District and school-level leaders weigh in on what makes a successful online learning program

online-learning-practicesThough still in its adoption infancy, online learning in K-12 schools and districts has been around long enough for tech-savvy education leaders to have key insights into what makes an online learning program successful. Thanks to a new national survey, most school and district leaders agree that there are five distinct best practices for online learning.

The survey, conducted by MDR’s EdNet on behalf of K12 Inc. in the spring of 2013, sought to determine best practices and lessons learned when implementing online learning programs in K-12 schools through in-depth responses from superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum directors, principals, and exemplary teachers.

Of the 165 respondents who offer online learning programs, 82 percent offer an online credit recovery program; 81 percent offered online courses in 2013 versus just 66 percent in 2012; and full-time online programs in districts with more than 10,000 students grew from 27 percent in 2012 to 48 percent in 2013.

Respondents explained that online learning programs are a great way to boost graduation rates, address multiple student populations, expand their course catalogs, and personalize learning.

However, unless certain characteristics and practices are in place, many online learning programs are not only mediocre, but can fail within in a short period of time.

(Next page: The five online learning best practices)

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Meris Stansbury

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