LEARN Virtual Campus




The LEARN Virtual Campus is 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.  The LEARN Virtual Campus was originally established in 2004 as the Leading English Education and Resource Network (LEARN), which was an amalgamation of the Distance Education and Community Network (inaugurated in 1999), the English and Resources Network, and the Quebec English Schools Network.  As part of its mandate, LEARN creates new resources and designs effective ways to deliver these resources to a population spread out over an immense geographical expanse.

LEARN’s mandate is to work with the linguistic minority in the province of Quebec, which happens to be the English community.  In other Canadian provinces the linguistic minority is French.  In 2014, LEARN became a founding member of the Canadian e-Learning Network (CANeLearn) and through this network LEARN is able to participate in exchanges on current and best practices as well as shared experiences.  However, as education is a provincial jurisdiction in Canadian, and LEARN is the only Quebec-based member of CANeLearn, there is not much more in the way of cooperation or coordination.


Within the province of Quebec most K-12 distance learning is still limited to students 16 years and older enrolled in adult education and vocational schools. Historically, school boards were primarily responsible for the provision of distance learning. In fact, recent amendments to the Loi sur l’instruction publique restrict the provision of distance learning to individual programs who must co-operate with brick-and-mortar schools.  Additionally, the legislation specifically states that distance learning is only provided in cases where exceptional or unforeseeable situations prevent the student from being received at school or in cases where special home or hospital teaching services are required (Government of Quebec, 2023).

However, against the backdrop of the Chambers (1992) report (which outlined the Task Force on English Education’s recommendations on how to support the school boards’ efforts to ensure that quality educational services were provided in the English sector schooling to encourage young Anglophones to stay in Quebec), two of the recommendations made by the task force were:

(18) THAT THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION recognize and support alternative approaches to meet the diverse learning needs of students and to provide enrichment for gifted students through activities such as the use of community resources, CEGEP courses, computer networking and distance education.

(19) THAT THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION ensure that more opportunities be available for the adult learner and for continuing education in rural or isolated communities, particularly through better use of distance education. (p. 11)

It was within this provincial context that LEARN Virtual Campus was established and continues to operate.

LEARN is a legal non-profit organization registered in the Province of Quebec.  The non-profit is governed by an extensive set of by-laws that can be amended by its Board of Directors.  A minimum of three (3) Directors are elected annual at an annual general meeting.  According to the by-laws, the Board of Directors may be composed of up to fourteen (14) Directors that include the Directors General of the ten (10) English School Boards, three (3) representatives from the private school networks, and one (1) legal advisor.  While the term of office is two (2) years, Directors may be re-elected an unlimited number of times.  The Board of Directors meet on a quarterly basis.

The role of the Board of Directors is to provide general direction to the Chief Executive Officer and oversight of the organization as a whole, while the day-to-day activities are managed by an appointed Chief Executive Officer.  Essentially, the operation of the organization is administered by the Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible to a Board of Directors.


In 2013-14 the Protocol for Agreements for Minority Language Education and Second-Language Instruction 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 was signed between Canadian Heritage and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (Canadian Heritage, 2009; Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 2013).  The protocol stipulated that the Government of Canada would contribute funds to the provinces and territories to provide minority-language education to young people from minority communities. Following the signing, Canadian Heritage and the 13 provincial and territorial governments negotiated bilateral agreements enabling the Government of Canada to support each province and territory in educating students from minority communities.  Funds are allocated by each provincial or territorial Ministry of Education.

In Quebec, some of the Canada-Quebec Agreement for Minority Language Education funds destined to the Anglophone community are provided as direct grants to organizations and/or for individual projects, while the balance is distributed as service contracts.  The Ministry of Education in Quebec had a separate department called the Direction des services a la communaute Anglophone, and they are responsible for the portion of the Ententé funds that remained.  One of the organization to receive these minority language funds in Quebec is LEARN (i.e., approximately 1% of the minority language funds allocated to Quebec according to LaBonte and Barbour [2017]).  While these minority language funds are generally designed as an attempt to level the playing field in terms of services and resources with the Francophone majority, the funds must also be used exclusively for services approved by the provincial government before they are dispersed with a requirement that they be fully accounted for once expended.

Additionally, LEARN has also generated revenue over the years by selling resources and technology to interests outside of the province (e.g., a proprietary synchronous meeting tool, a subsidiary arm of LEARN provided services such as the translation of textbooks).  This revenue was subsequently invested, and now generates funds such that in three to five years the organization could be fully self-sustaining.

Finally, LEARN is also contracted by the Ministry of Education on a regular basis for services such as content hosting.


Each school board has a director of educational services, as well as consultants in each subject area.  LEARN regularly meets with these individuals to determine which resources and services need to be developed or offered.  At present, LEARN provides three programming options.

  1. Online Courses at the High School Level – LEARN coordinates with nine school districts to first identify students who require courses which are not offered at their schools because the number of students within the school does not justify the creation of a given class and the hiring of a teacher. The teachers are selected and trained by LEARN however the teachers are employees of the school district. The administration and technology support also comes from LEARN.  The program has been running since 1999 and there is no governance documentation other than a service contract between LEARN and the school districts.  In the past we have had up to 550 students who take these classes which are worked into their daily work schedule.
  2. Online Summer School – LEARN offers students intensive three-week online classes which students are obliged to take should they wish to take supplemental exams, that is, exams in courses which they did not pass during the regular school year. To qualify students must not have had a grade average below 40% during the year and must agree to attend all classes.
  3. Online Tutorials – LEARN offers one on one online tutorials in the evenings four days a week. Students register and spend 30 minutes with a tutor in any subject area in the curriculum for Grades 2 and beyond. Students can be tutored in a number of subject areas and can request to stay with the same tutor during the entire course of the year.

In addition to these three formal program options, LEARN also has a Pedagogical Services team that delivers on-site and online professional development.  The organization also supports programs where artists go into schools and work with students on a variety of projects or restaurant chefs go into the schools and teach the students culinary skills (and the food they make is given to those in need).  LEARN also supports a program called Community LEARNing Schools, with each school having a coordinator whose primary role is to create partnerships with community organizations that can work with students in the school or provide locations for the students to go out into the community and work with these partner organizations.  Finally, LEARN also provides seminars for parents on a variety of topics ranging from dealing with your autistic child at home to preparing their child for transition from elementary school to high school or high school to Cegep.

It should be noted that all programming, services, and resources provided by LEARN are available to their community free of charge.


The level of activity within some LEARN programs is more easily discernable than others.

Online Courses at the High School Level

For their online classes, LEARN utilizes one of two models of delivery:

  1. Blended Real Time: the courses are delivered primarily in a synchronous fashion (i.e., approximately 80% of the delivery), but are supplemented by asynchronous components (i.e., approximately 20% of the delivery). In this model the student has the course included as a part of their regular school schedule.
  2. Blended Self-Paced: the student works primarily asynchronous and independently (i.e., approximately 90% of the delivery), but is expected to work synchronous with their teacher at least once a week (i.e., approximately 10% of the delivery).

Each course is a regular, full year course (i.e., the same course students would take in a brick-and-mortar school).

2022-23 School Year

Name of the course or learning opportunity Nature of delivery Number of Teachers* Number of students
Senior Math Blended Real Time 1 (2 sections) 30
Senior Math Blended Self-Paced 1 (1 section) 8
Senior Chemistry Blended Real Time 1 (2 sections) 25
Senior Chemistry Blended Self-Paced 1 (1 section) 5
Senior Physics Blended Real Time 1 (1 section) 25
Intermediate Math Blended Real Time 1 (3 sections) 40
Intermediate Math Blended Self-Paced 1 (1 section) 10

* Teachers are employed full-time at LEARN, as such these teachers are assigned face-to-face classes in their host schools, develop asynchronous  resources (e.g., new exercises and lesson content), or administrative tasks to complete the overall workload.

Online Summer School

The online summer school courses are offered over a period of three (3) weeks, where students are engaged in 100% synchronous instruction for three (3) hours each week day (i.e., five [5] days a week).

2023 Summer Term

Name of the course or learning opportunity Nature of delivery Number of Teachers Number of students
Secondary 1 Math Synchronous 3 36
Secondary 2 Math Synchronous 5 58
Secondary 3 Math Synchronous 6 83
Secondary 4 Math (CST) Synchronous 6 79
Secondary 4 Math (SN) Synchronous 2 31
Secondary 4 Math (CST – SN Bridge) Synchronous 2 18
Secondary 1-3 French Synchronous 2 61
Secondary 4 French Synchronous 2 22
Secondary 1-3 English Language Arts Synchronous 2 52
Secondary 3 History Synchronous 1 13
Secondary 4 History Synchronous 10 139
Secondary 4 Science (ST) Synchronous 5 69
Secondary 4 Science (AST) Synchronous 1 10
Secondary 4 Science (EST) Synchronous 1 17
Secondary 4 English Language Arts Synchronous 2 21
Secondary 5 English Language Arts Synchronous 1 7
Secondary 5 French Synchronous 2 21

Other Programming

During the 2022-23 school year an estimated 50,000 or more students accessed LEARN’s tutorial content.  Similarly, LEARN provided professional development for more than 10,000 teachers during the same time period.

It is the varied nature of LEARN’s other programming that is more difficult to quantify.  For example, during the 2022-23 school year there were more than 40 schools participating in the restaurant chefs program.  Over that same period there were approximately 90 Community LEARNing Schools.


Chambers, G. (1992). Task force on English education: Report to the minister of education of Quebec. https://qcgn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Task-Force-Report_1992_EN.pdf

Government of Quebec. (2023). Loi sur l’instruction publique. https://www.legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/document/lc/i-13.3

LaBonte, R., & Barbour, M. K. (2017). Minority language e-learning services in Canada. Canadian eLearning Network. https://4xs.add.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Minority-Language-DE-Services-in-Canada-EN-Final.pdf