Johnson. N. Evolving Definitions in Digital Learning: A National Framework for Categorizing Commonly Used Terms. Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. Association canadienne de recherche sur la formation en ligne. 2021.
The CDLRA has conducted national-level surveys related to online and digital learning since 2017. This report uses earlier research and the findings of the 2021 National Survey for Online and Digital Learning as a springboard to address inconsistencies and contradictions both within and between Canadian post-secondary institutions in the use of definitions for terms that fall under the umbrella “Digital learning”. Because there is strong indication that COVID-19’s aftermath will increase the demand for online and hybrid learning and flexibility in course offering delivery it will be important to know what an institution means when they use terms like online, hybrid, distance, and in-person learning. Another benefit of using common terms and definitions to describe courses is that as information is gathered about the evolution of digital learning in Canada everyone understands what is being described.
The report introduces a broad framework called The Modes of Learning Spectrum. It distinguishes first between distance learning and in-person learning, with a dividing line between these two for hybrid or blended learning.
The author goes on to provide definitions of the wide range of learning experiences that fall within these categories. They recognize the importance of capturing the variety of teaching approaches and pedagogical strategies that institutions are already using and also that a framework needs to be easy for them to adopt.