Target Areas for New Networks of Centres of Excellence

Technology-based Learning

A Network of Centres of Excellence in Technology-Based Learning would focus on the application of new and emerging information and communications technologies to education, training and management/skills development. The Network would also research the social impact, effectiveness and economics of such applications and work with potential users to apply the results of this research.


Learning opportunities in the home, the classroom and on the job are exploding as new technologies emerge. Educators and trainers are increasingly taking advantage of information and communications technologies for distance education, open learning and workplace training. This trend is being driven by two factors: the need for a more cost-effective and efficient learning system and the rapid development and convergence of information and communications technologies in networked systems.

Schools, homes, businesses, libraries, hospitals, universities, laboratories and government offices are gradually being linked by communication networks to the emerging electronic highway. Educational materials (courseware, electronic libraries) are being developed by local, regional and national interests. More and more interactive courseware is being produced, using integrated digital text, graphics. sound, animation and video (multimedia).

Canadians have much to gain socially and economically by applying this country's strength in communications, software development, educational broadcasting and multimedia technologies to enhance learning and capture market opportunities. As well as improving our skills and knowledge, we can take advantage of the potential for strong Canadian sales to domestic and international markets for technology-based educational and training products and services. The Canadian market for new media technologies is estimated to be $500 million/year. We underinvest in workplace training. but public and private sector expenditures in this area may reach $5 billion annually in the next few years, of which $150 million/year will be for technology-based training. The latter figure could translate into over

l,000 jobs in the advanced technology field, as well as into significant additional revenues from export sales. It is estimated that American companies supply up to 90 percent of the electronic course materials used in Canadian schools, while Canadian software, communications and multimedia companies export most of their products and services.

Issues and Research Themes

Canada's success in a knowledge-based economy depends on the knowledge and skills of its people, and therefore on training and education. Both employed and unemployed workers need training and retraining if they are to acquire and maintain the skills needed to function effectively in a highly competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace.

A new Network of Centres of Excellence would enhance and exploit the country's existing R&D in technology-based learning. Research should explore how people learn and how best to use new and emerging technologies to enhance the learning experience. Such a network would address key pedagogical and technological issues such as:


A network would involve collaboration among organizations and individuals such as the following:
NCE Page, LINCS Page, University of Calgary Page, KSI Page 1-Sep-94