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Distance Education Learning Online – The “New Normal”

By WENDY TERRY - September 22 2020

Learning outside of the classroom used to be considered an option, now it is to use today’s phrasing the “new normal.”

High School 

The Independent Learning Centre offers online credits courses for a high school diploma and used to be the only one that did. They are the exclusive provider of General Education Development testing, the GED, equivalent to a high school diploma. ILC is run from TVOntario 416-484-2704. 

Colleges and community programs offer GED prep programs. GED testing gets one a high school equivalency certificate is often offered through the Apprenticeship Programs at Colleges. 

But now all schools and colleges have been moving adult education online during COVID, as well as the education for children and youth education. 

The Independent Learning Centre is now just only one online option. 


Learn Ontario is a consortium of the 24 Ontario Community Colleges that have pooled their resources to increase online learning options. Learn Ontario was founded in 1995 and offered 75 courses. By 2014-2015 when Learning Curves Summer Issue 2016 did a story “Learning by Distance Education” there were 73,059 registrations and over 1,100 courses. In the 2018-2019 Annual report posted on the Learn Ontario website there were 80,278 registrations. Can you imagine how that number will sky rocket in their 2019-2020 report, the COVID era of online learning. 

At one time online distance education courses were listed in a separate part of the calendar, now on the institution’s website each course lists how it can be taken, in class, online, hybrid etc. Most were still in class but post COVID will most be online. Will in class courses be listed in a separate part of the calendar, the outliers as were online courses a couple of decades ago. 

You can take academic upgrading courses at colleges, community programs, adult schools. At schools they are often called Literacy Basic Skills or Essential Skills At colleges they are called ACE and you can do these online through the acedistancelearning website. The ACE Certificate is recognized as equivalent to the OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma), Just as passing the GED test at the Independent Learning Centre is equivalent to a high
school diploma. 

Pre COVID adults more often did
ACE courses in class now the “new normal”
is all online.


Canadian Virtual University 

In the Summer 2016 issue of Learning Curves, in an article titled “Learning by Distance Education” we referred our readers to the Canadian Virtual University site. CVU is (was) a group of nine universities that specialized in online distance education. Three years after we did the Summer 2016 issue CVU disbanded. 

The member institutions of CVU decided the time had come to end the consortium, It was formed in 2000. CVU noted in June 2019 the there was now a plethora of choices with more and more institutions offering online credit distance education. And one year later in 2020 in the COVID era all are online, the “new normal.”

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