While there is widespread agreement about the value of online courses, quality remains a significant concern. Educational stakeholders largely agree that there should be clear expectations and accountability for online programs and course providers however practice of this remains fragmented and inconsistent.
MVLRI’s research provides a foundation to examine, engage and explore educational practices in the industry.
MVLRI is dedicated to taking education techniques to the next level. We believe that with proper research, the ways we learn can continue to evolve to strengthen our futures.
Motivation profiles in Michigan Virtual courses for the most part matched established motivation profiles found in face-to-face courses and as is often the case with face-to-face courses, highly motivated students tend to be more successful and less motivated students are more likely to struggle.
The role of an on-site mentor changes and evolves throughout the semester but it remains critical to students, particularly in terms of relationship building and motivating online learners. On-site mentors can have a profoundly positive impact on students, however the quality and level of support provided is inconsistent across the state.
Despite growing enrollments at the K-12 level, by and large teacher preparation programs are not preparing teachers to practice online. Few programs offer content on online teaching and it remains highly variable for those that do.
Research on online learning in higher education still has the potential to inform online learning at the K-12 level, despite several key differences. This is important as the field of K-12 research while growing still remains smaller overall than online learning in higher education.
K-12 teachers have overall positive perceptions of blended learning, often times more positive than students who report struggling with aspects of self-regulation. Research in this area, and particularly among students with disabilities in blended learning contexts is lacking.
Despite growth in online and blended learning there remains limited opportunities for formal teacher professional development in these areas. While there are resources they are largely patchwork and teachers often seek out informal resources.
Online learning enrollments in Michigan have grown significantly in the last decade, with a majority of enrollments at the high-school level and matching national online enrollment demographics. Pass rates from online courses have fallen as enrollments have grown, and students tend to be most successful when they take only a couple virtual courses.
Research suggests that online learners with disabilities, those at risk of dropping out, and those taking courses for credit recovery benefit from additional assistance and instructional support. These learners can benefit from online courses however those courses and the accompanying instruction need to be responsive to the unique needs of these learners.
While context remains unique and unquestionably important for online learning, research suggests best practices such as consistent learner progression, teacher-learner communication, and the value of project-based learning may positively impact student learning outcomes. Similarly research also suggests elements such as registration timing and time spent in the online course do not contribute significantly to learner success.