October Research Round Up

Illustration of the learning process
Each month our team of researchers highlights K-12 online, blended, and innovative learning research, reports, standards, and other noteworthy resources published nationally and internationally in the preceding weeks. Our hope with this series is to inform the educational community of the latest digital learning research in order to better serve students.

Updated National Standards for Quality Online Courses

Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance released the National Standards for Quality Online Courses, third edition this month. These updated standards are part of the larger set of National Standards for Quality Online Learning, which also includes the recently updated National Standards for Quality Online Programs and Online Teaching

The standards are intended to serve as a benchmark for schools and districts in assessing and improving their online courses (and in the case of the others, online programs and online teaching). The updates were a significant feat with well over 40 contributors as well as a team of reviewers who provided feedback.

Extensive literature reviews are available for each of the updated standards as well as crosswalks between the NSQOL Standards and the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric on the NSQOL website.

Read our overview of the latest update to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.

Measuring Collaboration, Perseverance, and Self-Regulation

REL Northeast and Islands and the IES National Center for Evaluation and Regional Assistance released a review of instruments for measuring social and emotional learning skills. The skills of collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulation are not exclusive to digital learners but are critical in all educational settings.

This review highlights instruments said to measure these three domains and reports on the validity and reliability of each in detail. Having this information allows both researchers and schools to make more informed decisions about what instruments to use when evaluating students’ collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulation.

Course Choice Programs Developing Across The Nation

According to a report released by the Digital Learning Collaborative, as of the 2019-20 school year 15 states have or are developing policies through which students can choose online courses. These policies vary considerably by state including reasons a district can deny enrollment in an online course, recourse for denial, what providers students can choose from, and several more. The report also details key elements of course choice programs as well as some general observations about course choice program features.

How Engagement Relates to Academic Performance in an Online Course Module

Finally, a journal article out of E-Learning and Digital Media was published exploring the relationship between students’ engagement and their academic performance in an e-learning environment. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that students with higher levels of engagement did better academically overall.

Research Round Up blog series

In our Research Round Up blog series, we compile recent research on K-12 online learning in Michigan and across the nation. This series is designed to provide resources for researchers and practitioners to stay up to date with with what we know about online teaching and learning. Stay up to date on future blogs in this series by signing up for email notifications!

About the authors

Kristen DeBruler
Dr. Kristen DeBruler received her doctorate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University. She taught in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University for three years. Her work focuses on K-12 online learning policy in Michigan and nation wide as well as understanding online learning best practices.

Christopher Harrington
Dr. Christopher Harrington has served public education as a teacher, an administrator, a researcher, and a consultant for more than 25 years and has experience assisting dozens of school districts across the nation in the design and implementation of blended, online, and personalized learning programs. He has worked on local, regional, and national committees with iNACOL and various other education-based organizations aimed at transforming education through the use of technology.

Picture of Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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