Policy Documents

Virtual Learning in Online Schools

Michael Van Beek –

Michigan should expand leadership role in online education; thousands of K-12 students currently participate in hundreds of online programs throughout the state, but unnecessary restrictions limit educational opportunities, according to a study from Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy think tank. Published January 27, 2011, shows that thousands of Michigan’s students are now enrolled in hundreds of virtual courses as part of their primary and secondary education. “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools,” authored by Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek, focuses on a new mode of instruction that involves remote teachers or specially designed software guiding student learning via computers and the Internet. Van Beek reviewed national research and evidence from other states that indicate students can perform as well or better in virtual learning environments, and that virtual learning can also reduce educational costs.