Study Highlights Continual Upward Growth of Online Education | News
Across the country, enrollment in online learning has increased by 80% the past five years, with more than 2.7 million students currently choosing online learning. In a recent study by Research and Markets, virtual learning is expected to become even more prominent in the future. Across Michigan, schools such as Michigan Connections Academy (MICA) and Great Lakes Cyber Academy (GLCA) – statewide, tuition-free, public online schools – are meeting the growing demand from students and families.
The study, titled Virtual Schools Market in North America 2017-2021, cites that online schools are expected to grow at a compounded rate of 12.82 percent across the United States over the next five years. Online education appeals to all types of students and families for a range of reasons. According to a 2015 third-party survey of parents of online students, the top reasons for choosing virtual school include the desire for a more flexible schedule, wanting a change in the learning environment from their current school situation and wanting a safe learning environment.
“Schools must evolve in order to provide students with the skills they’ll need to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Bryan Klochack, principal of MICA. “Virtual schools offer students an opportunity to gain invaluable experience that will benefit them long after graduation – from time management to working remotely. It’s really not surprising that online learning is taking off and increasing in popularity among students and parents.”
Unlike most schools, MICA and GLCA offer regular biweekly phone calls between families and teachers. Teachers personally dedicate their time outside of lesson plans to call and check up on families, allowing parents or guardians a chance to ask questions, or address any concerns. In the most recent Parent Satisfaction Survey at both schools, 96% of parents said they were satisfied with the helpfulness of their child’s teachers, while 92% of parents reported that the teachers improved their child’s learning experience through regular response times. Instead of rare parent-teacher conferences that only occur once or twice a year in other schools, families of MICA and GLCA are welcome to build relationships with teachers through more frequent interaction.
“People commonly mistake virtual school with home school,” said Heather Ballien, principal of GLCA. “One significant difference is that virtual schools like Michigan Connections Academy and Great Lakes Cyber Academy have a large team of exceptional teachers leading classes. Additionally, students have access to a rigorous curriculum that meets state standards, and they can learn wherever there is an Internet connection.”
Learn more about the growth of online learning by signing up for a free online or in-person informational session. Visit MICA at www.michiganconnectionsacademy.com or GLCA at www.greatlakescyberacademy.com.