IT Vendors: Beware the Overselling of K-12 Virtual Education

Deltek Sr. Manager Chris Dixon reports.

A recent Associated Press story on K-12 distance learning perfectly captures all the perils IT vendors face in the overselling of virtual learning. IT vendors should recognize that the potential total number of students who can be enrolled in K-12 online programs is limitless. However, the real gains from online learning will come as supplements to the bricks-and-mortar high school classrooms (i.e., blended online-onsite learning), not as a replacement for these classrooms.
Let’s take at look at the hype around virtual learning with excerpts from the AP story: “But as states pour money into virtual classrooms, with an estimated 200,000 virtual K-12 students in 40 states from Washington to Wisconsin … regulation isn’t moving nearly as fast as the virtual school boom.”
Unfortunately, few reliable data sources exist for virtual school enrollment. Most widely cited statistics are produced by organizations with a stake in promoting such a boom. A 2009 U.S. Department of Education meta-study, which is cited in the AP story, offers this statistic:

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For further analysis, please read the complete analyst recap, located here.

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