We noticed that earlier today the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) posted their December 2022 Newsletter, and it teased out some of the findings of our soon to be released annual State of the Nation:K-12 e-Learning in Canada study.
Cross-Canada Roundup: K-12 Provincial e-Learning Changes 2022-23
Photo via Kissco
Awareness, understanding, and the role of online learning environments has expanded rapidly since “emergency remote teaching” was thrust upon the entire K-12 system during COVID. While much of the practice that resulted has been criticized, the benefits of centralizing online learning opportunities were not lost on governments and school district senior managers. As well, many parents were exposed to the benefits (or ‘affordances’ as Tony Bates likes to call it) of e-learning. Below is a run-down of that centralization movement across Canada.
Atlantic Canada has always had consolidated, centralized programming for e-learning (distance or online learning). There have been few significant changes in that practice, only minor changes in which authority is leading program operations.
Last year 56 distance learning pilot projects spread over 39 educational establishments and organizations in Québec. Documents suggest that there were at least 1650 students involved in some of these pilot projects. Beyond the established SOFAD adult online correspondence program, the rest of the programs are ancillary as government policy is for most learning to occur in the school classroom.
Ontario saw significant changes with the launch of a two mandatory e-learning course graduation requirement, the only jurisdiction in Canada to do so. Full implementation still has many questions yet to be answered including how to scale existing e-learning courses, where students will access and work from, if there is sufficient hardware, supervision, and support, and what impact increased online enrollments will have on face-to-face classes. The central OeLC and CAVLFO consortia and Ministry are leading the implementation.
Following a comprehensive review of the K-12 education system that concluded in March 2020, the Ministry released an action plan report that called for the province to develop a provincial remote learning strategy, including an online high school to enhance access to programming and learning across the province.
The Saskatchewan government has established a new Crown Corporation to oversee centralized online education in the province through a planned acquisition of Sun West School Division’s Distance Learning Centre (DLC). Teachers, regardless of where they live, will have employment opportunities to work for the online school.
Alberta changed funding regulations and provided a competitive grant program designed to encourage school authorities to build capacity to serve students from outside of their geographic boundaries. This is in contrast to other provinces where centralization and consolidation of e-learning programs was the strategy.
Changes in BC e-learning have been underway since 2018. The formerly distributed learning policies were replaced by interim online learning policies with a timeline for full implementation on July 1, 2023. The future landscape will see designated Provincial Online Learning Schools (POLS) able to enrol students from outside their home district, as well as their own students, while District Online Learning Schools (DOLS) will only be able to enrol students from within their own district. POLS will be required to sign new agreements with the Ministry, use the provincial LMS, and follow a new accountability and quality assurance (AQA) model.
Similar to Atlantic Canada, Yukon and Northwest Territories have centralized programs that are funded directly by the Ministries and often run directly by the government.
Watch for more information coming with next week’s release of the 2022 State of the Nation report full of updates on last school year’s registrations, policy changes, and comprehensive details on the state of e-learning across Canada. Find out more at https://k12sotn.ca/
To view the full newsletter, click https://canelearn.net/2023/01/20/jan23-newsletter/