Sunday, 03 May 2020 22:43

Learning About Co-ops! From Articles to Academia, an Assortment of Co-op Learning Ideas for You

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Learning About Co-ops! From Articles to Academia, an Assortment of Co-op Learning Ideas for You Photo by flickr.comphotossfupamr

So you want to learn about co-operatives. What are the options? Where to start?

From introductory level co-op basics, to Masters’ degree programs, read on to learn about some Canadian (and a few international) opportunities for co-operative focused learning opportunities. There are two main approaches to learning – academic and non-academic learning. This blog post will give you some ideas about both types of learning. There is also self-guided learning, and event or course-based learning. I’ll share some examples of all these types of learning opportunities. There are lots of options out there, this blog post will offer a few ideas in each category.

Let’s start with non-academic learning opportunities.

If you’re based in Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Co-operative Association organizes events for co-operative leaders to learn more and to learn from each other. We organize an annual conference (next one will be October 14, 2020 – mark your calendar!! – and check here for more information). While COVID-19 is obviously having an impact on what in person events can take place, we are hopeful that our conference and other events will be able to take place in the coming months. If you’re based in another part of Canada, or beyond, check in with your region’s co-operative association, they likely have education events that are much closer to home.


For introductory learning, Co-operatives First offers an online, free Co-ops 101 course. Saskatchewan Co-operative Association offers tailored, in-person Co-ops 101 courses (for organizations and events, and we also have a Co-ops 101 webinar). 


For self-directed learning, there are lots of great options, such as:

Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

Democracy at Work Institute

University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Cooperatives

SCA’s What Is a Co-op?

SCA’s Co-operative Guides and Publications

Saint Mary’s University and the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives also occasionally host webinars – check their websites for upcoming and/or past webinars. Saint Mary's University also offers a webinar series, and a working paper series

Association of Co-operative Educators is holding a virtual institute this year in June. 


For another style of personal learning about co-operatives, here’s a few blogs that cover various co-operative topics:

The Power of Co-operation, by Ed Mayo (Secretary General of Co-operatives UK): 

Contemplating Co-ops: Creating Knowledge for a Better World, by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

Co-operatives First

The Co-operative College (UK)

There are also many blogs from individual co-operatives, but they tend to be focused on the business and topics of interest for a specific co-op’s members. The blogs listed above cover a wide range of co-operatives topics, stories, and concepts. Check out your favourite co-op’s website to see if they have a blog!


If you want to dig deeper into your co-operative learning, there are a few non-academic courses and executive education:

Co-opZone Courses

St. Mary’s University Executive Education


And if you want to go even deeper than that, there are several Masters’ and Certificate level academic and degree programs across Canada, such as:

Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives programs and individual courses

St. Mary’s University Co-operative Management Education

Cape Breton University MBA in Community Economic Development

University of Winnipeg Chair in Co-operatives courses

University of Victoria Master of Arts in Community Development

York University Business and Society Program



Co-operative College (UK)


And finally… For youth and teachers:

For teachers, we’ve developed several free teacher resource manuals for teaching youth about co-operatives at various places in the Saskatchewan curriculum.

And for youth - Co-op Camp!! Co-op Camp is ur favourite way for Saskatchewan youth to learn about co-operatives, while building teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.  

These education resources are just the beginning, there are other options for probably every level of learning, so ask around, search the internet, and I’m sure you’ll find the type of co-operative learning opportunity you’re looking for. Hopefully the resources mentioned in this blog will get you started!


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Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2020 14:47