• Anthony G. Picciano
  • Jeff Seaman




Online Learning, Distance Learning, Blended Learning, Distance Education, Asynchronous Learning, Primary Education, Secondary Education, K–12


The research literature on online learning has grown significantly in the past decade. Many studies have been published that examine the extent, nature, policies, learning outcomes, and other issues associated with online instruction. While much of this literature focuses specifically on postsecondary education with approximately three million students presently enrolled in fully online courses [1], not as much has been published about students enrolled in fully online and blended courses in primary and secondary schools. This is one of the first studies to collect data on and to compare fully online and blended learning in K–12 schools. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of online learning in K–12 schools and to establish base data for more extensive future studies. Issues related to planning, operational difficulties, and online learning providers were also examined. This study does not necessarily answer all of the issues raised but hopefully will promote further discussion and study of them.


Allen, I. E. and J. Seaman. Making the Grade: Online Learning in the United States, 2006. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium, 2006.

Watson, J. Keeping pace with online learning: A review of state level policy and practice. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates/North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2005.

Laster, S., G. Otte, A. G. Picciano and S. Sorg. Redefining blended learning. Presentation at the 2005 Sloan-C Workshop on Blended Learning, Chicago, IL, April 18, 2005.

Saulny, S. Home schoolers content to take children’s lead. New York Times, November 26, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/education/26unschool.html


Berge, Z. L. and T. Clark. Virtual Schools: Planning for Success. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.

Clark, T. Virtual schools: Trends and issues. Phoenix, AZ: WestEd Distance Learning Resource Network, 2001. Retrieved November 25, 2006. http://www.wested.org/cs/we/view/rs/610.

Setzer, J. C. and L. Lewis. Distance education courses for public elementary and secondary school students: 2002–03 (NCES 2005–010). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2005.

Smith, R., T. Clark and R. L. Blomeyer. A synthesis of new research on K–12 online learning. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates, 2005.

Boria, R. R. States given guidance on online teaching, e-school costs. Education Week, September 20, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2006. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/09/20/04virtual.h26.html.

Cavanaugh, C., K. J. Gillan, J. Kromey, M. Hess and R. Blomeyer. The effects of distance education on K–12 student outcomes: A meta-analysis. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates, 2004.

U.S. Department of Education. Toward a new golden age in American technology: How the internet, the law and today’s students are revolutionizing expectations. National Educational Technology Plan 2004. http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/plan/2004/plan.pdf.

Florida Virtual School. FLV Facts, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2007. http://www.flvs.net/educators/fact_sheet.php.

CCSD Virtual School. About CCSD Virtual High School, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2007. http://www.ccsdde.net/community/about.htm.

U.S. Department of Education. Issue brief: 1.1 million students home-schooled students in the United States in 2003. National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2004-115, July 2004. Retrieved January 13, 2007. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf.

Young, J. Interview. The American Journal of Distance Education 20(4): 245–248, 2007.






Empirical Studies