“The natural solution is having access to education online.”
NAC makes use of a Remote Learner (now a Learning Pool company) designed solution to offer online access to the college’s 1,000 students. With this Digital Learning Environment (DLE), students in even the smallest communities can access training without the need to travel to a larger campus.
However, physical separation is just the most obvious challenge the college faces. The NAC also struggles with a lack of local digital literacy, thanks in part to the expense of shipping electronics to small communities. And, while the federal government has heavily subsidized satellite Internet in the territory, connectivity still lags behind the more populated areas of southern Canada. Nunavut also has the lowest adult literacy rate in Canada and online content in the native Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun languages is scanty, presenting an additional barrier to engagement.
“A significant number of our learners have not had the opportunity to develop digital literacy at a level that lets them engage with even a well-developed online course,” said Polito. “Even email can be a challenge.”
When Polito started working at the NAC the college’s DLE was functional, but previously developed courses had been shelved and there were no enrolled students. Updates were rare and attempts to improve the interface or user experience had fallen behind. Given the existing lack of digital literacy, this further complicated access issues for both students and instructors. Polito contacted Learning Pool for help in making the college’s DLE more accessible and intuitive. He worked with Remote Learner’s developers and designers to significantly update the site and content presentation.