Policy Documents

Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills

November 1, 2006

Online learning through virtual schools is one of the most important advancements in attempting to rethink the effectiveness of education in the United States. The virtual school provides access to online, collaborative and self-paced learning environments—settings that can facilitate 21st Century skills. Today’s students must be able to combine these skills with the effective use of technology to succeed in current and future jobs.

The full promise of virtual learning is dependent, however, on its ability to incorporate 21st century skills in its instructional design, delivery and implementation. Virtual school leaders, administrators and teachers must ensure that students who learn in online environments are gaining the skills necessary to compete as citizens and workers in the 21st century. This document attempts to articulate a vision for 21st century learning in virtual schools, and identify ways in which online learning can improve outcomes for all students.