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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

Understanding Inequity in Michigan K-12 Online Education

Since legislation passed in the late 2000s requiring online experiences for Michigan K-12 students and establishing online charter schools, enrollment in online courses in Michigan has steadily increased. Depending on their race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, and special education status, students had markedly different outcomes in their online courses. This report is intended to understand K-12 online education from an equity perspective, and more thoroughly, to understand if all Michigan K-12 students are receiving equitable education online.

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Educators’ Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning Courses

This study assesses educators’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the social-emotional learning (SEL) professional development courses they’ve completed online. Through a survey of 702 educators who completed at least one SEL professional learning course with Michigan Virtual in 2021, this report provides insights into what works well for educators in learning about SEL through online formats, what educators think about their own SEL competencies after completing online SEL training, and educators’ recommendations on how to adapt online SEL professional learning courses to make them more relevant and applicable to their work.

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Programs, Pathways, and Proficiency Scales Anchor Student-Centered Learning at Berrien Springs Public Schools

Driven by their commitment to what they call “The Shamrock Way,” Berrien Springs Public Schools (BSPS) offers personalized learning opportunities where students can learn and grow in a caring environment. They are also committed to personalizing professional development for teachers so that they can experience personalized learning for themselves. This case study explores how through a variety of programs, pathways, and virtual learning options as well as a willingness to meet students where they are and a dedicated effort to encourage students to take ownership of their learning and develop agency, BSPS is making learning student-centered.

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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.