Online filing according to Covid-19: a prediction, part 1 Canada Education


I really enjoyed participating in Tom Farrelly’s “GastaGoesGlobal” yesterday. This was an online presentation for several people in Irish Gasta style, where each moderator had only five minutes. Participants counted down in Gaelic 5-4-3-2-1 to present and end each presentation. The topic was Covid-19 and the future of online learning, and zoom and YouTube streaming were used. The full picture can be found at My presentation comes about 55 minutes after the start of the recording and I was about the only one who ran out of time, but all other presentations are worth seeing.

Make predictions

There is probably nothing stupid than trying to predict the future, except maybe trying to quantify it, but because the Gasta was primarily a crazy Irish idea, I decided to try anyway. I tried to formulate some numbers about how online learning and blended / hybrid learning are likely to change after Covid-19.

These predictions are based on the results of the last three annual CDLRA surveys on online learning in post-secondary Canadian education. So they are probably only applicable to Canada in any case, but I must also say that these are personal projections and are not endorsed by the CDLRA. They also represent the past, which, as is well known, is not a good basis for future forecasts, three years is not a good basis for identifying longer-term trends, and the data collected have all possible limitations. So is my back covered enough? Probably not.

However, I believe that my predictions are justified, and in particular they have a significant political impact on the institutions if someone believes my conclusions to be credible.

Where we are today

Fully online (remote) registrations

Before Covid-19, approximately 10 percent of all course enrollments in Canadian university and college-level credit programs were fully online, and online enrollments had increased overall by about 10 percent a year, although there were significant differences between provinces (CDLRA, 2017 , 2018, 2019). Without Covid-19, we could have expected growth to continue slowly but steadily over the next few years.

Blended / hybrid learning

It is more difficult to track the extent of hybrid learning, defined as a certain reduction in classroom instruction to integrate more online or digital learning. This is really something that requires a faculty survey, as in the past this was more of a teacher-driven decision. However, in the annual CDLRA surveys, institutions were asked to estimate the extent of hybrid learning.

In 2017, 78% of institutes indicated that less than 10% of the courses were conducted in blended / hybrid mode. In 2018, 76% of the 151 institutes that answered this question said they offer something In courses with a blended / hybrid delivery method, 40% reported an increase over the previous year and 49% expected a further increase in blended / hybrid learning the following year. Although the estimates are vague, we again see a tendency for blended / hybrid learning to increase from year to year.

The effects of Covid-19

We all know that, don’t we? The hell broke loose, the campuses were closed in the middle of a semester and suddenly everyone tried to switch to “emergency distance learning”. Many commentators have argued that this is not the same as online learning, although online learning in terms of teaching on the Internet is certainly an important component.

We can be sure that many trainers who have never been involved in online learning before have completed a crash course on the transition to “emergency distance learning”. Some may have experienced it as a disaster, others may have accepted a duck to the water, but in most cases some things worked and others did not. Even so, a much larger proportion of instructors will have been exposed to online learning in one form or another, and this in itself is likely to be an important barrier that has been crossed for many faculties.

Enrollments according to Covid-19

Let’s get down to business. Here are my predictions in the following graphic:

Fully online

You can see that online learning will grow by around 10% annually by 2020. Over the next few years, Covid-19 will see a slightly accelerated increase, which will return to slower growth in 2025. It will likely continue to grow slightly beyond 2030, primarily due to lifelong learning and immigration, where people in the workforce and with families in an increasingly automated world increasingly need skills and qualifications. In the meantime, enrollments on campus are likely to decrease as fewer students come from high school due to the population. For some institutions, full online learning is important to maintain enrollment.

Mixed / hybrid

With blended / hybrid learning, however, we will see the big surge. As instructors become familiar with online and digital learning through distance learning, they will begin to integrate it more and more into their regular classes. You will gradually learn what is best in class and what is best done online without external intervention. In particular, the step towards more competence development will lead the trainers to use digital tools such as serious games, VR and online practice more.

In addition, we know from the CDLRA surveys that more than half of all Canadian institutions have implemented or developed a strategic e-learning plan. This will also continue to support and encourage the faculty to engage in some form of online learning.

As a result, I see a big jump in 2021 and 2022, which will slow down a little later, but will still grow rapidly until a plateau of about 70-75% of all course enrollments is in blended / hybrid classes. The rest of the classes continue to be mainly taught on campus for various reasons.

Political implications

I see this rapid growth, especially in the area of ​​blended / hybrid learning, as serious political implications for institutions that I will discuss tomorrow in the next post.

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