Saturday, January 9, 2016

Top 4 must-haves for online and blended learning

Recently Fuel Education released the results of their 4th annual survey on must-haves in online and blended, according to the 81 school leaders they interviewed.

Number one: Rigorous and engaging curriculum

The other three are:

* Presence of student progress tracking and reporting tools
* Measurement of student progress with initial and ongoing assessments
* Instructors who are well trained in delivering online courses

While I am not negating the need for any of what Fuel Education found out in this survey, I do offer that if we believe these are the four main requirements for a successful blended or online program, then all blended and virtual school programs should be highly successful already. Peruse any virtual school web site and they all tout their curriculum as "rigorous" and/or "engaging."

They also tout their usage of student tracking, intervention capabilities, ongoing measurement, etc.

Again, as I mentioned in a recent post, virtual and blended schools tend to think the solutions are only academic related. Hence, in a survey of school leaders we receive academic answers such as curriculum, measuring tools, assessments, and course delivery.

I would suggest that while these survey answers Fuel Ed uncovered are necessary (except for "rigorous curriculum" but I will leave that for another post), they should merely play a role in the overall pursuit, and should not be the top four requirements.

What if the survey were given to students? To parents? Would they give the same answers?

It's an ongoing problem, a disconnect between schools and students/parents. And yet, next year we will be served the same survey with the same results as this year, and we will still wonder why families continue to withdraw.

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