English Online: Manitoba's Adult EAL Learning Network (EOL)

English Online (EOL) serves the English-language learning needs of newcomers across Manitoba by linking learners with new and existing English as an Additional Language (EAL) learning resources and helping adult EAL institutions, service organizations, and community groups to develop effective online EAL services for adults. The program grew out of a need for access to EAL learning programs in all regions and communities in Manitoba. Online education was thus identified as a scalable and effective way to address learning challenges for those who cannot take advantage of existing programs due to access barriers, including rural Manitobans.

“I learned that I should ask the other person to repeat if I didn’t understand or hear what they said. I think I can use that information when I make a telephone call next time. I’ve also learned some polite ways to answer a telephone. I can’t wait to use this information in my real life."

Tingting, on the course "Using the Telephone Professionally"

Accessibility

EOL gives adult EAL learners in Manitoba access to high-quality learning materials and instructional support no matter where in Manitoba they reside. The mandate of EOL has recently been extended to include immigrants destined for Manitoba but who are still in their countries of origin. The online lessons and activities are designed to address learning challenges for those who may not be able to attend regular English classes in the pre- or post-arrival stage.

Newcomer Involvement

EOL learners have access to a facilitator via telephone, email, and Skype (voice-over-Internet-Protocol software) video conferencing. Learners participate in this programming as follows: They are first referred by central registration to EOL. Learners then develop a learning plan with a facilitator and proceed through EOL learning modules at their own pace. The facilitator augments modules with references to other relevant self-study exercises. Learners record self-study in a log and share with facilitator. When a module is complete, learners complete a reflection and give/receive feedback.

Stakeholder Collaboration

In addition to EOL’s core programming (individual students), EOL provides an e-learning platform for other Manitoba EAL service providers to manage their online courses and student interactions: University of Winnipeg, Manitoba Nurses’ Union, Diversity and Intercultural Training Program of Manitoba, and I-English. EOL refers learners to other Manitoba-relevant resources, such as Learning English with CBC Manitoba. EOL also partners with other settlement and EAL providers, such as the Immigrant Centre of Manitoba and Winnipeg School Division’s Adult EAL program, in order to ensure that programming meets the needs of learners.

Accountability

As per its funding agreement with Manitoba Labour and Immigration—MIIP, EOL is subject to reporting protocols which monitor both financial and program activities. It provides monthly activity reports which include the number of clients with whom e-facilitators are working directly, as well as the number of independent learners utilizing the website. Within the online platform, learners set language-learning goals and work with e-facilitators to meet them. As learners have constant access to the website, they provide ongoing feedback on modules and activities. EOL is governed by a Board of Directors and relies on an EAL Advisory Board for program direction.

Positive Outcome

EOL serves a key role in the coordinated adult EAL system in the Province of Manitoba. It provides learners who had previously had difficulty accessing English language instruction (e.g., stay-at-home mothers, shift workers) with a method of improving their language without attending traditional classrooms. The program also plays an important role during times of the year, such as the summer, when there are few programs operating. As one of the goals of EOL is the encouragement of self-directed learning, adult EAL learners are responsible for setting their own goals, in collaboration with an e-facilitator. As such, the learner monitors his/her progress constantly and provides feedback on the degree to which those goals have been achieved.

“Definitely my favourite website is www.myenglishonline.ca. I opted for time management lessons because it taught me how to organize and plan things ahead and have a good result. This also helped me not to mix up everything but just do one step at a time to achieve my goal."

Rizza on the course “My Campus/Assignments”

Transferability

Project flexibility has been demonstrated through the tailoring of the EOL platform for other MIIP-funded adult EAL service providers. As an online EAL service provider, EOL programming is designed to reach adult EAL learners throughout the Province of Manitoba, as well as Provincial Nominees still abroad. It is highly conceivable that other provincial/territorial jurisdictions could easily reproduce this online language learning model by adapting it to their particular circumstances.

Background

Service Providers
English Online Inc.
Funders
Manitoba Labour and Immigration – Manitoba Immigrant Integration Program (MIIP)
Scope
Provincial/Territorial
Locations
Across Manitoba and Abroad
Year of Launch
2008
Languages of Delivery
English
Newcomer Groups Served
Newly arrived and pre-arrival immigrants
Expected Results
Language/Skills (Newcomers have language/skills needed to function in Canada)
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