NOTE :: Various file formats are used on this page that may require download. If larger than 1mb, it will take longer to download. For instructions or more information, please visit our download page.
The abstracts used in this resource were taken from the websites of organizations supplying the referenced documents.
Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J. (2011). Going the distance: Online education in the United States, 2011. Babson Park, MA: Babson College, Babson Study Research Group.
Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 is the ninth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research Group. Data collection is conducted in partnership with the College Board. This year's study, like those for the previous eight years, is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education.
Bakia, M., Shear, L., Toyoma, Y., & Lasseter, A. (2012). Understanding the implications of online learning for educational productivity. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
This report provides foundational knowledge needed to examine and understand the potential contributions of online learning to educational productivity, including a conceptual framework for understanding the necessary components of rigorous productivity analyses, drawing in particular on cost-effectiveness analysis.
Carey, R., Kleiman, G., Russell, M., Venable, J. D., & Louie, J. (2008). Online courses for math teachers: Comparing self-paced and facilitated cohort approaches. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 7(3).
This study investigated whether two different versions of an online professional development course produced different impacts on the intended outcomes of the course. Variations of an online course for middle school algebra teachers were created for two experimental conditions. One was an actively facilitated course with asynchronous peer interactions among participants. The second was a self-paced condition, in which neither active facilitation nor peer interactions were available. Both conditions showed significant impact on teachers' mathematical understanding, pedagogical beliefs, and instructional practices. Surprisingly, the positive outcomes were comparable for both conditions. Further research is needed to determine whether this finding is limited to self-selected teachers, the specifics of this online course, or other factors that limit generalizability.
Foundation for Excellence in Education. (2010). Digital learning now! Tallahassee, FL: Author.
Preparing more than 50 million students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers is the greatest moral and economic challenge of our era. The stakes are high. A high quality education will narrow the achievement gap and subsequent income divide within our country. Producing more graduates with a mastery of math and science will ensure America maintains its lead in the global innovation economy. Digital learning has the potential to help educators meet this challenge -- to transform our educational system. This document offers ten elements of high quality online education as a guide for educators in the effort to provide online learning options for American students.
Mackey, K., & Horn, B. (2009). Florida Virtual School: Building the first statewide, Internet-based public high school: An education case study. Mountain View, CA: Innosight Institute.
From its beginnings with a small $200,000 grant in 1997, the Florida Virtual School has grown to serve over 70,000 students a year. This case study details the policies and decisions that led to this explosive growth.
North American Council for Online Learning. (2006). Virtual schools and 21st century skills. Vienna, VA: Author.
Online learning through virtual schools is one of the most important advancements in attempting to rethink the effectiveness of education in the United States. The virtual school provides access to online, collaborative and self-paced learning environments--settings that can facilitate 21st century skills. Virtual school leaders, administrators and teachers must ensure that students who learn in online environments are gaining the skills necessary to compete as citizens and workers in the 21st century. This document attempts to articulate a vision for 21st century learning in virtual schools, and identify ways in which online learning can improve outcomes for all students.
Regional Education Laboratory-Southeast. (2011). Evidence Based Education Request Desk #791: Differentiated funding for virtual programs.Greensboro, NC: SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro.
This document, from the SERVE Center, provides information on how states apportion funding to their virtual education programs.
Regional Education Laboratory-Southeast. (2010). Evidence Based Education Request Desk #741: Funding for virtual schools . Greensboro, NC: SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro.
This document from the SERVE Center contains a table outlining states' funding policies for virtual learning programs. It also addresses some policy issues relevant to virtual programs.
Regional Education Laboratory-Southeast. (2011). Evidence Based Education Request Desk #845: Best practices in virtual learning environments for gifted students. Greensboro, NC: SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro.
This document from the SERVE Center examines the potential of on-line learning for meeting the needs of gifted students.
Shacher, M., & Neuman, Y. (2010). Twenty years of research on the academic performance differences between traditional and distance learning: Summative meta-analysis and trend examination. Merlot Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 318-334.
This meta-analysis research estimated and compared the differences between the academic performance of students enrolled in distance education courses, relative to those enrolled in traditional settings, as demonstrated by their final course grades/scores, within the last twenty year (1990-2009) period, further broken down to four distinct sub periods. The research, theoretical, and policy implications of the results are discussed.
Staker, H. (2011). The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models. Mountain View, CA: Innosight Institute.
How does blended learning look in the trenches? What tools and policies are making it work? This 178-page white paper reveals 40 organizations that are early blended-learning pioneers and the technology that is leading the way.
State Educational Technology Directors Association. (2008). Learning virtually: Expanding opportunities. Glen Burnie, MD: Author.
The paper highlights the opportunities offered through virtual learning to provide each student the promise of access to age- and ability- appropriate curriculum, rich and extensive resources and accurate and up-to-date assessments regardless of location, economic situation or time. When effectively used, virtual learning allows for student centered, self-directed, self-paced learning that greatly enhances the curriculum offerings schools provide.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. (2010). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Washington, D.C: Author.
A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 50 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.
Van Beek, M. (2011). Virtual learning in online schools. Midland, MI: The Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
This study [of virtual learning in Michigan public schools] analyzes the financial costs and academic benefits of virtual learning, and it explores how this innovation could further benefit Michigan public school students.
Watson, J. (2008). Blended learning: The convergence of online and face-to-face education. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning.
This paper discusses definitions of blended learning and explores ways in which blended learning is being developed by numerous schools in an effort to answer these and other questions. How does blended learning fit into the current conception of online learning? How does blended learning help engage students and support their academic success? How are online learning and face-to-face instruction being combined effectively? Is blended learning meeting unique student needs that neither fully online nor face-to-face models can achieve? What digital content and curricula are being used in blended learning? A number of successful programs are described, and lessons learned and a vision for the future of online learning are discussed.
Watson, J. & Gemin, B. (2009). Policy and funding frameworks for online learning. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning.
While the viability and popularity of online learning is gaining widespread acceptance, the policy needed to support its growth is lagging. This document addresses that issue, why online learning is worthwhile, policy problems related to online learning programs, and which online policy and funding structures are most promising for all students.
Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2011). Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: An annual review of policy and practice. Evergreen, CO: Evergreen Education Group.
From the Executive Summary: K-12 online and blended learning have evolved in new directions in the past year. While now familiar segments of the field, such as online charter schools and state virtual schools, have continued to grow, relatively new forms such as consortium programs and single-district programs are expanding even more rapidly, as is the range of private providers competing to work with districts. As of late 2011, online and blended learning opportunities exist for at least some students in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, but no state has a full suite of full-time and supplemental options for students at all grade levels. Key trends and events from the past year include: Single district programs are the fastest growing segment of online and blended learning. Most district programs are blended, instead of fully online. Intermediate units, BOCES, county offices, and other education service agencies are taking on important roles. Full-time, multi-district online schools continue to grow. State virtual schools are dividing into two tiers -- those with significant impact and those without -- largely based on funding model. Several states passed important new online learning laws, some of which cited the Ten Elements of Digital Learning created by Digital Learning Now. The Common Core State Standards are taking hold, common assessments are next, and open educational resources are an increasingly important element. The provider landscape is changing rapidly. Special student needs gain new focus.
WestEd. (2008). Evaluating online learning: Challenges and strategies for success. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement: Author.
Although online learning is a relatively new enterprise in the K-12 arena, it is expanding rapidly with increasing numbers of providers offering services and more students choosing to participate. As with any education program, online learning initiatives must be held accountable for results. To this end, rigorous evaluations are essential. The evaluations highlighted in this guide range from internal assessment to external, scientific research studies. All demonstrate how program leaders and evaluators have been able to implement strong evaluation practices despite some challenges inherent to examining learning in an online environment.
International Association of K-12 Online Learning. Reports and Publications
Website of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning. Offers a range of resources
Supplement to the April 2010 Issue of Education Week, focused on online learning
This special edition of Education Week contains a number of articles on various topics related to virtual learning in schools.
Innosight Institute. White Papers and Policy Briefs
This webpage offers access to publications on virtual learning from InnoSight Institute.
This webpage provides access to iNACOL's Promising Practices Series. This series is comprised of several documents focused on issues important to virtual learning/education.