Online and Blended Learning Helps Struggling Students, Survey Says


The fourth annual research survey of school and district leaders across the US has revealed some key findings on the implementation of online and blended learning in K-12 schools.

The survey was conducted in Spring 2015 by education consultancy Fuel Education and marketing research company MDR EdNET Insight. Their primary goal was to examine the best practices in establishing and running online and hybrid programs across the country. School principals, district leaders, curriculum and instructional coordinators, superintendents and other related professionals took part.

As Nicole Gorman of Education World writes, 79 percent of all 81 educators interviewed admitted the leading reason why the started implementing online and blended learning into their schedules was to help students who have difficulties in a traditional learning atmosphere.

The next most popular factors for implementing alternative learning methods were giving access to courses not available in other forms, more flexibility for students, and granting individual learning experience. Other factors that motivated teachers and districts to ensure students access to alternative methods of learning were to motivate them stay at school/district and to improve their GPA.

Blended learning was shown to be twice as popular as online learning options. 63 percent of the respondents were using a blended learning alternative while 37 percent opted for fully online learning models. The survey also found out that most districts offered some type of blended learning versus online program option. 94 percent of school principals said they offered online courses while 29 percent said they had a full-time online program available.

Nine out of 10 districts (92 percent) finance their online and blended programs through their own budget, writes Dian Schaffhauser of The Journal.  Only 24 percent receive some state funding. 21 percent of districts are eligible for federal formula funding such as Title I. Community financing, federal grants, and tuition were alternative sources of money.

According to the respondents, the main reasons for the success in implementing an alternative learning method were to offer a “rigorous and engaging curriculum” (91 percent); adequate reporting tools and tracking student progress (89 percent); baseline and on-going assessments for monitoring student progress and well-trained instructors (tied at 88 percent); setting clear expectations for student responsibilities in taking online courses (87 percent); and timely teacher intervention when students are struggling (86 percent).

MDR and Fuel Education worked together for a fourth year in a row to provide up-to-date information about the online and hybrid programs implemented in K-12 schools in the USA. MDR’s EdNet Insight specializes in K-12 information and consulting services. It delivers comprehensive opinions on the education market of today and of the future.

Fuel Education helps schools personalize and transform the traditional education in and outside the classroom. It offers solutions for pre-K through 12th grade to assist schools in implementing online and blended learning programs. So far, Fuel Education has worked with over 2,000 schools to help them offer innovative learning options and to improve their students academic results.