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Getting Online: Distance Education Promising Practices for Canadian Literacy Practitioners

This resource reports the findings from the Getting Online: Distance Education Promising Practices for Canadian Literacy Practitioners(the GO Project). 
Author(s): 
L. Best
D. Morgan
D. Twiss
J. Kaattari
P. Fahy
V. Trottier
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Athabasca University
Canada’s Open University
National Office of Literacy and Learning
Published: 
2008
Resource Type: 
Research
Number of Pages: 
210
Abstract: 

This resource reports the findings from the Getting Online: Distance Education Promising Practices for Canadian Literacy Practitioners(the GO Project).  The GO Project was a two-year national project designed to research trends, technologies, and promising practicesin online and distance learning taking place in and outside of the literacy field in Canada.  Researchers found that practitioners utilized a variety of technologies and methods of delivery for training and informing professional development activities. However, there is a gap between the potential of current technologies and the comfort level and knowledge of practitioners.  Therefore, researchers note that there is a need for additional training to support learning in the field so that capacity of technology, as a learning and teaching tool, can be realized.  Furthermore, the literature review identified a lack of information on how the learning and professional development needs of practitioners are being met via online or distance learning tools.

Theproject included developing a Promising Practices manual, an online course, andself-directed training modules based on the findings from this project.  All materials are available on the GO website.  PLEASE NOTE:These other resources have not been reviewed by LINCS experts.

What the Experts Say: 

This report is a comprehensive examination of online learning. It relies on recent research and surveys of online learning practices of both literacy and non-literacy organizations.  It gives an in-depth view of the “distance learning landscape” in Canada; yet, provides insight and guidance for anyone who wants to understand the range of issues involved in teaching and setting up an online course. Along with the tips for teaching that can be gathered, practitioners will particularly appreciate reading the pros and cons of approaches attempted by a variety of organizations. Furthermore, it is interesting to note the similarity of research findings across the three arenas of data collection. This report provides a clear picture of the opportunities and challenges in using online learning technologies to provide training and support to adult literacy practitioners.

Methods the resource used to collect and analyze the data for the research: Surveys containing closed- and open-ended questions, key informant interviews, telephone interviews, online learning website analysis (analyzed content, use of technology, objectives, and demographics of different websites), focus groups, literature review.

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