Online Learning Update

January 26, 2012

Can States and School Districts Cut Costs Through Online Learning?

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am


Digital learning represents wide-open terrain for K-12 education reform. Several states — Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan and Minnesota — require students to take an online course to receive a high school degree. Twenty-seven states have established statewide full-time virtual schools since the first opened in 1997 in Florida, according to a report by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, an indication of virtual education’s growing appeal. As with all innovations, though, there is always a question of cost for providing such new technologies, especially when states are providing less per-pupil funding. A study released last week by the Education Center of Excellence at the Parthenon Group (commissioned by the conservative education think tank, the Fordham Institute) suggested that the costs of digital learning could be significantly less than more traditional modes. The authors cautioned that its findings must be interpreted with some caveats: costs vary across digital education platforms and different entities pursue online learning for different reasons (cost-savings versus enhanced offerings, for example).

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