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Copyright Colin Purrington (http://colinpurrington.com/tips/academic/posterdesign).
DLAC 2020 - State Of The Nation: K-12 e-Learning In Canada
In the introduction to the 2006 worldwide survey of departments of
education the North American Council for Online Learning (later
the International Association for K-12 Online Learning or
iNACOL) indicated that “research has been done on several virtual
schools in North America; however, little information is available
about current K-12 e-learning initiatives across the world” (Powell
& Patrick, 2006, p. 1). At the time, based on the literature on K-12
e-learning a slightly revised quote could also have accurately apply
to North America – ‘research has been done on several virtual
schools in the United States; however, little information is available
about current K-12 e-learning initiatives in the rest of North
America.’ When the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in
Canada was first published in 2008, the vast majority of literature
and research about K-12 e-learning was still focused on the United
States. This annual study was the first of many steps that
researchers took, and are continuing to take, to address the lack of
information about K-12 e-learning in Canada.
Materials and methods
The goals of this study are to address the following questions:
1. How is K-12 distance, online, and blended learning governed in
each province, territory, and federally?
2. What is the level of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning
activity occurring in each province, territory, and federally?
The methodology utilized to collect the data for the annual study
• a survey that was sent to each of the Ministries of Education,
• follow-up interviews to clarify or expand on any of the responses
contained in the survey,
• an analysis of documents from the Ministry of Education, often
available in online format, and
• follow-up interviews with key stakeholders in many of the
In addition to the data collection for the provincial, territorial, and
federal profiles, the researchers also undertook an individual
program survey that was sent to contacts from all of the K-12 e-
learning programs across Canada identified by the researchers.
Nature of Regulation Types of Programs
Distance & Online Learning Participation Blended Learning Participation
• the data for participation in distance and online learning
has been getting better each year
• the data for blended learning is unreliable and represents
only a poor estimate
• Ontario (ON) has the highest number of students
participating in distance and online learning, but ON is
also the most populated province
• British Columbia (BC) has the highest per capita student
involvement in distance and online learning
• BC and Nova Scotia are the most regulated
• BC also has funding policy specific to distributed
learning (i.e., distance and online learning)
• ON funds e-learning course content and the technology
for online access to the courses; but school boards are
expected to manage programs
• provinces and territories with a smaller K-12 populations
(i.e., Northern and Eastern regions) tend to offer
centralized provincial programs either run by their
Ministry of Education or contracted to a school authority
• ON, Saskatchewan, and BC have primarily district based
programs; while Québec, Manitoba, and Alberta have a
mix of provincial and school district programs
• most of the online learning programs have a success or
completion rate comparable to regular school programs
• blended learning models are becoming more prevalent;
either as school-based support for students who are
primarily at a distance or as part of a shift for classroom-
based teachers to include online courses and tools as part
of school-based student’s learning program
Michael K. Barbour, Touro University California – email@example.com
Randy LaBonte, Canadian eLearning Network – firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2019). State of the nation: K-12 e-learning
in Canada. Half Moon Bay, BC: Canadian E-Learning Network.
Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2019). L’état de l’apprentissage
électronique de la maternelle à la 12e année au Canada. Half Moon
Bay, BC: Canadian E-Learning Network.
Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2019). Sense of irony or perfect timing:
Examining the research supporting proposed e-learning changes in
Ontario. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education,
34(2). Retrieved from
Barbour, M. K. (2019). E-learning class size. Half Moon Bay, BC:
Canadian E-Learning Network.
Project Website – https://k12sotn.ca