The advancement of technology has found its application in many fields; from war and weapons, to home appliances and even to the simplest of things that make life easier for us.
One of the major benefits of information technology in the 21st century is the introduction of various e-learning platforms.
This therefore, has been adopted in various educational popularly known as Virtual Learning Schools or schools for online learning.
What is Virtual Learning?
Virtual learning, or e-learning is the delivery of a structured course content from a tutor to a student electronically; usually over the internet. It is the ability of a student to access learning resources remotely, without having to be physically present to make use of them.
As it is with a lot of other top countries in the world, education in Canada has taken a technological turn; recently sped-up by the coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 lockdown. This has helped bring to light, the usefulness of virtual learning schools in Canada, and the programs they offer.
In this article, we list out for you, the top 7 accredited virtual learning schools in Canada. Before that however, let us understand what you stand to gain by entering one of such programmes in the Great White North.
Why Study in Virtual Learning Schools in Canada?
There are multiple reasons for want to desire studying in virtual learning schools in Canada. Considering the numerous advantages that come into play here, it is no surprise just how many international students vie for this opportunity.
Here are some of the things you stand to gain from studying online in one of Canada’s virtual learning schools.
#1. Gain a Canada Schooling Certificate
Canada is one of the biggest hosts to international students in the world, owing to their remarkable standard of learning. Getting a Canadian University certificate holds as much repute as getting one in the United States or any of the other countries in the Commonwealth.
Graduating accredited virtual learning programme in Canada gives you as much privilege, and holds the same worth as one who enrolled and graduated from the physical programme. Hence, you get as much value as the guy who travelled to Canada for study purposes.
#2. School-Life Balance
Enrolling in a virtual learning school in Canada gives you greater flexibility. Though you may not have absolute freedom to learn at your own pace, your classes will mostly be recorded, allowing you to revisit them when your daily schedule allows.
Therefore, it becomes easier to balance work, social, and academic life. However, this sort of balance will require a level of discipline to carry out.
#3. Unrestricted Distance Learning
Whether you’re in your home country where you registered from, or you’ve had to travel somewhere else in the world, all you will require to access your course and learning materials will be an internet connection.
This allows for flexibility and distance learning. Enrolling in a virtual learning school in Canada allows you to study from anywhere around the world.
#4. Lower Cost of Learning
This perhaps, could be the most enticing of the advantages for many. Virtual schooling in Canada involves significantly lower expenses. This is mostly because besides the tuition being lower than that of physical students, those who study in Canada online will not have to;
- Pay for accommodation.
- Get international passports if they don’t already have one.
- Pay for flight tickets.
- Change their standards of living; especially those coming from third world countries, etc.
Hence, the absence of some of these basic costs will greatly reduce the cost of being a Canadian student.
List of Virtual Learning Schools in Canada
In no particular order, here are some of the most prominent virtual learning schools in Canada.
#1. Athabasca University
Popularly known as Canada’s online University, and with over 50 undergraduate and graduate programmes available, Athabasca University is one of the pace-setters of virtual learning schools in Canada. This school has various campuses in Alberta, Canada, but also has a very strong online platform to support distance learning.
Athabasca University was the first university to have an executive MBA programme. Ever since, it has moved to provide top notch online learning facilities for students all over the world with its cloud-based environment; one that provides collaboration facilities for various online students as well. Hence, the online students do not necessarily lack community.
#2. University of Manitoba
The University of Manitoba is one of the forerunners of online learning in Canada as well. Like Athabasca University, they also provide both online and physical learning facilities for students. Therefore, students can choose whether to participate from within or inside Canada.
The University has its campuses located in Winnipeg, Manitoba district, Canada. The bulk of the students here are physical students. However, that doesn’t stop them from having a whooping 140+ online courses for virtual learning students.
#3. Thompson Rivers University
Since 1970, Thompson Rivers University has been committed to making bringing the best out of students. Once that started to involve online learning, they proved up to the task. They provide the necessary learning materials for those who choose to be virtual instead of physical students.
Anybody can apply for Thompson Rivers University’s online programmes provided they meet the requirements stated in the school’s website.
#4. Laurentian University
Like most of the others, Laurentian University offers both physical and online learning facilities. However, they have certain features about them that makes them stand out. Besides offering standard online lessons and learning materials in over 500 courses, they go further. This university has a platform called RACER, where students can order physical learning materials in the event, they are not available online.
To add to their success, they were less than 10 years ago, declared a bilingual university (i.e., French and English). Laurentian University is located in the district of Ontario, and is one of Canada’s leading experts in online learning.
#5. Memorial University Canada
Memorial University Canada is located in Newfoundland and Labrador. Its primary focus is to provide education for those who have suffered as a result of military conflicts, collateral damage, etc. They provide about 450+ course materials for online learning, while also carrying their physical studies. The choice is yours.
#6. University of New Brunswick
By enrolling in the virtual learning programmes of the University of New Brunswick, you gain the flexibility you need to actively combine your education with whatever else you need. The school has brick and mortar campuses in St. John, New Brunswick province, but also provides the facilities necessary to support online learning. Therefore, if interested, you should access their online portal and find out if you meet the requirements for Virtual Leaning in UNB, Canada.
#7. Royal Roads University
Royal Roads University is also one of the leading experts in online learning in Canada. The physical campus is located in British Colombia, Canada. However, they provide various undergraduate and post-graduate programmes of study as well.
Available Programs for Virtual Learning Schools in Canada
A very prominent question in the minds of those who wish to apply for virtual learning schools in Canada is what sort of programme they will be eligible to apply for. It is not uncommon for online students to ponder on such questions.
Like the regular physical programmes, online learning in Canada offers four major degrees; Associate degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctorate degree. In addition to these, a few schools also offer MBA degrees. However, we’ll focus on these four for the sake of this article.
An associate degree in Canada is aimed at teaching it’s participants the basic, technical knowledge required by their field. It typically lasts two years; the major fields here are sciences and arts, hence at the end, the successful candidates are bestowed the “Associate of Science” or “Associate of Arts” degree.
This sort of degree does not hold as much prestige as the rest, but still means something in the labour market.
The Bachelor’s degree; commonly referred to as one’s “first degree”, is the most basic degree in institutions of higher learning. It typically lasts three to five years in Canada, depending on the course of study and institution of learning.
Similar to Associate Degree, graduates of Bachelor’s degree usually receive the “Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)”, “Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)”, “Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)” awards, etc.
This is the most common attraction for international students; both physical and virtual. After people are done with their Bachelor’s degree, a lot of them want to go further into what they study; gain deeper knowledge and add an academic honour to their name. A master’s degree helps you achieve these.
Most times, because these said graduates now fend for themselves, they cannot afford to stop work and focus entire on schooling; hence the need for online learning. The master’s degree is therefore, one of the most sought-after programmes in virtual learning schools in Canada. Successful candidates here are awarded honours like Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Arts (M.A.), etc. This degree lasts about a year or two in Canada, therefore you need not worry about spending too much time on it.
Doctorate Degree (PhD)
A doctorate degree is one of the highest academic honours to obtain in particular field, from an institution of higher learning. Here, one gets to delve even deeper into a field, conduct research, write papers, and show significant mastery over a field. Luckily, it is one of the degrees available for virtual learning schools in Canada.
Most PhDs last four to six years in Canadian Universities, depending on the school and the course of study.
Admission Requirements for Virtual Learning Schools in Canada
The requirements for admission into a virtual learning school in Canada depends majorly on two things;
- The said institution
- The intended programme of study.
Hence, before applying for a virtual learning programme, it’s important you check the online learning website of the school to be sure you meet their requirements. However, the most common requirement between all these institutions include;
- Proficiency in English Language or French
- Possession of the minimum certificate obtainable before the one you intend to apply for. For instance, before applying for Master’s or Doctorate degree, you must first have a Bachelor’s degree at the very least.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Work as a Virtual Learning Student in Canada?
Yes. As a student enrolled in an accredited virtual learning school in Canada, you are allowed a level of flexibility. You are allowed to work wherever you are, provided you meet your course and assignment deadlines. Therefore, you will have to plan your time properly.
Are there Scholarships Available for Students in Virtual Learning Schools in Canada?
Yes, there are. In order to ease the financial burden on students, scholarships are made available. There aren’t as many scholarships for students in virtual learning schools in Canada as there are for their physical student counterparts. However, here are some of those you might want to check out;
- Canada-CARICOM Virtual University Scholarship Program (For students in CARICOM Countries)
- Canon Canada-IKON Office Solutions MDE Scholarship
- Dan Coldeway Memorial Award
- Tim Byrne Memorial Scholarships, etc.
Are Online School Certificates Valid in Canada?
Yes. The certificates you get as a virtual learning student in Canada are just as valid as those your classroom-based counterpart will get.