LEARN serves as an online
resource for anglophone students
At some point in your life, you’ve burned the midnight oil over a math problem or stared hard at a blinking cursor with no idea how to begin the essay you’re trying to write.
While abundant resources such as private tutors, review books, and teacher availability exist for students struggling with subjects or specific concepts,
not everyone has access to those options and it’s hard to gauge their effectiveness.
Enter LEARN — the Leading English Education and Resources Network.
Created 12 years ago and aligned with Quebec’s educational curriculum, the nonprofit organization offers students with English schooling eligibility a wealth of free resources and educational services for lifelong learning and academic success.
LEARN’s 30plus professionals hail from a variety of backgrounds, including curriculum development, instructional engineers, and many Quebec certified teachers. Simply put, said CEO Michael Canuel, “we help people learn.”
Funded by a minoritylanguage entente between Ottawa and Quebec City, LEARN is perhaps best known for elearning, offering online tutorials and virtual classrooms, and it’s all just a mouseclick away. “It’s sort of like a chat — like Skype or Google Hangouts or other communication platforms young people are already familiar with, but with many more features,” Canuel said.
Students from Grades 2 to 11 need merely set up an appointment online for a weeknight session to interact with a live teacher, marketing and communications coordinator Carolina Toteda explained. “It could be to understand a particular subject or concepts, or get help with writing difficulties.”
Brenda Rolfe heard about LEARN through her daughter’s private school, but opted instead for professional tutoring services — with unsatisfactory results. She turned to LEARN in a lastditch effort to help her son, who was struggling with creative and response writing.
“Initially, our son was quiet and not volunteering any verbal cues to his writer’s block or what he wanted to accomplish,” Rolfe said. “The tutor (at LEARN) immediately switched tactics — started asking enough questions to find common ground with a book he enjoyed.
“... She started putting up on the whiteboard our son’s thoughts and comments in a format that allowed him to begin an outline of a character development. In the first session, our son went from producing an agonizing output of three short sentences that were well below grade level, to writing several informative and descriptive sentences about his favourite character.”
Firsttime users are encouraged to have their parents stay during the tutorial and see what the child is doing, especially for the younger ones. All that’s needed is an internet connection, earphones and a working microphone.
LEARN’s online pedagogy model garners kudos worldwide but, more important, Quebec anglophones have an invaluable resource for exam prep, writing bibliographies, understanding complex formulas or working through math problems.
In any given week, LEARN’s Laval training rooms are full of teachers from throughout Quebec; they regularly receive valuable training in curriculum, best practices, learning tools and more.
A perfect example is Quebec’s new history program. “There’s concern that it lacks information and attention to subjects like indigenous communities,” Canuel said. “The curriculum is wide open for teachers, but where do they find material or resources? We help fill in that gap.”
Working with community partners, including many private schools, LEARN helps foster student success by catering to specific school needs. It’s especially appreciated by families whose tuition costs make pricey tutorials prohibitive, while private schools increasingly send students to LEARN’s online tutorials to supplement and complement inclass learning.
Rolfe is a believer. “The oneonone attention made all the difference. Teachers immediately recognized the improvement in our son’s output in the classroom environment,” she said, calling LEARN a “wellkept secret that more families should try.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of LEARN.