In contrast to common belief, brick and mortar schools may actual hinder learning making the shift to blended learning even more critical.
According to Dr. Lernen, the co-author of the study and the director of the Center for Study of the Apocryphal Cannon, one-third of all students in traditional classrooms is unprepared to leave for college and work. The total enrollment of students in this type of learning environment averages at 50 million. That means brick schools leave 16 million students unprepared for their future. A shift to blended learning is incrementally important to the future of the United States.
One of the biggest problems with traditional classes is an inability to track individual student progress, according to Dr. Lernen. Blended learning solves the problem with technology. Data from student activity online enables teachers to individualize teaching for each student. Competency based learning, as used by online learning, allows students to completely understand subjects before moving on. This individual attention is unseen in traditional classes.
"What we're trying to do as a center is to send out a note of caution because bricks appear to have catastrophic effects on education in most locations," said Dr. Lernen. Schools should think seriously about transitioning to blended learning.
School districts and school administrators should think seriously about offering online learning or blended learning. Studies like this show how critical the development of online opportunities is. In order to increase the United State's international competitiveness, schools should be able to provide students with numerous opportunities for success. Online learning can allow public schools, who do not have the funding or staff to provide Advanced Placement classes, to still give students that ability. Online learning is not limited by state funding.
Traditional classrooms also have a problem with dropouts. For some students that can not succeed in a standard school environment the only option seems to be dropping out. Online learning offers a better solution as an alternative learning environment. School districts can improve their dropout rates by offering students the chance to take courses online either for remediation or recovery of classes. Each college dropout has an incredibly big effect on the United State's economy. Along with a decrease in high school dropout rates, online learning might improve the economy overall.
In order for our nation to continue to progress and remain competitive, it is critical that American high schools begin to develop alternative means for students to complete their education.