A new survey of over 400 high school principals gives yet more clout to the claim that online learning is becoming mainstream, though not necessarily because of its effectiveness.
In Class Connections: High School Reform and the Role of Online Learning, researchers collected data from a national sample of 400 high school principals and found that most view online learning as a way to offer credit recovery, Advanced Placement, and college elective courses they might be unable to offer in face-to-face classes. And it noted most of those principals expressed interest in broadening their online offerings, even while holding significant doubts about the effectiveness of online instruction.
The report found credit recovery courses to be the most popular online offerings at the secondary level, particularly within urban schools that historically have low graduation rates. Rural schools were found to be trend setters in online learning, as they had the most pressing need to overcome geographic and economic obstacles.
The Babson report touches on many of the issues addressed in our newly released E-Learning 2010: E-Educators Evolving, which gives in-depth analysis of developing questions in online learning, such as the best way to train preservice teachers and what tools lead to successful online teaching.
But it might also indicate a willingness of some administrators to click first and ask questions later. In exploring online learning despite misgivings about teacher effectiveness, are administrators valuing students’ education as much as the bottom line?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.