Research and Reports from the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance
At the request of the state legislature, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute® at Michigan Virtual™ authored a report highlighting enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils, and provided a glimpse into K-12 virtual learning in Michigan.
This report details findings of a mixed methods research study to extend knowledge gathered in the October 2013 and December 2014 studies conducted by NNU’s Doceō Center in collaboration with Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA) and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI®). Between May 2015 and September 2015, IDLA students were surveyed and interviewed regarding their view of blended learning and its perceived impact within the K-12 classroom. Responses from the student survey and interviews were compared to responses given by teachers in the two previous studies. The implications of this study are an encouragement to continue pursuing and improving blended learning in the classroom. The advice the students gave to teachers to continue engaging students is important and could lead to even better results. The advice that students give to other students could also be used to improve the experience of those who are beginning to study in blended learning environments. This study provides a perspective of rural students who have engaged in a variety of forms of blended learning. Their perception is valuable to teachers and administrators who might currently be teaching a blended learning course or considering the option of teaching such a course.
A qualitative study exploring rural teacher perspectives on the impact of blended learning on students and teachers was conducted in Idaho during the Fall of 2013. Researchers from Northwest Nazarene University’s Doceō Center in partnership with Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA) and the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) collaborated in interviewing, transcribing and analyzing responses from rural Idaho teachers on their perspectives of blended learning. Nineteen teachers were randomly selected to participate in the study based on the knowledge that they had participated in blended learning training provided by IDLA and were actively using blended learning in their classrooms. Eight teachers consented and participated in the semi-structured interview process conducted by members of the iNACOL Research Committee.
Student enrollment in online courses has increased over the past 15 years and continues to grow. However, there is much that is not known about students’ educational experiences and outcomes in online courses. The purpose of the study conducted by REL Midwest in partnership with the Virtual Education Research Alliance was to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students’ engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course.
Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a Survey about Training and Challenges
REL Midwest, in partnership with the Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance, analyzed the results of a survey administered to Wisconsin Virtual School teachers about the training in which they participated related to online instruction, the challenges they encounter while teaching online, and the type of training they thought would help them address those challenges.
EdReady Montana is a free, individualized math curriculum that assesses students’ math skills and then provides a personalized learning path to meet their educational goals. EdReady has effectively eliminated math as a roadblock and source of fear for students of all ages. Montana was chosen as one of five states to beta test the EdReady program, and, thanks to leadership from the Montana Digital Academy, it was piloted with students at the University of Montana, Corvallis High School, Missoula Sentinel High School and Lolo Middle School in 2013 (seed funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation enabled the NROC Project, a national not-for-profit organization, to create EdReady as a tool for college math readiness).
This report has been prepared to identify the online learning opportunities made available to students and educators in Illinois through IVS. Specifically, this report highlights:
- Online courses available through IVS
- Course enrollment and completion trend data
- School partnerships established through the state
- Professional development opportunities for educators
The Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning, the 12th annual research report on digital learning policy and practice has published November, 2015. The report presents market data and analysis in K-12 virtual learning researched by Evergreen Education Group, as well as an overview of the latest policies, practices, and trends affecting online and blended learning programs across all 50 states. Several Leadership Alliance members are sponsors of Keeping Pace, and the report contains information and insights that reflect the work of all members of the Alliance.
Online course use in Iowa and Wisconsin public high schools: The results of two statewide surveys (2015)
This study analyzed data from a survey developed to describe how and why brick-and-mortar public high schools in Iowa and Wisconsin use online learning for their students. The survey, developed by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest in collaboration with members of its Virtual Education Research Alliance, reflects the need for better information about the basic characteristics of online course use across the country. Click “Download PDF” below to download the complete report.
These three videos are interviews with the researchers and VERA members regarding the online course use survey conducted in Wisconsin and Iowa.
- Collaborative Research and the Virtual Education Research Alliance
- Value of the Virtual Education Research Alliance
- Virtual Education Research Alliance: Research Agenda and Findings
This report reviews the state of online learning in Illinois and outlines how districts can provide greater access for students through the state virtual school.
This case study examines the pilot and implementation of EdReady Montana, an online college and career readiness program that assesses student skills in mathematics and provides personalized intervention assistance to students.
Michigan Virtual and researchers from Kent State University launched a massive open online course (MOOC) in the Fall of 2013 on the topic of K-12 teaching in the 21st century. This report highlights findings from the effort.
This whitepaper from Rick Ferdig and the Michigan Virtual Research Institute looks at the history and definitions of MOOCs, as well as the practical and conceptual value of MOOCs.
A study investigating the impact of blended learning on students and teachers throughout the rural state of Idaho took place during the spring of 2013. Researchers with Northwest Nazarene University’s Doceo Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) in partnership with Idaho Digital Learning and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) collaborated to send an electronic survey to 627 teachers in the state of which all had received at least some formal professional development in blended learning from Idaho Digital Learning.