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How parents and students in traditional schooling view online learning

Posted on Jan 24, 2014

The Center has recently conducted a series of focus groups in Florida to examine perceptions of virtual schools.

We wanted to capture these perceptions because, as researchers, we believe these are the key to the enrollment and the retention of students who might participate in these programs.

Using a sample of students and parents from elementary, middle, and high school, we focused on families that had a student enrolled full-time in brick and mortar school (our term for traditional schools as opposed to fully online schools). Aside from just asking participants what they thought about virtual schools, our focus groups also included discussions around perceived strengths, weaknesses, and differences between learning environments.

Here are some of the findings so far:
• a belief that online schools require greater time and resource commitment on the part of the parents
• a belief that certain traits made people better suited to the style of learning which takes place in the virtual school
• a belief that virtual schools are appropriate for students in all age groups and for most disability categories

Researchers have completed a white paper that summarizes these points and other themes from the study.


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