Bodong Chen

Crisscross Landscapes

Notes: E-learning in Canada



Citekey: @mcgreal2007learning

McGreal, R., & Anderson, T. (2007). E-learning in Canada. International Journal of Distance Education Technologies (IJDET), 5(1), 1–6.



A principal characteristic of the Canadian experience with e-learning is the uniquely Canadian feature of provincial jurisdiction over education. (p. 1)

Therefore, any investigation of e-learning in Canada must focus more on specific provincial initiatives in technologically enhanced learning rather than a Canadian overview. (p. 1)

Interest at the national level in e-learning was driven mainly through increasing concern over the development of Canada’s “education industry.” (p. 1)

There is considerable activity in e-learning in several provinces, while others have very little. (p. 2)

In fact, the majority of courses offered in Canadian universities now have at least some component of either World Wide Web content and/or require some communications using e-mail. (p. 2)

Despite these federal initiatives, the provinces maintained their independence and continued to act autonomously, if not at cross purposes. (p. 2)

Alberta is a Canadian leader in e-learning with Athabasca University, which is Canada’s only open university or single-mode distance delivery institution. (p. 3)

Significant trends in Canadian e-learning that should be watched include: (p. 4)

The development of common standards supporting the interoperability of learning resources in the form of learning objects; The implementation of technical standards and interoperability tools for instructional design and activities; The establishment of learning object repositories with content available in common interoperable formats using XML; The development and implementation of more robust and peoplefriendly learning management and content management systems; The development and implementation of social software providing students with electronic modes for connecting online socially; The continued rapid growth in “blended learning,” the use of e-learning in various forms in traditional universities; The growth in the use of open source applications, open course content, and open access research; (p. 4)

FuturE trEnds in E-LEarning in Canada (p. 4)

The continuing growth in the acceptance of “exchange” credits from other universities. Firstand second-year courses are already accepted by universities across Canada. • The growth in the acceptance of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) as more and more adults change career paths; • The growth in the use of mobile devices for learning, taking advantage of the interoperability of learning objects; • The growth in the use of games for learning, taking advantage of the technical and pedagogical opportunities made available by the video game consoles and applications; • The continued rapid growth of Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University on track to have more students than any other university in Canada (p. 5)