FuturEd Inc.
Feature Services

For Immediate Release

Now Available: Consumers Guide to E-learning

Ottawa, On. June 3, 2002: For the first time in Canada, distance learners who purchase online courses now have a tool to help them evaluate the programs’ effectiveness in advance. A Consumer’s Guide to E-learning, which is available free on CD or on the web in both English and French, was unveiled today by national and community educators at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre.

Dr. Kathryn Barker, the president of FuturEd Inc. and developer of the Canadian Recommended E-learning Guidelines (CanREGs), says this unique Canadian product is the result of two years of extensive research and national consultation. The CanREGs were prepared for the Canadian Association of Community Education (CACE), and the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) of Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

“Both providers and consumers of distance learning want education and training products that are effective and efficient,” says Barker, one of Canada’s frontrunners in e-learning development. “With over 5,000 students in Canada now enrolled in virtual schools or distance education, it’s imperative that course designers as well as end users have full confidence in the quality of each program.”

Consumers of e-learning products and services can use the consumer’s guide to make informed choices. Students who’ve used the guide say it may be a lot of work and they don’t feel the need to use all the quality criteria, but they are really glad that the guide is comprehensive. They tailor the guide to their own needs.

Public and private sector e-educators and e-trainers can use the CanREGs to design and deliver e-learning that meets consumer’s expectations. Virtual secondary schools have used the CanREGS to see how they compare to conventional schools.

The national organizations in the project are concerned about quality and competition. FuturEd uses the CanREGs to audit the quality of Canadian e-learning products and services for the national and international marketplace, awarding the E-Quality Check mark for compliance with the standards.

The guidelines are recommended by the following national and international agencies:

Canadian Association for Community Education
Alberta Online Consortium
Canadian Association for Distance Education
Association for Media and Technology in Education in Canada

Commonwealth of Learning
Licef, TeleUniversite
Office of Learning Technologies, HRDC
CanLearn Interactive, HRDC
SchoolNet, Industry Canada

The Consumer’s Guide to E-learning is available on all of the following websites:

AMTEC http://www.amtec.ca/
AOC http://www.albertaonline.ab.ca/
CACE http://www.nald.ca/cacenet.htm
CADE http://www.cade-aced.ca/
CanLearn http://www.canlearn.ca/
COL http://www.col.org/
FuturEd http://www.futured.com/
OLT http://olt-bta.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/
SchoolNet http://www.schoolnet.ca/

For more information, contact:
Dr. Kathryn Barker, FuturEd
604-323-4992 or 250-539-2139

Released by:
Pauline Buck APR,
Public Relations Consultant
Ottawa contact:
Sandy Rankin,
GPC International
613-238-2090 local 351