Important Canadian study on online learning reveals colleges as leading providers

Thursday, 26 July 2012
Canadian study into online learning

A recent article in Contact North reports on the main outcomes of a key Canadian study into online learning.  It showed that Ontario had over 20,000 online courses available from its colleges and universities and that these generated some 485,619 registrations, making Ontario Canada’s leader in online learning. The data also revealed that colleges lead universities in the proportion of their courses available online (23% versus 7%), indicating what the opportunities are for expanding the sector’s online learning provision. Colleges also lead in terms of the number of programs with 20% of college programs available online compared to 6% of university programs.

This study took place in the 2009-2010 academic year when Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) asked all of its post-secondary institutions to collect statistics on the registration of students in online courses. 

Other headline revealations include: Synchronous online learning was the most frequently used format – colleges offered more than 85% of their online offerings in this mode of delivery. Most interestingly, 41% of all courses offered online in Ontario were developed and delivered by colleges in Northern Ontario. Completion rates are also very positive. The median for colleges was 76.1% (range 70-79%) and for universities 89% (range 85-95%).

Reacting to these data, Dr. Tony Bates (one of Canada’s leading figures for online learning analysis and research) suggested that MTCU should be “congratulated for undertaking a comprehensive survey of online offerings in its post-secondary institutions.”

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