Research and Practice in Virtual Schooling: A Review of the Literature - Michael Barbour, Cathy Cavanaugh & Tom Clark

This session will provide the lessons that have been learned from this research, which teachers and administrators can use as they begin, grow, and expand these innovative K-12 school reform initiatives. While online learning programs have evolved and grown, the amount of research on virtual schooling is limited to practitioner reports and experimental and quasi-experimental studies. This paper reviews the online sources of literature and reports on a content analysis of documents. Themes include steady growth, a focus on the benefits and challenges, along with broad effectiveness.

Session slides: lit-review.ppt

UStream recording available here and here.

Links to cell phone polls we used in the presentation:

What would you like to know from the K-12 online learning literature?
Text CAST 20575 and your message to 41411 polls/MTk0NDcwMDE0Mg
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What are your recommendations for researchers?
Text CAST 20620 and your message to 41411 polls/MTQ3OTMzMzQ0

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Gaps in the research:
1. Effective online teaching practices
2. Success factors for online learning and remediation
3. Effective k-12 learning communities
4. Quality of student learning experiences in virtual school environments, especially those of lower performing students

1. Partner with researchers and evaluators
2. Share results in written archive in quantitative or qualitative reports
3. Seek funding for sponsored research
4. Join with other schools in a study across multiple settings.

Dr. Barbour co-chairs NACOL research committee. Let the committee know of research needs you have.

Cathy Cavanaugh

Michael Barbour

Tom Clark

I just completed a doctoral dissertation, Learning to Teach Online: A Study of High School Teachers’ Experiences, and would be happy to discuss the findings. I can be reached at