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Learning in the 21st Century: A 5 Year Retrospective on the Growth in Online Learning

Released at ISTE, Jun 26th, 2012

Report CoverLearning in the 21st Century: A 5 Year Retrospective on the Growth in Online Learning highlights the latest Speak Up data in addition to a special five year retrospective analysis of the Speak Up data to better understand the evolution of values and attitudes on online learning and to interpret the impact of that evolution on future programs, policies and plans.

Since 2007, Project Tomorrow has partnered with Blackboard Inc. to create a series of annual reports that focus on the year to year trends in the use of online learning to change the classroom learning paradigm through an in-depth analysis of the latest Speak Up national findings. In this latest update report, we examine the trends from two new perspectives. First, we document the significant changes over the past five years in the growth of the interest levels in online learning and numbers of students and educators who have now had online learning experiences. Second, we use that five year growth retrospective to shine a bright light on the impact of this evolutionary process on new programs, policies and plans for expanding online learning opportunities for students and teachers. Comparing the issues we reported on in 2007 with the online learning headlines of 2012 we can easily see an increased experiential sophistication around different implementations of online learning as well as a new blending of emerging technologies such as mobile learning and digital textbooks into our online learning discussion. The key findings therefore of our analysis of the national online learning findings from 416,758 K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators include the five year growth numbers as well as the new discussion points for 2012. The combination of the two perspectives provides a fertile environment for us to jumpstart a new conversation, “where will online learning be in 2017?”

Key trends highlighted in the report include:

  • A majority of teachers, school site administrators and district level administrators now report participating in an online class for their own professional development. For teachers, this represents a 148 percent increase since 2007.
  • Teachers’ value proposition on online learning for their own professional development is directly related to their previous online learning experiences as a teacher or in an online training class. 30 percent of teachers say that online PD is now their preferred approach for continuing education.
  • A new, positive correlation exists between educators’ experiences with online learning and their interest in mobile learning in school.
  • The profile of a typical student interested in taking an online class today is a middle school girl who values the use of a mobile device in school and sees online learning as her ticket to a more personalized learning environment where she is in control of the learning process.
  • One-third of parents now support increased investments in online learning.

Click here to download the report from the Blackboard, Inc. website.


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