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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

Making Learning “Sticky” Through A Work- and Project-Based Program at Hamilton Community Schools

Hamilton Community Schools (HCS) in Michigan has developed an innovative work-based learning program to prepare students for future employment and expose them to in-demand career pathways. The program aims to close the skills gap and provide greater access to educational training opportunities. HCS collaborated with businesses and higher education institutions to create a multi-year program focused on experiential and project-based learning. Students have the chance to explore high-wage careers through site visits, job-shadowing, and apprenticeships, gaining the necessary skills for informed decisions about their futures.

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The First Week in An Online Course: Differences Across Schools

This report investigates online course outcomes in high free or reduced-price lunch (FRL) schools vs. others. Students in high FRL schools had lower grades, delayed access, and fewer assignments submitted. Early engagement indicators significantly influenced final grades, highlighting the need for timely interventions to promote equity in online education.

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Insights into the Effectiveness of Student-Centered Learning in K-12 Education

This report examines the impact of student-centered learning (SCL) on K-12 student achievement. Despite the high regard for SCL, there is a lack of research on its effect. A literature review reveals limited studies on student achievement, showing modest gains. Factors like demographics and SCL elements are explored, emphasizing the need for further research, particularly with high-quality experimental designs.

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The Impact of Virtual Learning in Michigan Schools