Last updated: 28.05.12

'Most US school districts' enable distance learning online

The majority (53 per cent) of public school districts in the US were taking advantage of online learning or other remote education tools in the 2009 to 2010 academic year.

This is according to the US Education Department's annual Condition of Education Report, which revealed that 1.3 million high school students were taking part in remote learning during the year, compared with just 300,000 five years earlier.

It defined distance education courses as those that are delivered by technology, grant credits and have either the instructor or course content developed and located in a different place than the students.

A total of 12 per cent of the nation's educational districts are enabling individuals to use online learning to fulfil all of the requirements of their high school graduation, with 22 per cent allowing people to take at least one full course load every term using this innovation.

Furthermore, the most popular model for remote education was through e-learning courses provided on the internet with asynchronous instruction, rather than simultaneous dialogue.

Overall, 63 per cent of the districts that provided distance learning revealed this was the primary mode of its deliverance.

Just 17 per cent of areas reported that the most frequent tool to provide this service was through two-way interactive video.

Virtual learning environments forming a digital school within the student's state provided the e-learning courses in 33 per cent of the districts that deliver remote education.

The most commonplace source for the provision of this service was through postsecondary educational facilities within the US, with this utilised in 50 per cent of regions, while 47 per cent took advantage of independent vendors.

"Educators all across our country are tackling tough issues in ways that just a few years ago seemed unimaginable," secretary of education Arne Duncan recently said to the Mom Congress.

He added: "This educational sea-change is a powerful shift that is beginning to fundamentally improve the lives of students. I can't tell you how much hope that gives me for the future."