You are here:

An Extended Systematic Review of Canadian Policy Documents on e-Learning: What We’re Doing and Not Doing

, , Concordia University ; , Canadian Council on Learning ; , , Concordia University ; , Hamdan Bin Mohammad e-University ; , Concordia University ; , Coreidea Innovation Inc. ; , , Concordia University

CJLT Volume 37, Number 3, ISSN 1499-6677 e-ISSN 1499-6677 Publisher: Canadian Network for Innovation in Education


This systematic review builds upon the work of Authors (2006) and McGreal and Anderson (2007). It seeks to provide a synthesis and discussion of publicly available government policy documents with regard to e-learning in Canada. There is general consensus, both in public opinion and in the research literature, that the educational practices associated with rapidly advancing computer information technologies are gaining popularity and are expected to be increasingly effective in enhancing learning. The purpose of this review is to uncover and describe areas of commonality and inconsistency in e-learning policy documents dated from 2000 to 2010, and to determine where discussions about e-learning are lacking. In total, 138 policy documents from Canadian provinces and territories and several federal agencies were retrieved and analyzed using prescriptive and emergent coding approaches. The review confirmed that Canadian policy makers view technology as offering potential benefits to learners, but also revealed a troubling lack of specific details, consistency and coordination in facilitating the development of e-learning to fulfill these optimistic expectations.


Borokhovski, E., Bernard, R., Mills, E., Abrami, P., Wade, C., Tamim, R., Bethel, E., Lowerison, G., Pickup, D., Surkes, M. & Surkes, M. (2011). An Extended Systematic Review of Canadian Policy Documents on e-Learning: What We’re Doing and Not Doing. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie, 37(3),. Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. Retrieved March 25, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Abrami, P.C., Bernard, R.M. & Wade, C.A (2006). Affecting policy and practice: Issues involved in developing an argument catalogue. Evidence& Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 2(4), 417-437.
  2. Abrami, P.C., Bernard, R.M., Wade, C.A., Schmid, R.F., Borokhovski, E., Tamim, R., Surkes, M., Lowerison, G., Zhang, D., Nicolaidou, I., Newman, S., Wozney, L., & Peretiatkowicz, A. (2006). A review of e-learning in Canada: A rough sketch of the evidence, gaps and promising directions. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. 32(3), 1-78.
  3. Abrami, P.C., Borokhovski, E., Bernard, R.M., Wade, C.A., Tamim, R., Persson, T., Bethel, E.C., Hanz, K., & Surkes, M.A. (2010). Issues in conducting and disseminating brief reviews. Evidence and Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 6(3), 371-389.
  4. Bethel, E.C., & Bernard, R.M. (2010). Developments and trends in synthesizing diverse forms of evidence: Beyond comparisons between distance education and classroom instruction. Distance Education, 31(3), 231-256. Doi:10.1080/01587919.2010.513950
  5. Canadian Council on Learning (2009). State of e-learning in Canada. Retrieved from
  6. Cook, D.A., Levinson, A.J., Garside, S., Dupras, D.M., Erwin, P.J., & Montori, V.M. (2008). Internet-based learning in the health professions: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300, 1181-1196.
  7. Cresswell, J. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle Road, NJ: Pearson Education.
  8. McGreal, R., & Anderson, T. (2007). E-learning in Canada. International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 5(1), 1-6.
  9. Oliver, M., & Conole, G. (2003). Evidence-based practice and e-learning in higher education: Can we and should we? Research Papers in Education, 18(4), 385-397.
  10. Schmid, R.F., Bernard, R.M., Borokhovski, E., Tamim, R., Abrami, P.C., Wade, C.A., Surkes, M.A., & Lowerison, G. (2009). Technology’s effect on achievement in higher education: A Stage I meta-analysis of classroom applications. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 21(2), 95-109.
  11. Sitzmann, T., Kraiger, K., Stewart, D., & Wisher, R. (2006). The comparative effectiveness of web-based and classroom instruction: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 59, 623-664.
  12. Suri, H. & Clark, D. (2009). Advancements in research synthesis methods: From a methodologically inclusive perspective. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 395-430.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact