“We have guidelines, but we give the content creators a lot of flexibility. We want them to be creative and think outside the box to come up with the best ways to teach concepts,” said Volusia County’s Brown.

“I would recommend that educators think long-term when they decide on control and flexibility. When virtual learning programs start out small, it’s tempting to allow people the freedom to do whatever they want. However, when freedom can’t scale, fragmentation is the result,” said Ryan Gravette, technology director at the Idaho Digital Learning Academy.

How will we measure success?

The experts interviewed for the report all said that having measurable results they were able to share with the district contributed to their virtual learning program’s initial success, as well as the program’s funding and expansion.

Some districts measured success through quantitative benchmarks such as enrollment or retention; others used qualitative measures such as online evaluations.

“Ideally, you should use the initial challenge you identified in step one as a benchmark to measure success; however, you can also find additional areas of assessment,” the report notes.

For a complete list of the experts interviewed, and to access the full report, click here.

For more news on virtual learning, see:

Annual report reveals online learning’s rapid rise

Online learning caucus coming to Congress

More states look to online learning for students

Virtual learning acquisitions shake up marketplace

iNACOL updates its online teaching standards