Going the Distance: Equipping Rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the Abilities and Skills to Succeed in Online Learning


There are a number of challenges to provide literacy services to potential learners in rural Newfoundland and Labrador Communities who have low or limited writing and computer skills. This research project, funded through the NL Workforce Innovation Centre  will address the following problems and gaps:

  1. 60% of the population of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians live in a rural area.  These individuals have more difficulty accessing education than their urban counterparts. (Simms & Greenwood, 2017))
  2. Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest number of working aged people without a high school diploma at 15.7% compared to the national average of 11.5%. (Literacy and Institutional Services Division Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, 2018)
  3. To bring education to those living in rural areas we need to provide them with an effective online learning tool. A national survey of online education in Canada found that “of the 73 institutions that responded, 68 (93%) offer online and distance courses (Bates, 2016).

Primary Research Question

This research project aims to answer the question:  What are the barriers to online learning that exist for rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have limited writing and computer skills and how might these be overcome?

This applied research project aims to:

  • Enhance essential skills such as literacy and technological abilities.
  • Provide improved supports for those living in rural areas.
  • Bring one-to-one online tutoring to those who cannot currently access literacy training due to their geographic location.
  • Prepare individuals for online learning and ultimately jobs of the future.


Research led by The Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council inc.


Research to be conducted within communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.


February 2019 – February 2022

The NL Workforce Innovation Centre, established in 2017 by the Provincial Government, provides a coordinated, central point of access to engage government, career and employment service providers, and skills development stakeholders in the business, community and government sectors throughout the province.  The Centre’s goal is to support the research, testing and sharing of ideas and best practices around innovative models and approaches to workforce development that will positively impact employability, employment, entrepreneurship and individuals’ attachment to the workforce.  The Centre is administered by the College of the North Atlantic under the division of Partnerships, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Funding is provided by the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement.