Summing Up

Michael K. Barbour and Tom Clark

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This chapter summarizes the findings of contributed chapters in the book about online, blended, and distance learning programs in schools, about what educators in North America and internationally can learn from each other, and key policy and practice issues that need to be addressed. Lessons learned and effective practices are shared from a variety of programs in six countries. Advice by chapter contributors is synthesized on key program practice issues such as teaching, curriculum, technology, and management, and key policy issues such as academic quality, the role of government, and educational equity. The chapter concludes with eight global trends for online, blended, and distance learning in schools.

Discussion Questions

1. Keeler (Chapter 2) notes the importance of high-quality instructional design and content. Darrow (Chapter 4) notes that a wide range of open educational resources are available to integrate into online and blended courses. What are the advantages and disadvantages in using open educational resources content in online and blended learning?

2. . The authors of the UK and Australia case studies note a national curriculum focus on digital literacy that leaves digital learning policy to state-level education agencies. The South Korea chapter authors describe a national e-learning system connected to policy goals. Is one way or the other a better way of promoting online and blended learning in a nation's schools? Justify your views.

3. Might policies that promote development of blended schools help to address quality concerns surrounding full-time online schools in the U. S.? If you believe these concerns are invalid, explain your views. If you think they are valid, please explain how blended schools could help.

4. How can online and blended teachers use adaptive learning and adaptive testing via technology to promote student learning?

5. In this chapter, the co-editors present 8 key trends for the future of online, blended, and distance education in schools: global and evidence-based, mobile and open, blended and facilitated, and personalized and adaptive. Are there other trends you think are important to consider?

Additional Resources

For recent survey reports on K-12 Online Learning Activity in North America and internationally, see Additional Resources in Chapter 1.


Barbour, M. K., Morrison, J., & Adelstein, D. (2014). The forgotten teachers in K-12 online learning: Examining the perceptions of teachers who develop K-12 online courses. International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design, 4(3), 18-33. Retrieved from


Beck, D., & Maranto, R. (2014). Empowering teachers? An exporatory study of personnel practices in virtual charter schools in the United States. Journl of Open, Flexibile, and Distance Learning, 18)2). Retrieved from

Larson, J. S. (2014). Demographics and preparation levels of K-12 online teachers. (Doctoral dissertation) Arizona State University. Retrieved from https://repository.asu.edu/attachments/134872/content/Larson_asu_0010E_13736.pdf

Management & Policy

Barbour, M. K., Clark, T., DeBruler, K., & Bruno, J. A. (2014). Evaluation and approval constructs for online and blended courses and providers. Lansing, MI: Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute at MVU. Retrieved from
http://media. mivu.org/institute/pdf/eval_constructs.pdf

Molnar, A. (Ed.); Rice, J.K., Huerta, L., Shafer, S. R., Barbour, M.K., Miron, G., Gulosino, C, Horvitz, B. (2014). Virtual schools in the U.S. 2014: politics, performance, policy, and research evidence. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/virtual-schools-annual-2014

Rice, K. (2014). Research and history of policies in K-12 online and blended learning. Retrieved from

Trends: Global and Evidence-Based

Daniel, J. (2013, February). ICTs in global learning/teaching/training. Moscow: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Retrieved from http://iite.unesco.org/pics/publications/en/files/3214713.pdf

Ferdig, R. E., & Kennedy, K. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of K-12 Blended and Online Learning Research.Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press. Retrieved from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Handbook-Blended-Learning_Ferdig-Kennedy-etal_web.pdf

Final WSIS target review: achievements, challenges and the way forward. Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development. Geneva: ITU. Retrieved from http://www.uis.unesco.org/Communication/Documents/wsis-final-targets-review-2014.pdf

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. (2010). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

Trends: Mobile and Open

Barbour, Michael; Grzebyk, Tamme Quinn; and Eye, John, "Any time, any place, any pace-really? Examining mobile learning in a virtual school environment" (2014). Education Faculty Publications. Paper 116. Retrieved from

Baran, E. (2014). A Review of research on mobile learning in teacher education. Educational Technology & Society, 17 (4), 17–32. Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/17_4/2.pdf

CCSSO. (2014, November). State of the states: open educational resources in K-12 education. Retrieved from

Murray, J. (2014). Open education: A revolution of resources and community. TCC Worldwide Online Conference. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/149829/proceedings_149829.pdf

Trends: Personalized and Adaptive

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. (2014, June 23). Personalization v Differentiation v Individualization (PDI) Chart (Version 3). Retrieved from http://www.personalizelearning.com/2013/03/new-personalization-vs-differentiation.html

Enyedy, N. (2014). Personalized instruction: new interest, old rhetoric, limited results, and the need for a new direction for computer-mediated learning. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from

RAND Corporation. (2014, November). Early progress: Interim research on personalized learning. Seattle, WA: Gates Foundation. Retrieved from

Waters, J. K. (2014, April). Adaptive learning: are we there yet? T H E Journal, 41, (4). Retrieved from

Trends: Blended and Facilitated

Barbour, M. K. (2014). A history of international K-12 online and blended instruction . In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds)., Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning (pp. 25-50). Pittsburgh, PA: Entertainment Technology Center Press, Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Handbook-Blended-Learning_Ferdig-Kennedy-etal_web.pdf

Dikkers, A. G., Whiteside, A. L., & Lewis, S. (2014, December). Do you blend? Huntley High School does. eLearn Magazine. Retrieved from http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2686759

K-12 Education Trends

Hanover Research. (2013, December). Future trends in K-12 education. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2014-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf


Barbour, M. K., Brown, R., Waters, L. H., Hoey, R., Hunt, J. L., Kennedy, K., Ounsworth, C., Powell, A., & Trimm, T. (2011). Online and blended learning: A survey of policy and practice around the world. Vienna, VA: International Association for K–12 Online Learning. Retrieved from

Cavanaugh, C. (2012). MOORC: Massively open online research community. Paper presented at the New Trends on Global Education Conference, Kyrenia, North Cyprus.

Christensen, C. M., Horn, M. B., & Staker , H. (2013). Is K–12 blended learning disruptive? San Mateo, CA: Innosight Institute. Retrieved from http://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/hybrids

Education Growth Advisors. (2013). Learning to adapt: Understanding the adaptive learning supplier landscape. Stamford, CT: Author. Retrieved from http://edgrowthadvisors.com/researchpaper-1

Izmestiev, D. (2012). Personalized learning: A new ICT-enabled education approach. Moscow: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Retrieved from http://iite.unesco.org/pics/publications/en/files/3214716.pdf

Selywn, N. (2012). Education in a digital world. London: Routledge.

UNESCO. (2013). UNESCO policy guidelines for mobile learning. Paris: Author. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641E.pdf

U.S. Department of Education. (2010). National educational technology plan. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010

Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2012). Keeping pace with K–12 online and blended learning. Evergreen, CO: Evergreen Education Group. Retrieved from http://kpk12.com/reports