English Online Inc.
AUDIENCE Settlement and health service providers
POPULATION OF INTEREST Immigrants and refugees
LOCATION Manitoba, Online
THE NEED Newcomers often experience barriers to accessing settlement services and information for successful integration, and are often isolated, both geographically and socially.
WHAT'S PROMISING English Online provides online settlement services that are accessible and free.
KEY TAKEAWAY Providing online settlement services and a space to connect with others, can reduce isolation, facilitate integration, and better the mental health of newcomers.
English Online Inc. (EO) is a not-for-profit organization that provides free and accessible online settlement services to Manitoban newcomers. Originally created to provide EAL/ESL options for rural Manitobans, we expanded our services through the Live & Learn program. Livelearn.ca is designed as an online community for newcomers in Manitoba to foster inclusion, especially since our target clients tend to be isolated, both geographically and socially. As studies have shown, newcomers who are socially isolated are far more susceptible to physical and mental health issues. As well, they may also be less aware of available supports. We are a viable option for those who face such barriers.
Our online services are informal, flexible, learner-directed, accessible and free. We are a good option for clients who are isolated due to access barriers, those who require information on settlement needs such as mental health, and those who need additional learning support. Aside from giving newcomers access to settlement information, we connect them to an online community where they can share their experiences, ask questions, or socialize virtually to ease their isolation.
We offer settlement orientation through open resources; live online activities including virtual coffee chats, drop-in workshops, language circles, and multi-week sessions; access to support from e-Volunteers and e-Facilitators; and EAL/ESL training. We continually focus on enriching online content as well as engagement through forums, chat sessions, one-on-one mentors/e-tutors, and guest speaker webinars. We rely on our partnerships with local agencies and other settlement provider organizations such as CAMH for information and expertise to provide services that are relevant, personalized and easily accessible.
English Online is the pioneer of online learning in Manitoba. For more than 10 years now, we have been building on our expertise on educational technology to provide our learning options. But more than this, we are about building human connection – leveraging technology to help make a real and tangible impact on newcomers’ lives. As the acceptance of online learning continues to grow, it is important for other service providers and organizations to recognize the ability of an online platform to reach newcomers who need immediate and easy-to-access settlement information, connection to essential services, as well as community engagement.
To learn how Manitoban newcomers are benefitting from the Live & Learn program, please read our Newcomer Stories.