Lessons for K-12 from Online Higher Ed.

Seal of the United States Department of Education

In a new report entitled “Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity,” analysts from the US Department of Education and SRI International have reviewed research about online learning programs in higher education in order to glean strategies, recommendations, and guidance for those interested in using similar programs at the secondary level.

…the report provides analytic tools for district and school administrators to evaluate claims about the cost-effectiveness of online learning courses and programs so that they can become knowledgeable consumers of online materials.”

— Marianne Bakia, Ph.D., senior policy analyst, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International

In addition to recommending that educators tap online resources to enrich the experience of students in remote or low-enrollment districts, the report suggests that educators consider the following to improve the quality of online education:

  • Engage students in active learning using research-based principles and established best practices
  • Personalize instruction based on students’ interests, preferred pace of learning, and performance
  • Automate routine tasks to allow teachers to focus on complex, interactive activities in the classroom

The benefits of adopting these approaches? According to the report, lower education costs are possible due to more efficient use of teachers’ and students’ time. Additionally, the expenses related to traditional school buildings may be offset by using homes or community spaces, as well. Moreover, schools stand to save through the “reuse and large-scale distribution of materials.”

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/si-sir031912.php

The full report is available at http://ctl.sri.com/news/ImplicationsOnlineLearning2.pdf

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


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