Number of K-12 Schools: 824
Number of K-12 Students: 204,149
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Programs: ~38
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Students: ~8,00
Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.
Governance and Regulation
The only reference in the Public Schools Act regarding distance education is mention that the Minister of Education and Early childhood Learning can approve courses of study, including correspondence and other courses. Distance Learning is defined by Manitoba Education and Early childhood Learning as:
- a method of accessing courses of study even though learners and their teachers, instructors, or tutor/markers may be in different physical locations; and
- programs that provide flexibility and equitable access to diverse learning opportunities, while at the same time respects local community decisions regarding program implementation.
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning has issued other regulatory and policy documents. In 2014, Manitoba Education created a framework that allowed for virtual collegiates to operate in the province. To date, the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and the Pembina Trails and St. James-Assiniboia School Divisions (i.e., InformNet Online High School) have signed an Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the province and have been granted school codes for their virtual collegiates.
The Manitoba Student Records system does have a mechanism to indicate whether the credit earned was obtained through some form of distance education, but this method of data collection is dependent on the individual schools categorizing and entering the data correctly. By default, most schools report the credit as earned in a traditional manner, regardless of the method of instruction. As such, the data reported here may be significantly lower than the actual involvement in distance or online learning.
For the most part, distance and learning options are funded in a manner similar to brick-and-mortar education with a few exceptions. There is a fee per seat that is collected for the Teacher Mediated Option (TMO), and the consortium that operates this option has established a fee structure for both members and non-members. Finally, the InformNet Online High School has established a fee structure that depends on the student’s residency and status. Students that reside within the governing school divisions are not charged fees, but students from outside of the school division – as well as homeschooling students and adult learners – are charged fees.
Finally, following a comprehensive review of the K-12 education system by the Manitoba Commission on K to 12 Education (2020) that concluded in March 2020 with the Our Children’s Success: Manitoba’s Future report, Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning (2022) released Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan in April 2022. This report called for, among other things, the province to “develop a provincial remote learning strategy, including an online high school, to enhance access to programming and learning across the province” (pp. 15 & 23).
K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity
Each school division in the province has participated in one or more of the above distance education program options. However, participation varies from year to year depending on the changing needs of students and schools. The TMO, which is managed by rural school divisions through the TMO Consortium in partnership with Manitoba Education and Training. Additionally, the Web-based Course (WBC) Option offerings were delivered using the Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L) learning management system.
TMO, WBC, InformNet, and the Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre (K-8) collectively provided distance learning to ~8,000 students.
K-12 Blended Learning Activity
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning formally defines blended learning as “a combination of traditional face-to-face classroom learning and online/remote learning” (Manitoba Education, 2020, para 1). The Ministry does not formally track participation in blended learning.
Fall 2021 Reopening
Schools in Manitoba returned to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Online learning continued for students (or other household members) who were immunocompromised, and they could access online learning materials through the Manitoba Remote Learning Center. Remote learning in any other instances would be used as a ‘last resort’ should COVID-19 cases increase and requirements included a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. The province released Manitoba Education Standards for Remote Learning with guidelines to be followed by schools in instances where temporary remote learning was necessary and all schools would be responsible for making technology accessible to students, but if technology was not available print-based materials would be provided. All student assessments and reporting continue as normal (LaBonte et al., 2021).
2021-22 School Year
As the new school year progressed, masks were required in school and on buses and there were local school closures for COVID outbreaks. Limits for indoor gathering in rural communities with lower vaccination rates were introduced to curb spread of the virus in those areas. With the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in December, school reopening was a phased-in approach with high risk students and those of critical service personnel returning January 10, 2022 and all other students returning January 17. Staff were required to wear medical masks and only local school closures continued. February saw the gradual release of community restrictions across Canada and the Manitoba government lifted all public health orders and restrictions on March 15 (LaBonte et al., 2022).
LaBonte, R., Barbour, M. K., & Mongrain, J. (2022). Teaching during times of turmoil: Ensuring Continuity of learning during school closures. Canadian eLearning Network. https://canelearn.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Teaching-During-Times-of-Turmoil.pdf
LaBonte, R., Barbour, M. K., & Nagle, J. (2021). Pandemic pedagogy in Canada: Lessons from the first 18 months. Canadian eLearning Network. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gaNFXDCt44W9DaAC9iRAf33pDTKup2C8/view
Manitoba Commission on K to 12 Education. (2020). Our children’s success: Manitoba’s future. https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/educationreview/publications.html
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning. (2020). Distance learning: Blended learning. https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/blended_learning.html / https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/docs/blend_learn.pdf
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning. (2022). Manitoba’s K to 12 education Action plan. https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/action_plan/index.html
Previous Provincial Profiles
History of K-12 E-Learning
Distance education started in Manitoba in 1927 with print-based correspondence courses with a mandate to provide educational opportunities, through correspondence or independent study, to school-aged children and adults in rural and remote areas where access to school was difficult or impossible due to proximity or illness. Prior to 1987, correspondence/independent study courses were delivered by the Correspondence School. However, beginning in 1987 the Distance Education and Technology Branch was established and the Correspondence Branch was incorporated into this (later renamed the Independent Study Program in 1991). In 1991, the Independent Study Program (now called the Independent Study Option [ISO]) was decentralized to Winkler, Manitoba in what is now the Distance Learning Unit. Historically, courses for grades 1-6 were developed by Alberta Education while courses for grades 7-12 were developed by Manitoba’s Program Development Branch. By 2009, Grade 7 ISO courses were discontinued and students directed to Alberta Education (the same occurred for Grade 8 ISO courses in 2010). Beginning in 2014, the ISO program began using Blackboard Learn as a learning management system.
The Teacher Mediated Option (TMO) program began in 1984 as a cooperative program by the school divisions. In 1992, Manitoba Education assumed responsibility for the administration of the TMO program and it was operated from Wawanesa, MB (within the Southwest School Division). In 2007, the TMO program moved to the Distance Learning Unit in Winkler, MB. Around 2010 to 2012 discussion began with participating school divisions about the continuation of the TMO program. It was decided a consortium would be established with participating school divisions and TMO teachers would be placed under the host’s collective agreement. In 2012 – 2013 this consortium was established with an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the consortium members and Manitoba Education. The Sunrise School Division acts as the host division, and ISO course materials are used as foundation for instruction. This MOU has been renewed annually, but in 2014 – 2015 Pine Creek School Division began to act as the host division.
The Web-Based Courses (WBC) were first implemented in 1999 with Applied Math 30S being the first course developed as a pilot. After a successful two year project that involved 15 school divisions, WBC development and implementation continued to flourish and by 2006 41 courses were available for grades 9-12. In 2008, a Task Force was established to review the distance learning programs and processes. Finally, beginning in September 2014 the Ministry approved a three year pilot for the operation of a virtual collegiate by an educational organization recognized by Manitoba. To date, two “virtual collegiates” have received a school code (i.e., Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate and InformNet Virtual Collegiate). WBC continue to be developed and revised to meet accessibility standards and the needs of 21st century learners. These courses are made available to Manitoba teachers within the province as a resource, as a deliverable distance learning course, or to use in a blended learning environment.
- Manitoba’s Teacher Mediated Option (2019)
- InForM Net Consortium (2013)
- Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate (2013)
- Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate (2010)
- Southwest Horizon School Division (2009)
Individual Program Survey Responses
|Program||Most recent response||Medium||# of Students||# of Teachers||# of Courses|
|Beautiful Plains School Division
|2015-16||Online||36||1 full time||1|
|Evergreen School Division||2010-11||Online||38||6 part time||6|
|Flin Flon School Division||2015-16||Correspondence
|1 full time (counsellor)
|Garden Valley School Division||2011-12||Correspondence||5||0||2|
|2021-22||Online||1,750||10 full time
8 part time
|Lakeshore School Division||2010-11||Correspondence
|Mountain View School Division
|Southwest Horizon School Division VC
|Turtle Mountain School Division VC Courses||2016-17||Correspondence
|Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate (Manitoba)
|2021-22||Online||96||12 full time||60|
* This includes registration of Evergreen students in other division’s programs and other division’s students enrolled in Evergreen’s program.
** Additional information unavailable
*** This includes both their participation in Ministry-delivered programs and their own video conferencing and French immersion programs.
**** Teachers were already employed, just required a timetable adjustment.
To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey
Inter-provincial and International
If a student in Manitoba enrolls in a course offered by an online program in another province or territory it is up to the individual school administrators to assign “Out-of-Province” credits for the course(s) that have an equivalent Manitoba provincial course or locally developed course. The same process is used for students who attended a school out of province and then move to Manitoba. When the school administrator accepts the transfer a designation of “S” for “Standing” is used to report credits granted in the place of a percentage mark. As such achievement in out-of-province courses cannot be used to calculate an average, and any transfer of credit is at the school administrator’s discretion. This process applies to any out-of-province courses, regardless if it is another jurisdiction in Canada or internationally.
Under current regulations Manitoba schools cannot deliver any online courses to students in other jurisdictions for credit. Schools can offer a course to an out-of-province or out-of-country student, but cannot issue Manitoba standing (i.e., credit) to an out-of-province or out-of-country student. Students must be registered in a Manitoba school to earn Manitoba credit(s).