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Posts tagged ‘LMS’

Arousing interests in students for e-learning courses through creative means


There is no dearth of e-learning courses around the globe. But the question is: are these courses really enhancing the knowledge of children? While researching on this subject I came across staggering results. I found that although the numbers of e-learning courses have increased considerably in recent past; students are still unable to derive 100% benefit from these courses. I know 100% benefit is a mere myth and cannot be achieved in one grasp; but still there has to be a way through which students retain majority of portion in one go without any outside interface or pressure from parents. Once that has been done, the real worth of e-learning courses can be derived.

It is often said that content is the king. This is absolutely true for good e-learning courses. Although designing an e-learning course is also an integral part of the big deal; without game-changing content, it is very difficult to arouse interest in the minds of the students. Now this is a very big deal, because if you make students yearn for your course; half of your problem is solved. With so much competition, the expectations are quite high in terms of quality content delivery and on top of it; the other criteria is that content should be in sync with the designs of the website. This is really a high pressure situation, because you need to be at the top of your game to succeed at this level.

Tutors also need to be in regular touch with the students so that they can provide proper guidance to them after specific period for instance; weekly or fortnightly as per their convenience. This will enable students to get personalized touch from the tutors. The major objective of providing personalized touch in e-learning courses is to make students genuinely interested in the course. They can then ask relevant questions to the tutors thereby getting additional knowledge on the subjects.

Although every e-learning course provider rhetorically knows about these basic ideas they are not able to transform them into realities. Now this is a big problem; and this question always remains unanswered: How does one arouse interests in students through e-learning courses? I know you are jumping off your seats and are saying every other fellow knows the answer. But is the answer really that simple? Are we really able to understand the needs of the students? What are the different factors which make or break the success of an e-learning course? In this blog; I will try to answer all these questions and hopefully when I end this blog; you will have a rough idea of what exactly is required in terms of creativity to encourage students to study hard for the respective courses? How can you make a boring subject interesting for the students?

Now remember that when I talk about students I am talking about children within age group of 4-15 years. This is the age where children learn from their surroundings and are able to grasp things quite easily. This is also the age wherein; the inbuilt creativity in children can be developed without any force or compulsion. The basic objective of an e-learning course should be to encourage the students to use their creativity and get innovative solutions on their own by solving the problems. Remember that getting a different solution for a problem every time does not make a child dumb. It is our perception which makes things right or wrong. Once we have adapted to the way a child thinks, it will be very easy to design a course curriculum which will not only impart knowledge; but also enhance the creativity in children.

I am yet to come across an e-learning course which takes the point discussed earlier into consideration; while designing the course curriculum. This is a very sad thing because it also shows that e-learning course providers are not able to understand the needs of the children and hence, are failing to create interests in students. So, the very first point to consider while arousing interest in students is to THINK LIKE A CHILD; and design the course curriculum keeping in mind the creativity aspect of children that can be enhanced through designing innovative course curriculum.

Thinking like a child is not an easy thing. You might also question me: what do you mean by creating a course curriculum presuming yourself as a child? Now this is a very important question, which needs to answered in detail; because most of the e-learning course providers miss out on understanding this simple criteria; and end up messing up with their entire course curriculum.

You will not end up with the same fate; as you have already begun the success journey which will guarantee that your course is quite different and unique from other e-learning course providers. Remember when you were a child there were three most important things which created interests in your minds. Let me list these three things:

  • Engagement
  • Competition
  • Rewards

Let me explain each of these points in detail with a scenario-based example which will clear the concepts in your mind:

  • Engagement: Imagine your childhood days are back again. You are sitting on your couch playing video game. As you cross each level the excitement arouses and you are totally involved in the game. In other words you are engaged in that activity which keeps you from doing other activities till you have completed the game thoroughly. Now get back to the present and visualize whether the course content that you have developed has engaging points in it. Whether it can keep a child involved for a majority of their time without diverting to other activities?

If your answer is yes; then you have found the perfect winning formulae for designing the e-learning course. In that case you do not have to read further. But if you are still confused and are asking the same question i.e., How to engage children in the course curriculum? The answer lies within the problem. Create the curriculum in such a manner that it seems like fun to the children. Make it so engaging that they do not wish you get off their study room till they have completed the specific chapter or the desired objective. You can do it with interactive videos or pictures that engage students to the course. You can also create a unique concept which will give you the first-mover advantage over other e-learning course providers. The key to the solution is to think creatively and differently from others. Remember if your course is not different or unique then it will not survive the tough competition in the market. Be very proactive research a lot and come up with creative solutions. By being creative and different you are giving yourself an opportunity to engage the children to your e-learning course. That should be the ultimate bate to attract parents and children.

  • Competition: Remember the good old times in your childhood when you used to have a healthy competition amongst your friends while playing cricket or football to become a wicket keeper or goal keeper. Try to visualize the kind of competition that used to take place to bat first or to keep the wickets while playing cricket. Likewise try to remember the competition that used to take place to fight for your place as a goal keeper while playing football. Counting the number of runs or goals scored by each individual to prove your mantle in the entire group and surpassing that figure to become the ultimate winner used to be your sole objective.

Likewise, in the present scenario, games have changed; but with the help of social networking sites it is always possible to share your academic scores with your colleagues, so that there is healthy competition amongst all the children and everyone can give their best to achieve their academic goals. Thinking out-of-the-box can also be quite profitable for an e-learning course provider; as they can cater to an all-together new market. For example; integrating games with course curriculum can increase the potential of success for the e-learning courses.

  • Rewards: As a child, remember the enthusiasm that you used to feel while getting a reward for a sport. It was considered to be a big achievement. Likewise when children are rewarded for the dedication and application that they show for learning and scoring good marks in the quiz; it results in positive reinforcement. This is the ultimate game changing moment for the e-learning course provider since; they now have all the cards in their hands; and deep down in their heart they know that their course is an instant success with the children. They can then experiment with something unique and different for the betterment of the course curriculum.  

In the end; I would like to conclude this blog by highlighting couple of things which will give an opportunity to e-learning course providers to get success with flying colors.

  • Always give importance to learning and knowledge rather than marks and ranking system.
  • Even if a child does not score well encourage him/her with positive feedback so that they can get back to studies and perform well in the next quiz/exam.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

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3 Components for Developing a Great eLearning Game


As technology has advanced, lots of innovative ideas are being tried in the education domain to make the experience of children pleasurable. Keeping this in mind, this article focuses on crucial components for developing a great e-learning game.

Combining education with entertainment is not a cup of tea for ordinary developer. It requires lot of creativity and patience. The smooth layouts and graphics add to the visuals of the game. But the major purpose of the e-learning game should be to impart knowledge to the students. But it is quite subjective to define a good e-learning game. It is still an unknown entity which has not been answered properly. This article talks about different components which help in developing a great e-learning game. Let us look at these components in detail:

  • Perfect combination of learning and entertainment: Always ensure that there is a perfect blend of learning and entertainment while developing an e-learning game. Care should be taken that the learning objectives behind developing the game is fulfilled. For example; for English you can have various word jigjaw puzzles and memory games to strengthen the memory of the student. Always try to integrate all the crucial aspects that are important from the learning perspective to be present in the game.
  • Give impetus to the students to play the game: Children are the most difficult target audience to attract because they genuinely like or dislike the game. Hence, it is very important to provide proper impetus to the students to play the games. For example; if there are puzzles in the game each level needs to present different challenge so that children do not get bored with the games and play to learn something from it. Engagement and attraction are two things which make children focus on the game.
  • Target the essential elements of learning in the game: Always focus on the learning aspect in the game. Try to eradicate those portions wherein the learning aspect gets diverted. For example; if you are playing a game on grammar which deals with identifying verbs and nouns from a group of sentences. If you are constantly clicking on the ground to walk around, examining surroundings to identify boxes and then picking them up, the verbs that get collected are not of relevance as they are not part of the learning mechanism.

Context is of prime importance in an e-learning game. An experienced e-learning provider would follow the points mentioned above and create extravagant e-learning games for children.

About emPower
emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya
marketing@empowerbpo.com

emPower
12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374
http://www.empowerbpo.com
http://hardik.practutor.com

3 Genuine Ways to Get Result Oriented Education from eLearning Courses


E-learning courses are in huge demand recently. But lots of these courses are not result-oriented. Hence; in this article; we look at some ways to get result-oriented education from e-learning courses.

Lots of e-learning courses have come up recently in the market. However, these courses are designed differently as per the needs and requirements of the target audience. There are two kinds of e-learning courses available in the market:

  • E-learning driven by budgets
  • E-learning driven by results

E-learning driven by budgets is concerned with creating courses according to the budgets set by the company. It cannot be result-oriented because the focus has shifted from providing quality education to target-based education. Knowledge cannot be delivered with constrained limitations. Education is all about creating awareness amongst students about various courses and imparting quality education to them. A result-oriented e-learning pattern can be very useful as it utilizes quality content to impart knowledge to students.
Let us now look at different ways through which you can get result-oriented education from e-learning courses:

  • E-learning should symbolize the characteristics of your brand:  It is often said that “A product is as good as the brand name of the company”. Hence, it is very important to have a sync between the brand name of the company and the product i.e., in this case it is e-learning course. If the brand name and the e-learning course are not in sync then it will be very difficult for the company to market the e-learning course effectively.
  • E-learning is all about creating managers and leaders instead of followers:  E-learning coursescreate right beliefs, decisions and behaviors in employees. It also about changing the behavior of the employees and making them self-reliant in decision-making process. In corporate world, it is very important to take quick and efficient decisions as time is prime importance. Hence; by solving real-life case studies students can learn about practical problems that they will face in the near future.
  • Aligning the e-learning outcome with your learner’s outcome:  Education can be imparted in two ways:
  • You make them learn the subjects
  • You engage them by making them interested in the subjects

Until and unless you create interest in the minds of the students for the subjects it will not serve the purpose. Hence; you need to make them emotionally involved in the course and create genuine interest that will help them solve the problem. It is all about aligning e-learning outcome with your learner’s outcome.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya
marketing@empowerbpo.com

emPower
12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374
http://www.empowerbpo.com
http://www.practutor.com

6 Evolutionary Trends In e-Learning Education


Withthe emergence of internet, e-learning education has become a revolution. We have already seen lots of e-learning courses being introduced in the market. There are some emerging trends which can really give real impetus to e-learning and take it to another sphere. Let us look at some of these trends:

  • SHIFT TO OPEN SOURCE TECHNOLOGY:Learning Management Systems (LMS) have traditionally been a paid service. But with time there are lots of new open source systems like OpenClass have come up which have received a warm welcome from students and educators.
  • Key integration of e-learning courses by employers:E-learning courses have not enjoyed popularity amongst students and career oriented employees; as the certificates for the courses are not regarded as a valuable thing in the job market. But as the popularity of e-learning courses increases with the number of masses this perception will change.
  • Assimilation of hybrid courses: Different types of courses have been developed with the assimilation of online education along with face-to-face teacher interaction. This type of education is revolutionary and can change the paradigm of online education system.
  • Excellent growth in enrollment of e-learning courses in comparison to traditional courses: Enrollment of e-learning courses has risen to 21% growth rate in comparison to a paltry 2% growth rate in overall higher education. As the technologies grow; you can expect the rise of e-learning enrollment at the same pace.
  • Increasing use of social media tool for education: Social media is often regarded as a tool for masses to interact with friends and be in touch with them. But recently the trend is changing. Increasingly social media tools are being used for educational purposes, and this will enhance the quality of the entire online educational system.
  • Digital content distribution in lieu of books and closed texts: For e-learning courses; textbooks have been replaced by digital content distribution system. It gives freedom to students and professionals to get the relevant information through various mobile devices.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

THREE DYNAMIC REASONS EXHIBITING THE IMPORTANCE OF E-LEARNING


Lots of e-learning courses have come up recently. These courses give valuable options to the students and professionals to get higher education and build a bright future. In this article; we look at the reasons exhibiting the importance of e-learning.

Technological advancement has made the entire globe a tiny place where we live in. We are already seeing the impact of globalization in education. Students are no longer restrained to classroom education. They can now learn at their own pace and time. E-learningcourses are not restricted to education but they are also beneficial for corporate trainings and businesses. These courses have been created with specific e-learning solutions like Learning Management System (LMS). A good LMS includes various collaborative e-learning tools that provide speedy, effective interactions and creates a synchronized learning mechanism for the trainers and learners.

Let us now look at the various reasons which exhibit the importance of e-learning:

  • Increasing demand for higher education: Education has become a key criterion for career expansion. We have already seen increasing demand of professionals for higher education; and distance learning has become a boon for these executives. With the help of selected e-learning courses, students and executives can now pursue professional courses online with greater ease. Professors and trainers can also conduct virtual classrooms and online trainings in a better way.
  • For better information dissemination: E-learning is extremely important medium for better information dissemination. It also makes learning more complete and well structured.
  • Easy to learn and take tests at your own convenience: With the advantage of global classroom environment, students can now learn at their own pace and convenience. They can even choose courses as per their interests and take standardized tests to evaluate their grip on the subjects.

E-learning courses provide tremendous opportunities to professionals as they can now aim for higher positions by opting for online courses. These courses also provide a basic outline of the topics which gives students an opportunity to revise the topics thoroughly, and prepare for the exams. A proficient   e-learning course provider will always try to create courses according to the needs of the target audience. It is also very important to consider end goals that you would like to achieve to get maximum results from the courses.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya
marketing@empowerbpo.com

emPower
12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374
http://www.empowerbpo.com
http://www.empowerlms.com

21st Century learning and Teaching Modus operandi and Advantages


With growing technologies, the methods of acquiring education are also growing. It is always better to opt for something that is advanced because if a teacher is departing knowledge then there is a possibility of human error but that is not the case with technology.

With changing time, the method of acquiring and providing knowledge is changing. During olden days, students use to go to the classroom and knowledge sharing use to take place in place in classrooms only but these days advanced learning has become popular. During olden days, the only way available for gaining knowledge was books but now, new methods like that of Elearning LMS and usage of other advanced technologies has started.

Methods using for learning and teaching in 21st century

There are many methods that have being introduced at regular intervals so that the students can learn many things and at a faster rate and at the same time, the teacher’s work is also reduced to a larger extent. Few of the popular methods that are being used are as follows: –

  1. Elearning LMS – Elearning LMS has become a popular thing because of the ease and comfort with which it can be used. With the help of Elearning LMS, the students get involved in what is being taught.
  2. Online learning – There are many online learning classrooms where the lectures are conducted virtually. The user can get access to wide range of knowledge by way of this mode of learning and the quality of education that student from all over the world receives remains same.
  3. Digital learning – Digital learning means carry the study notes in a digital equipment like that of laptop, mobile or e-book reader so that the person can study anywhere as per their convenience.

Advantages of learning and teaching methods used in 21st century

There are many advantages of using advanced technologies to depart knowledge rather the classroom teaching.

  1. If a person prepares an elearning LMS then that can be used by various people and it can be used for longer period of time. Same is the case with Online learning as well, once the course material is prepared, it can used at any point of time as per the users requirement.
  2. If a person is too busy and hence, he doesn’t have the time to attend classes but he is eager to learn then he can take up some online learning courses where he can listen to the course content at any point of time as per his convenience.
  3. Another advantage that is offered by digital learning is access to knowledge anywhere and everywhere because it is merely impossible to carry fat books with oneself at all point of time. Digital learning has reduced the physical efforts of carrying books.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya
marketing@empowerbpo.com

emPower
12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374
http://www.empowerbpo.com
http://www.empowerlms.com

Virtual Ed. Advocates Respond to Wave of Criticism


It’s been a rough year for the public image of K-12 virtual education.

Studies in Colorado and Minnesota have suggested that full-time online students in those states were struggling to match the achievement levels of their peers in brick-and-mortar schools. Articles in The New York Times have questioned not only the academic results for students in virtual schools, but also the propriety of business practices surrounding the use of public dollars for such programs.

Meanwhile, two left-leaning magazines, The Nation and Mother Jones, contended this month that education policy reforms pushed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the name of digital opportunities for students have the ulterior motive of funneling money to big technology companies. And the move into education by the right-leaning media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, with his News Corp. conglomerate’s purchase of the educational technology company Wireless Generation, has drawn protests from some teacher advocates at public appearances by Mr. Murdoch.

Against this backdrop, educators who gathered at the Virtual School Symposium held early this month in Indianapolis appeared eager to strike a balance between working to address what they see as valid criticisms of their field and rebutting others they see as misconceptions. They also seemed largely to agree the burden is on them to tell their own story and prove their effectiveness.

“A lot of the publicity has been negative,” conceded Andy Scantland, the vice president of sales and marketing for Advanced Academics Inc., an Oklahoma City-based provider of public and private online learning programs. The company is a sponsor of the annual “Keeping Pace” virtual learning report, which was released by the Evergreen Education Group, a Durango, Colo.-based research and consulting firm, just before the symposium.

“It’s really critical that we don’t allow others to tell the story for us,” Mr. Scantland added. “Accountability and measurability is good for all of us.”

He and others associated with this year’s “Keeping Pace” survey of the virtual learning landscape insisted that its most important element may be its 10-page section on “emerging quality and accountability issues,” as the report terms it.

Addressing Criticisms

Susan Patrick, the president and chief executive officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, the Vienna, Va.-based group that hosted the forum, said she sees a combination of factors contributing to recent criticisms of full-time virtual schools, with some issues having more merit than others.

For example, Ms. Patrick said the studies that raise questions about the achievement of fully online students may suffer in part because of the methods of measuring such achievement. Virtual school programs designed to help facilitate learning at a nonconventional pace and on a nonconventional schedule may struggle when molded to the confines of seat-time requirements virtual school advocates would like to see abandoned. But she accepted that getting some districts to view virtual education as a method that still needs quality instructors is a problem.

Ms. Patrick also acknowledges that some advocates of virtual schooling have politicized it, even at the symposium.

State Rep. Brian Bosma, the Indiana House speaker and a Republican from Marion County, in his remarks at the Nov. 9-11 gathering, painted support for virtual schools as a conservative issue aligned with debates over school choice. Ms. Patrick said the education reforms sought by former Gov. Bush and his Tallahassee, Fla.-based Foundation for Excellence in Education could be viewed as politically motivated, including ideas advanced through the Digital Learning Now initiative led by Mr. Bush, a Republican, and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, a Democrat.

“People are people, and start to paint it one way or another, and that’s unfortunate,” said Ms. Patrick, who added that such Democrats as U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state and U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey have been vocal supporters of online learning.

“We had 1,900 people [at the Virtual School Symposium], and 47 percent of them were first-timers there from districts wanting to launch programs,” she said in a telephone interview after the event. “That’s not political at all.”

Ms. Patrick says she’s unsure whether it’s possible to depoliticize virtual schooling, but says her bigger concern is the impression that it’s an effective method to cut manpower from a district’s teaching force. And she concedes some districts aren’t doing much to combat that impression.

“Teachers and people are the heart of online learning programs, and we need to, as a community, let the teacher voice be heard,” Ms. Patrick said.

“There are some valid criticisms, too, especially with districts facing budget crunches,” she said. “We want them to make a decision about good-quality programs. Sometimes they’re doing that, and sometimes they’re not.”

Examining Blended Learning

Some practices caught in the dispute may actually align more with blended learning, which retains in-person instructors but reshapes the teacher’s job description with technology integration.

For example, a report from the University of Colorado at Boulder that suggests K-12 virtual education is growing at a rate that is unsafe, considering the lack of knowledge about its effectiveness, also makes clear that the breadth of research on the benefits of blended learning is far greater.

Some businesses and philanthropies—such as the Microsoft Corp. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, built upon the fortune of the company’s co-founder—that are taking heat from critics of online education are actually looking to channel dollars to blended-learning projects. The third wave of competitive grants—worth up to $12 million in total—in the Gates Foundation’s Next Generation Learning Challenges program will be awarded to applicants that design new blended-learning models, in part because of a belief that they are more reliable than purely online models for students who are at risk academically. (The Gates Foundation also provides grant support to Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit publisher of Education Week.)

Microsoft, meanwhile, announced this fall a new service to offer discounted hardware and software to teachers, as well as its participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s “Connect to Compete” broadband infrastructure project that would theoretically provide more blended-learning opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds.

“The hypothesis is that population needs the brick-and-mortar setting and all-around wraparound support that comes with that setting to succeed,” said Elina Alayeva, a program officer for the Next Generation Learning Challenges with Educause, the Boulder, Colo.-based postsecondary-technology advocacy group that is managing the competition.

Meanwhile, even as critics of online learning have called for proof that fully virtual schools can be effective enough to justify public investment, they have shown awareness that quality in such programs can vary greatly.

For instance, at a Virtual School Symposium presentation from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, audience members disputed the notion that a student who failed a course should have to demonstrate a set amount of time needed to retake the course online instead of just demonstrating competency in the subject. But NCAA officials reasoned that their experience with athletes who may attach themselves to digital “diploma mills” is far different from the experience of other cyber educators.

“Some athletes are short of qualifying and need quick fixes,” Nick Sproull, the NCAA’s assistant director of high school review, said to his audience. “Our majority might be your minority, which is a difficult reality.”

‘Hollow Experience’?

That’s not to say all who know the breadth of online options available are convinced that any such offering can be equivalent to a live classroom.

Gene V. Glass, a senior researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s National Education Policy Center and a co-author of its recent report calling for more state regulation for online learning, said he staunchly opposes the use of public funding for any virtual programs.

“This is a hollow experience for kids, and for many of the kids it’s hardly an experience at all,” Mr. Glass said in an interview. “I haven’t seen a good experience in this whole area. I haven’t seen anything but greedy companies paying off politicians.”

But the report’s other co-author, Kevin G. Welner, a professor of education at the university and the director of the education policy center, said the evidence on the effectiveness of fully online virtual schools shows only that more evidence is needed.

“It’s not that there aren’t good things to be had or good things going on,” Mr. Welner said. “It’s publicly funded education, but without the usual safeguards that we attach to public education.”

This article was originally posted at http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/11/23/13virtual.h31.html?tkn=XQRFUWyRyB1Bl6F%2FcK8UvsJlEuCCP3UySE32&cmp=clp-edweek

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