K-12 distance, online, and blended programs across Canada identified by the researchers. Between the contacts that have been developed by State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada researchers over the course of this research project, in addition to contacts provided by the Canadian eLearning Network and leads from key stakeholders, the researchers identified different K-12 distance, online, and blended learning programs in Canada.  The survey was sent to all contacts on multiple occasions from May through October.

About the Published Report

The annual reports from 2008-2011 were published by iNACOL. The annual reports from 2012-2013 were published by Open School BC.  Since 2014 the annual reports have been published by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn).  Reflecting the involvement of CANeLearn, the annual report officially became known as the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada in 2015.  The change in the title was to accommodate the growing diversity in the field of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning, along with the fact that within the Canadian context not all forms of distance education are mediated online.  E-learning is a broader term that includes a variety of forms teaching and learning that are facilitated by or supported through online technologies where the teacher and learning may or may not be separated by distance.

For an overview of the contents of the annual report, please review the “How To Read This Report” page.

The annual reports have been authored primarily by Michael K. Barbour, with the assistance of a research team (some of whom have also been involved with the authorship).  Those members of the research team that have worked on this study (and the years that they were involved) include:

  • Randy LaBonte (2014-present)
  • Nandita Mani (2008)
  • Josh Rouan (2009)
  • Jason Siko (2010-11)
  • Robin Stewart (2007-09)
  • Joe Vrazo (2011)
  • Naimah Wade (2012)
  • Lin Zhang (2007-08)

The design of the website for the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada is based on a similar study from the United States (i.e., Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice).

A special thanks for Boise State University’s Associate Professor Ross Perkins and Graduate Assistant Tony Hetrick, as well as Paul Mycroft, for their assistance with the WordPress programming and design for this website.

References

Powell, A., & Patrick, S. (2006). An international perspective of K-12 online learning: A summary of the 2006 NACOL international e-learning survey. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED514433.pdf

Appendices