K-12 Online Learning in Canada

Michael Barbour of Sacred Heart University has released his sixth annual report on the state of online learning in Canada, and it’s worth a review to see what’s happening in online learning with our northern neighbor. From the executive summary:

“The practice of K –12 online and blended learning continues to growth (sic) across Canada, although that growth remains uneven. Additionally, in some instances an increase or decrease in the reported level of participation in K –12 distance education may simply be due to better tracking by the government of that jurisdiction. There also continues to be a lack of research and evaluation into what constitutes the effective design, delivery and support for K –12 online learning.”

Much of that description could apply equally to the United States.

Also similar to the U.S., federal government figures track distance education courses and not online courses. These numbers (distance education and online learning) are converging as online becomes the dominant proportion of distance education, but they are not exactly the same. The report notes that “During the 2011–12 school year there were 284,963 or 5.2% K –12 students enrolled in one or more distance education courses…an increase of approximately 40,000 students from the previous school year. British Columbia and Alberta continue to lead the country…”