The terminology around distance learning and online schooling has been refined over the years. At one time, learning from home through materials provided by the BC Ministry of Education was commonly referred to as schooling by correspondence. This pre-computer approach provided a paper- based learning model that was sent to the student, then to the teacher to be marked, and then returned to the student. While this approach allowed for an independent learning pace, the pace was sometimes slowed by the timing of the feedback.
With the introduction of computers and email, the correspondence reference became less relevant, and this schooling option was referred to as distance learning. Students still worked independently but the feedback for support and grade results became faster. As technology improved, more of the educational materials were made available online which added a new portability to education. The change also meant that the term “distance learning” was less applicable, and the new term of “distributed learning” was adapted as learning became less about distance and more about the availability to distributed materials. When this online learning model is combined with a classroom setting, it’s referred to as blended learning, as it includes some elements of a brick and mortar school with the versatility of distributed learning.
Much has changed, and it’s exciting to see how the 21st Century learning model continues to integrate educational standards, technology, mobility, and flexibility. By focusing on the educational goals, and finding methods of learning that incorporate technology, encourage flexibility, and allow for mobility, we are continuing to offer new options for online learning in BC. For those who want an alternative to traditional high schools, distributed learning is very customizable. For those who want to maintain some of the social aspects of public school, distributed learning can support that too.
Enrolling with Navigate offers an innovative approach to distributed learning in BC that allows for independent learning, social interaction, and the same standard of education and graduation that would be available in other BC high schools. Students can sign in to the D2L portal, (Desire to Learn) and access their course materials from any computer anywhere, any time. That means they can choose to learn from home and take on a full course load, or they can choose to cross enrol to take one or two courses online while still attending their regular BC high school.
For a more social learning experience, Navigate also offers blended learning options which combine classroom instruction with distributed learning online. For students in the Comox Valley, Navigate’s Matrix program offers high school students a classroom environment for independent study, with a qualified instructor available for support. In other schools on Vancouver Island, an ILC (Independent Learning Centre) is offered as a classroom space designated to independent learning. These arrangements support distributed learning students looking for an alternative to public high school. The options are there, and registrations for online courses can be done throughout the year. If you want to know more about distributed learning, please contact one of our Navigate Counsellors.