About online learning

Online learning, also known as e-learning, offers secondary students an opportunity to take courses that are delivered entirely using the internet and do not require students to be physically present in the classroom. Students may be required to go into school to take a final exam or if they need to use the internet, devices and other school supports (for example, guidance, mental health and well-being supports).

This is different from remote learning where classes are taught virtually when in-person learning is not possible (for example, on snow days or during other interruptions or emergencies). Read our definition of remote learning.

Students in Grades 9 to 12 can use online courses to gain experience with online learning and help prepare for life after secondary school, where learning and working online is becoming the norm in many sectors.

Benefits for students

By expanding access to teacher-led online learning, students will have the opportunity to:

  • get credits in subjects they find interesting but that may not be available at their school
  • learn in engaging ways, such as through interactive features, simulations and collaboration with others across the province
  • gain important transferable skills, including digital literacy, to support lifelong learning and employment opportunities

Online learning graduation requirement

Beginning with students who entered Grade 9 in the 2020-21 school year, all students must earn at least two online learning credits as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), unless they have opted out or been exempted.

This online learning requirement also applies to adult learners entering the Ontario secondary school system starting in 2023-24 school year, unless they have opted out.

How to opt out

Parents who wish to opt out or exempt their child from the online graduation requirement must complete the opt-out form available from their child’s school board.

Exemption from the online learning graduation requirements can be requested by:

  • the parent or guardian of the secondary student
  • students who are 18 years of age or older
  • students who are 16 or 17 years of age and have withdrawn from parental control

Eligible credits

Students must take online learning courses at a school that is authorized to offer credits towards the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

How to get started

Contact your school for a full list of online courses available.

You can also explore courses on the online course preview site.

Resources for teachers

Educator resources, including student activities, videos and lesson plans, are available through Ontario’s Virtual Learning Environment.