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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Providing the groundwork & research to support the success of students and educators through online & blended learning platforms

Helping to define educational practices online and in the classroom

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) receives directives from the Michigan legislature to define the areas of research in blended and online learning each year. Research is conducted throughout the state, nation and internationally to incorporate a global perspective. Research is also conducted without regard to the provider to ensure that important findings are brought to light and practiced in our own backyard.

Each year MVLRI reports a summary of these findings in its Annual Report. This report, along with other research conducted through the Institute, informs educational policy in the state. Further research including focus groups of teachers, administrators and other school officials provides continuous feedback regarding the effectiveness of the policy as it is implemented in districts across Michigan. The effectiveness of all online learning programs is tracked in MVLRI’s annual Effectiveness Report. Many times the Effectiveness Report uncovers important aspects of online learning implementation that are not working, once again informing policy to ensure that Michigan’s students are receiving the best online education possible.

The work of the MVLRI is internationally recognized for providing accurate research that is utilized throughout the education industry to empower educators and support learners of all ages.

Recent Publications

Online Program Toolkit

The purpose of this document is to help you create and/or maintain a quality online learning program that fits the needs of your students, no matter where you are on this journey. Much of what is covered in this toolkit reflects best practices found in the National Online Standards (NSQ), which were developed by experts from across the country.

We have designed this toolkit with the intention of being brief, and to provide questions and actionable steps to help you support your students in online learning.

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Key Strategies for Supporting Teachers in Virtual Learning Environments

The strategies for supporting virtual teachers discussed in this report are based on the current practices shared by 1,809 virtual educators (1,721 teachers and 88 supervising administrators) representing 17 statewide virtual schools or programs with a combined 150 years of online and blended learning experience and more than a quarter of a million virtual course enrollments annually. The expertise of these individuals is provided as a way to help school leaders of both traditional and nontraditional schools and districts that have teachers and school leaders who are developing their skills and abilities as virtual educators.

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“It’s Just Too Much”: Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Michigan Educators

This study assesses the SEL resources and supports that have been used to help Michigan teachers and administrators. Through an online survey of teachers and educators across Michigan, we examined what district and schoolwide resources have been leveraged, and what strategies teachers and administrators have used to help themselves, which ultimately benefits students, families, and communities. Additionally, attention was paid to the perceived effectiveness of these resources and strategies and challenges associated with their implementation. By understanding Michigan K-12 educators’ well-being and their SEL needs, we hope that teachers and administrators can find ways to meet their SEL needs and maintain a positive well-being, which will ultimately make their jobs more satisfying and fulfilling.

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Student-Centered Learning In Michigan K-12 Schools: Factors that Impact Successful Implementation

While the more traditional teacher-centered model of education does work for some students, it does not work for all. By connecting with district administrators, school administrators, and teachers through both a survey and interviews, this study aimed to capture the ways in which some Michigan K-12 schools are implementing student-centered learning practices along with the factors that impact the successful implementation of such practices. It is our hope that the effective practices, guidance, and advice gleaned from the many innovative educators who so generously gave their time to participate in this study will help other school and district personnel overcome their own barriers to successful implementation of a more student-centered approach to learning.

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The Impact of Virtual Learning in Michigan Schools

Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.