Last updated: 12.05.12

Online learning takes off in Phoenix

E-learning is making a significant impact in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona.

According to the East Valley Tribute, people are seeking out education in the Mesa Unified School District's traditional establishments because of the region's strong online learning platforms.

Its Mesa Distance Learning Programme (MDLP) was one of the first online training schemes the state approved in the 1990s.

Around two years ago, there were 9,000 students taking classes in the district, but this has risen to 14,000, MDLP coordinator Doug Barnard told the publication.

Furthermore, the unified school districts of Chandler and Gilbert have enabled people to engage in online education full-time.

Last year, around 2,200 e-learning modules being taken through this platform, but this has doubled to around 4,400 of these so-called 'open courses'.

The region has offered distance learning online for approximately nine years and the scheme is coordinated by Scott Lymer.

He estimates around 150 students are taking these classes full-time, with 3,500 individuals using them to bolster their studies.

Some of the participants could have struggled in traditional classroom settings but have been able to realise success through these innovative educational tools.

Other people have taken advantage of this opportunity because health problems have made it difficult for them to attend school or have resulted in them missing days of education.

For example, 16-year-old Melody Kirshberg was normally a good student but began finding it hard to keep up after suffering from stomach issues.

She utilised e-learning for help and managed to take her final exam in Geometry last week.

Ms Kirshberg is also studying English, trigonometry and biology through this platform and is finding it easier to stay on top of her subjects.

"I love it. You can go at your own pace. You don't have to wait if someone else doesn't get it. I find it so much fun," she told the news source.

"All children, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and gender, deserve access to an excellent education," Arizona Department of Education's superintendent of public instruction John Huppenthal recently said.