Ottawa, December 9, 2021—For distance learning to be a truly viable option beyond emergency education, it needs to engage and empower students while overcoming the challenges of equitable access, social isolation among students, and uneven technological competencies of educators.
This third ICTC edtech report, Uncharted Waters: A World-Class Canadian E-Learning Paradigm, builds on previous research into distance learning in Canada. It elaborates on the opportunities and challenges while providing a planning framework for the long-term adoption of distance learning practices throughout the education system.
The study is informed by primary research consisting of interviews with education subject matter experts from across Canada and a survey of 1063 Canadian students and parents. While previous ICTC edtech reports discuss the need for educator training and competencies, this research finds technological competence, professional development, educator and parental support, and infrastructure readiness to be among the most significant predictors of success in both emergency and ongoing distance learning scenarios.
Virtually all students surveyed (96%) noted the importance of peer-to-peer interaction and the impact of greater isolation on academic performance during COVID-19 measures. The report addresses some of those issues and highlights the importance of pedagogies designed to compliment distance learning as well as the technology competencies recommended for students at various cognitive and social development levels.
The report also looks at the experience of Black Canadians, Indigenous youth, and people with disabilities, who are disproportionately impacted by current distance learning challenges. For Canadian K–12 and post-secondary online education to move forward, equitable and inclusive strategies must be considered.
”As edtech continues to inspire new learning pathways in an increasingly contact-free economy, enabling greater access and engaging learning experiences for all Canadians will be critical in tomorrow’s economy,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.
The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.
To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.
A copy of the study can be accessed here.
A French language press release of this report is here.