Toronto: Online learning continues to grow in Canadian universities, colleges, and CEGEPs offering flexible access to post-secondary courses and programs throughout the country, according to a recent study shared today at the Online Learning 2018 conference in Toronto, Ontario. Increasing flexibility and access to post-secondary learning enables students to study from wherever, and integrate learning into their busy lives and workplace demands.

The second annual survey of online learning, was conducted in summer 2018 by the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. The survey team, led by Dr. Tricia Donovan, targeted over 200 public post-secondary institutions across Canada, and achieved a high response rate of 80% from all universities, colleges and CEGEPs. The research team worked closely with eCampusOntario, CICan, BCcampus, Contact North and eCampus Manitoba, who communicated the importance of this survey to Canadian universities and colleges.

Key findings include:

  • 82% of Canadian universities, colleges and CEGEPs now offer online courses and/or programs;
  • 68% of Canadian universities, colleges and CEGEPs identify online learning as very or extremely important to their future plans;
  • key benefits of online learning are increased student access and flexibility, attracting students beyond traditional service areas, and increasing student options for credential completion;
  • 78% of respondents view online learning outcomes as equivalent to face-to-face learning outcomes;
  • the reach of the 2018 survey represents 96% of the higher education student population in Canada.

This survey was initiated in 2017 by Dr. Tony Bates, a Canadian consultant and author of many books and articles on the adoption of online learning. The intention is to continue this survey as an annual process, offering national data to inform policy decisions by government, institutions, academic departments, and individual instructors, and to capture benefits for students.

The survey is supported by other partners, such as OCAS, Pearson Canada, and the Babson Survey Research Group and WCET in the USA. By gathering Canadian data in a regular and consistent form, this data is available for use in Canada, and for comparison with broader North American trends.

For more information, contact Dr. Tricia Donovan at