The Canadian National Online and Digital Learning Survey aims to track the status and development of online, distance and digital learning in public post-secondary education across Canada.

Survey Updates

The 2018 National Online and Digital Learning Survey had an 80% response rate, with 187 institutions responding. To all Canadian post-secondary institutions, a big thanks for your active participation!

Data gathering for the 2018 National Online and Digital Learning Survey was undertaken in Summer 2018, with..

  1. an expanded roster of public post-secondary institutions, now including 234 institutions,
  2. a modified questionnaire with more detailed questions,
  3. refined definitions and enrolment questions.


Survey Leadership

The National Online and Digital Learning Survey is operated by the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (CDLRA)/ Association canadienne de recherche sur la formation en ligne (ACRFL), a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization. CDLRA/ACFRL receives funding from eCampusOntario, BCcampus, Contact North, Campus Manitoba, Quebec Ministry and private sector companies.

Dr. Tricia Donovan serves as the CDLRA/ACFRL Executive Director, and Dr. Tony Bates and Dr. Denis Mayer both serve as Directors of the Board.

All public survey data is open and hosted by OCAS, the centralized application service for Ontario’s public colleges, and shared service provider for organizations in the higher education sector.

 History of Survey

In the USA, the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG) and the Federal Department of Education have been surveying pot-secondary institutions and collecting data on online and distance learning for more than 10 years. These annual surveys have recorded rapid growth in online learning and identified and informed policies and directions being taken by U.S. universities and colleges. Institutional planners, state higher education officials and the media have made heavy use of the annual survey reports.

Until 2017, there had been no such tracking of online and distance learning in Canada.

Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Tony Bates and efforts of other Canadian independent researchers, who worked closely with researchers from the Babson Survey Research Group and the Western Co-operative for Educational Technology (WCET) the first Canadian National Survey of Online Learning and Distance Education was conducted in 2017. Invitations for participation were extended to 203 Canadian public post-secondary institutions and there was an excellent response rate to his first Canadian survey, providing evidence that online learning has been increasing at a rate of 10% -15% per annum, and two-thirds of Canada’s post-secondary institutions see online learning as very or extremely important to their future plans. The results of the first survey were publicly launched on 17 October, 2017 at the ICDE World Congress on Online Learning in Toronto.

Given the tremendous success of this first survey, a second survey was launched in June 2018, with a refreshed name to reflect a broader purpose. It is now the National Online and Digital Learning Survey.

The 2018 National Online and Digital Learning Survey Report is available here:

The 2018 Survey had an 80% response rate, with 187 institutions responding!

Sign up now and download the 2018 report.