Population: 521,758
Number of K-12 Schools: 259
Number of K-12 Students: 63,510
Number of K-12 E-Learning Programs: 2
Number of K-12 E-Learning: 1,029

Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.

Governance and Regulation

There is no language in the Education Act related to K-12 distance education. Historically, distance education was delivered directly by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Beginning in 2001 this delivery was managed through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI). The CDLI was transferred to be a division of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) in 2017. In addition to its offerings for the NLESD, the district also has a memorandum of understanding with both the Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador and the school district representing the Mi’kmaq (i.e., a province-wide First Nations district) to deliver e-learning courses to their students through the CDLI.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development continues to track the method of delivery that students complete their studies through distance learning. Historically this data was available through the K-12 School Profile System. However, this system stopped reporting data related to distance learning as of the 2019-20 school year.

K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity

In addition to the CDLI, the NLESD began providing a variety of K-9 courses through ConnectED during the 2020-21 school year. Distance learning at the K-12 level is delivered using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous tools, with synchronous instruction being the primary method. ConnectED enrolled a total of 33 students who were engaged with 42 different courses (i.e., using the guide of grade 9 math being a single course, grade 6 social studies a single course, etc.) during the 2020-21 school year. Also, there were 996 students registered in 45 different courses through the CDLI.

K-12 Blended Learning Activity

The CDLI also offered online course reviews for students in both online and blended contexts for a variety of courses throughout the secondary level. The reviews utilized recorded instruction and solutions to sample questions related to provincial learning outcomes. The CDLI allows any provincial educator (i.e., including classroom teachers) to register in their portal and use the CDLI’s asynchronous course materials with their face-to-face students. While the CDLI has tracked the number of educators that are registered in the portal, an account in the system does not necessarily mean that the person uses the resources in their classroom. No data on the number of educator accounts was provided for 2020-21.

Remote Learning

Spring 2020 Closure

Schools in Newfoundland closed on March 17, 2020. The Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development, through the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), launched the Learning at Home: Good at Learning Good at Life website as a resource for students and parents during the remote teaching that began on April 2, 2020. While students and teachers used a variety of Google tools, there were no specified expectations for attendance or requirements for synchronous or asynchronous learning – although teachers were required to check in with students weekly. The NLESD did provide some technology and internet access, as well as non-digital learning packages. The school year ended early on June 5, 2020, and, with the cancelation of public exams, report card grades reflected work assessed before the school closure (Nagle et al., 2020a).

Fall 2020 Reopening

The 2020-21 school year began with in-person learning under near-normal conditions. Public health measures included cohort groupings, physical distancing (i.e., two meters), and, due to the limitations of physical distancing in classrooms, signage to control the flow of student traffic. Additionally, to limit student movement schools had subject-specific teachers transition between classrooms and students remained in a single room. Masks were only mandatory where physical distancing was not possible. Virtual learning that included the provision of technology and connectivity remained an option for students who needed to learn at home. Public examinations were cancelled, but all other provincial exams were planned to be administered. There were no publicly announced plans for hybrid or remote learning (Nagle et al., 2020b).

2020-21 School Year

Schools were open to in-person learning until February 18, 2021, when provincial schools returned to remote learning due to an increased spike in COVID-19 cases. The instructional model included a mandatory minimum three-hour day for kindergarten to grade 3, 90-minutes per day for grades 4-6, and a full day for grades 7-12 using a combination of Google tools. However, the NELSD was delayed in providing digital devices and connectivity in some instances. Around mid-April, most high schools in at-risk regions implemented a learning model that had students spending a portion of their time learning in person at school and the remainder of their time learning at home through a streamed feed of the live classroom instruction (Nagle et al., 2021).


Nagle, J., Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2020a). Documenting triage: Detailing the response of provinces and territories to emergency remote teaching. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Nagle, J., Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2021). Toggling between lockdowns: Canadian responses for continuity of learning in the 2020-21 school year. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Nagle, J., LaBonte, R., & Barbour, M. K. (2020b). A fall like no other: Between basics and preparing for an extended transition during turmoil. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Previous Provincial Profiles

History of K-12 E-Learning

Unlike most provinces, the history of e-learning in Newfoundland and Labrador has been well documented.  Between federally-funded research initiatives (e.g., National Centres of Excellence-TeleLearning and the Killick Centre for E-Learning Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland) and independent researchers, there has been a great deal of academic literature produced describing the development of e-learning in the province.  A Colloquim published in 2005 provides a brief overview of the history of e-learning programs from a telematics project in the 1980s to a variety of online initiatives in the 1990s to the province-wide virtual school in the 2000s (see Barbour, 2005).  Additionally, Barbour (2007) provides a comprehensive overview of the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation,


Barbour, M. K. (2005). From telematics to web-based: The progression of distance education in Newfoundland and Labrador. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(6), 1055-1058.

Barbour, M. K. (2007). Portrait of rural virtual schooling. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 59. Retrieved from http://www.umanitoba.ca/publications/cjeap/articles/barbour.html


Brief Issue Papers

Individual Program Survey Responses

Program Most recent response  Medium  # of Students  # of Teachers # of Courses 
Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation
2020-21 Online 1,029 online 31 full-time 45
2020-21 Online 33 5 full-time 42

To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey

Inter-provincial and International

If a student in Newfoundland and Labrador were to take a course from an e-learning program in another jurisdiction that student would have to apply to High School Certification to have an equivalency completed to assess whether the course meets the curriculum requirements for Newfoundland and Labrador.  If the course was found to be equivalent the student would then receive credit.

Students living in other jurisdictions can only take courses from CDLI if they are registered with a school in the province.  For example, if a student were to move to Qatar with their parents for work reasons and they were registered with a school in Newfoundland and Labrador, they could then take their courses through CDLI.  Students living outside of Newfoundland and Labrador who have not been registered with a school in Newfoundland and Labrador are not eligible to enroll in courses through the CDLI.