Using Online Learning for “Designer” Educational Experiences


Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 1:00am

In a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, it’s difficult to enable students to move at their own pace because it is simply not feasible to slow an entire class down for students who are not grasping the material, or speed it up and press ahead for those who learn it quickly or already know it.

And because some courses are hard to staff locally with a certified teacher or there isn’t enough demand to justify the course, traditional schools sometimes are unable to offer students important learning opportunities. For example, language courses are often limited to some variation of French, German or Spanish. Simultaneously, languages such as Arabic, Mandarin or Russian—some of the most in-demand languages in today’s job market—are simply unavailable.

Today, online learning is eliminating these barriers and making a more personalized learning experience a reality. Utilizing online courses and working with an online learning provider, today’s schools can work collaboratively with their vendor to create a “designer” educational experience that addresses these concerns.

By developing programs in blended and online learning environments, schools can enable their students to progress through subject matter at their own pace. Schools can also utilize these programs to expand and diversify their course catalogs and bring new educational opportunities to their students, without straining their budget.

The Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Washington, is a great example of “designer” educational experiences in action. The district serves approximately 27,000 students in an area of Washington State that is a suburb of Portland, Oregon. The district is comprised of four high schools, six middle schools and 20 elementary schools.

According to Ted Feller, the Executive Director of Secondary Education for the Evergreen School District, online learning allowed the district to “start with a virtual learning experience, move to a blended learning experience and then start moving to designer experiences—ones in which the individualized instruction really mattered because the population in which we were serving were very unique in terms of what we were looking to accomplish.”

Leveraging online learning courses and partnering with FuelEd, the Evergreen School District now offers credit recovery, world languages, and blended learning to more than 2,000 students. These programs enable students that struggle in a traditional learning environment, or those that need flexibility in their education, to take control of their learning, while enabling the district to tailor the educational experience to the student.

World language programs are also expanding the district’s language course catalog from just American Sign Language and Spanish—which were available on campus—to include German, French and Mandarin Chinese.  In fact, all of Evergreen’s middle schools now offer online world language courses in language labs during one period each day.  Many students are earning high school credits before they enter high school. Learn more about Evergreen’s multiple online programs in Fuel Education’s case study and video.

The traditional, inflexible, one-size-fits-all approach to learning is no longer the only way to educate students. Today’s tools and technologies are making it possible to offer a “designer” educational experience that is truly tailored to student needs. To learn more about how online and blended learning programs can help personalize learning and create a more “designer” experience in your school or district, download the white paper, “Fueling a Personalized Learning Revolution,” from our Resource Center.


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