To conclude our conference sharing for this week, we wanted to share the notes from a session from the blendED 2017 conference that was led by Michael Barbour, a researcher with the CANeLearn-partnered State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada project.
Current research in K-12 online learning in Canada has focused on defining distance learning and its current strengths and weaknesses. Yet the proliferation of technologies and digital learning spaces has led to the emergence of new instructional strategies and digital learning practices for teachers in many K-12 classrooms, both online and onsite. Traditional school-based classrooms are incorporating technology-supported open learning options, creating blended learning opportunities where at least part of instruction occurs in a classroom, part online at a distance, both combined with some element of choice in learning for students. For these emerging practices little is known empirically, only anecdotally, as research into these practices has been limited or nonexistent, particularly in Canada.
As you will hear in the authors’ discussion of the 2016 State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report, many provinces and territories in Canada have some reference to distance education in their Education Act or Schools Act; the reference is typically used to describe distance education or to enable the Ministry of Education to create, approve or regulate K-12 distance education. However, with some exceptions, few provinces and territories have any regulations describing online or blended learning. This presentation will describe and discuss this current state of e-learning in Canada and the need for further research and study in the emerging field of K-12 online and blended learning, including the first systematic data collected on the level of and growth in blended learning across the country.
Touro University, California – Associate Professor, Instructional Design
Michael K. Barbour is Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the College of Education and Health Sciences at Touro University, California. He has been involved with K-12 online learning in a variety of countries for two decades as a researcher, teacher, course designer and administrator. Michael’s research focuses on the effective design, delivery and support of K-12 online learning, as well as policy issues. He has testified before House and Senate education committees in several states, as well as consulting for Ministries of Education across Canada and in New Zealand. Dr. Barbour is currently a fellow for the National Education Policy Center and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.