HERNDON, Va., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Improved reporting/monitoring tools, appropriate teacher availability and training, and engaging curriculum are key success factors in driving the accelerating trend to individualized online learning, according to a survey of district and school-level leaders released today by K12 Inc., the nation's leading provider of technology-powered individualized education solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school.
The survey, conducted by MDR's EdNET Insight, asked superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum directors, principals and special education directors who have experience implementing online learning to identify and rank several key success factors and best practices. More than 220 leaders responded, with significant representation from districts varying in size and metropolitan status. The majority of respondents have experience implementing online programs for credit recovery, followed by experience offering online courses, and full-time online programs.
Results show that the following four factors, which were cited as "extremely important" for at least 80 percent of respondents across all three program types – full-time online, online courses, and credit recovery – are critical to implementing successful online learning programs in K-12 schools and districts:1. Reporting tools/progress monitoring – Progress monitoring tools are crucial in helping teachers gauge a student's understanding of lessons, monitor performance, and determine if intervention is needed. Additionally, these tools produce immediate, specific feedback to help instructors guide personalized instruction. 2. Availability of teachers to assist struggling students – When students are struggling, it is important to have a teacher readily available for assistance to prevent them from becoming frustrated and disengaged. Teachers continue to be a critical component of the learning process, regardless of whether the online program is taught in a fully online or blended program. 3. Instructors who are well trained in delivering online courses – It is extremely important for teachers to be specifically trained to teach online. The unique requirements of an online teacher include working with online curriculum, online collaboration, and other tools to differentiate learning according to the needs of each student. 4. Offering rigorous and engaging curriculum – Survey respondents also identified rigorous and engaging curriculum as a key success factor for all three types of online learning programs. Engaging curriculum helps keep students moving forward and focused, and well-designed curriculum provides different methods of delivering content to accommodate different learning styles. "Administrators at the forefront of implementing individualized online learning models confirm that reporting, teacher availability, training, and engagement are key challenges in that process," said John Olsen, Executive Vice President of Operations for K12. "K12 is also highly focused on these challenges and is working closely with schools and districts to provide high-quality curriculum – integrated with technology and instructional services that improve school, district, and student outcomes." For more information about survey results, including key success factors ranked by online program type, visit http://www.k12.com/online-best-practices. K12 provides schools and districts the industry's most complete continuum of proprietary pre-kindergarten through high school online learning solutions for full-time virtual, blended, and traditional classroom learning environments. By integrating curriculum, technology and services, K12 empowers our school and district partners to provide individualized learning and maximize student and district outcomes. Over the past decade, the company has served more than 2,000 districts and delivered over 4 million online course enrollments from its award-winning portfolio.