The CANARIE discussion paper (2002), An E-Learning Vision: Towards a Pan-Canadian Strategy and Action Plan, recognizes human capital is essential in a competitive knowledge-based society, and must be supplied by well-educated and highly skilled people. However, there is a pressure of a retiring population. They state Canada’s educational system cannot meet the labour demands in the coming decades. However, e-learning initiatives might be a solution to people who cannot attend formal education due to location, time or disability. It can also help universities overcome challenges such as increased enrolment and staff shortages without losing their autonomy. They also need to continue research on effective e-learning delivery.
An e-learning society is one that has anytime, anywhere learning through networks that offer share high quality resources. Canada is a leader in the use of information and communications technologies and is one of the most Internet-connected countries with expanding broadband access to rural and remote communities. Also, an “a rapidly, vibrant e-learning industrial sector has started to emerge as entrepreneurial firms develop multimedia content for clientele ranging from large corporations to educational institutions, from local to foreign customers” (p.11).
Postsecondary institutions are collaborating with other institutions to increase accessibility to education and resources such as online courses, credit transfers, common registration and assessing prior learning. Online courses are offered by more than half postsecondary institutions.
Therefore, there is a need for a shared technical framework and standards to help organizations continue the implementation of e-learning, and help citizens connect to the Internet. This also includes digitizing the wealth of content already in existence. The provincial government can help implement at the operational level and support curriculum and content development, standards and funding. The federal government can support the development of infrastructures and the e-learning private sector. They can also provide research grants, and attend to legal aspects such as copyright and protection of intellectual property.