The current state of education in Canada might be best described as “tired.” With 18 months of a pandemic behind us, it is still uncertain as to when, or if, life will return to pre-pandemic times. (I purposely avoided the word “normal” or “new normal.”) This uncertainty has been particularly difficult for schools and educators. This is hard.
Those of us with a keen interest in online learning are watching carefully to see how provinces, territories, districts, and schools will emerge. The disruptive nature of technology has been on full display and has received mixed reviews. Many are anxiously looking to see schools adopt and improve on many of the practices that began in early 2020, others are seeking to return to a time where distance learning was either a last resort or an option for a small minority of learners.
This report offers a clear, thoughtful, and unbiased look at how every province tackled this dilemma. It’s worthwhile to compare the paths that each jurisdiction took from March of 2020 to the fall of 2021. The decisions that were made early on were largely uniform across Canada as emergency remote teaching took centre stage. Things began to diverge somewhat across the country as provinces prepared for a new school year. As outlined by the authors, Phase 2 or 3 is where we are now, depending on jurisdiction, and represents the greatest differences in various approaches to online learning.
The Canadian eLearning Network has done the hard work of collating various data and begun to plant the seeds to ask the really important questions such as:
- How did provinces arrive at the decisions around online learning for the 2021-22 school year?
- How effective was online learning in 2020-21?
- How much did teacher, student, and parent voices influence decisions?
- Have the past 18 months helped districts to create a new and better vision for online learning?
Having experienced and seen the benefits of online learning from both an instructor and working with districts across the country, Canada is well positioned to build upon their success and learn from their failure to create the best learning opportunities and environments for all learners. CANeLearn continues to provide information that is difficult to gather with reports such as this one. If you’re looking to understand the current context of online learning in Canada, this report will provide that for you. Beyond understanding, this report should lead to essential conversations and action.
Advanced Learning Partnerships