Tracking the rise of digital learning

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Survey sponsored by eCampusOntario highlights benefits, barriers to online learning

Canadian universities, colleges and CEGEPs continue to embrace online learning as a key part of their educational delivery, according to a report co-sponsored by eCampusOntario.

Released by the Canadian Digital Learning and Research Association, the Tracking Online and Digital Learning in Canada survey was led by Dr. Tricia Donovan and Dr. Tony Bates, who both have extensive experience in the digital learning sphere.

The survey was conducted in the summer of 2018 and provides valuable insight into Canadian post-secondary institutions’ feelings about online learning, as well as the challenges they face when it comes to implementing it.

Some of the study’s key findings include:

  • An 80% response rate, representing 92% of all public post-secondary students in Canada.
  • The 2016/2017 year saw a 1.3-million increase in online course registrations
  • 1 in 5 students in Canada take at least 1 online course.
  • More than 2/3rds of Canadian post-secondary institutions offer online courses or programs.
  • The top benefits of online learning were reported as
    1. Increasing student access
    2. Growing or continuing professional education
    3. Attracting students outside traditional areas
  • The top barriers to online learning were reported as
    1. Additional faculty time required
    2. Inadequate training and support

For David Porter, eCampusOntario’s CEO, the study results signify a need to continue supporting faculty with the tools and skillset to embrace digital learning.

“The National survey underscores the expanding interest in online learning in Canada,” he says.

“For us to support this growth, we need to expand and innovate programs that support faculty. Our Ontario Extend program is aimed squarely at providing faculty with the digital fluency to confidently take their teaching online.”

You can view an infographic here, and the study’s full findings here.