LEARN, a non-profit educational organization located in Laval, just north of Montreal, was created to address the particular needs of English Quebec and to support the educational reform in our schools. As part of its mandate, LEARN had to create new resources and design an effective way to deliver these resources to a population spread out over an immense geographical expanse.
Over the past seven years, LEARN has gone on to develop asynchronous resources, along with supplementary materials that cover the entire range of the curriculum. LEARN’s website acts as the repository for over 300 000 files of educational material and licensed content that serves approximately 150 000 students and teachers.
The asynchronous course material developed by LEARN is utilized in a variety of ways which could loosely be termed blended learning. In certain cases, teachers who do not have access to print resources use online course materials in much the same way as others normally use a textbook.
Since the material is aligned with the curriculum, teachers can rely on course content, evaluation tools, and related projects for the entire course. LEARN has seen over the years that new teachers rely heavily on these resources—however, teachers who have been re-assigned to a new discipline access them as well. In other cases, there are schools that reach out to students within their jurisdiction and enrol them in courses that they are expected to complete on their own with support from the school.
Frequently, these are students anxious to complete their high school studies and who require credit recovery. All students in Quebec English schools also have direct access to the resources at home by logging into the site with a username and password provided by LEARN through their school.
In addition to the asynchronous courses and blended learning, LEARN provides daily online classes to over 300 students. These courses rely primarily on real-time delivery and incorporate exemplary pedagogy. Students access the asynchronous course material on the LEARN site and use online collaborative tools such as Voicethread to learn content at their own pace. Then, they work in their web-conferenced classrooms the next day in a collaborative fashion to apply the concepts they have learned.