Getting Online: The GO Project


Trends in Online Learning

Lifelong Learning

“We promote a positive attitude towards lifelong learning through online learning.”

(Getting Online research respondent from a college)

There is a growing realization of the importance of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is critical, whether Canadians are upgrading their skills to change jobs, or whether they have lost their jobs and need to gain new skills, or whether they engage in learning for personal, family, community, or volunteer reasons. And it is good news indeed that because of its unparalleled accessibility, online learning can play an effective role in supporting lifelong learning.

In its groundbreaking 2008 report entitled “State of Learning in Canada: Towards a Learning Future” the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) highlighted the extreme importance of lifelong learning. In this report, the CCL noted that “Lifelong learning is associated with a wide range of economic and non-economic benefits. It has the potential to maximize the talents and skills of individuals, and contribute to higher productivity, improved health, longer lives and a greater likelihood of community and civic engagement. Learning begets learning, which in turn enhances opportunities to achieve personal aspirations and societal goals.”

The CCL report further stated that while almost one-third of Canadians are involved in adult learning, as a nation, Canada lags behind other industrialized nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Finland in engaging in adult learning. The CCL highlights this as a serious issue of national economic concern for our country's future. (See:

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is the consortium of Canada's provincial and territorial Ministers of Education. To further underscore the importance of lifelong learning, CMEC has established Learn Canada 2020. The vision of Learn Canada 2020 is to provide quality lifelong learning opportunities for all Canadians. Please click here to see the Learn Canada 2020 declaration:

Due to its inherent accessibility, often lower participant costs and flexibility, online learning has an important role to play in increasing and supporting lifelong learning opportunities for Canadians.

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