“It's not an option to not do online training today. People go to the web for information; they don't go to the library.”
(Getting Online research respondent from a not-for-profit organization)
All indicators point to a positive future for online learning. Some of the key trends for online learning are:
- Online learning is growing because of increased demand, high accessibility, lower participant costs, high flexibility and other factors.
- Technology is continuously evolving and is providing new and effective methods for online learning and collaboration.
- There is an overall attitude shift and increased comfort with online learning and technology.
- Online instructors and content developers need more training to support the development of dynamic, interactive, relevant, and content and multi-media-rich online learning opportunities.
- Lifelong learning is a critical social and economic activity and it can be effectively supported by online learning.
- There is a growing need to share information and resources on promising practices in online learning.
Each of these factors will be explored and expanded upon throughout this training module.
In many places in this module we refer to research conducted by the Getting Online Project. The GO project conducted research into promising practices, trends, and technologies in online learning in the Canadian literacy community. Surveys were received from 105 literacy practitioners across Canada and key informant interviews were held with 24 practitioners. In addition, the GO project conducted research into promising practices, trends, and technologies in online learning in diverse sectors external to the literacy community, including universities, colleges, school boards and not-for-profit organizations. For the external research, we analysed the websites of 100 relevant organizations from all provinces and territories. As well, 40 surveys were received from these external organizations and key informant interviews were held with 17 organizations.
These research results are available in a report called “A Research Report on Online Learning for Canadian Literacy Practitioners”. This report is on the GO website at www.nald.ca/gettingonline/ under “GO Resources”.