Implementing Online Learning Labs in Schools and Districts: Lessons From Miami-Dade’s First Year


As online learning programs become prevalent in U.S. schools, school and district leaders, teachers, and policy makers are looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance learning. This new SRI International report provides such a guide for creating successful blended learning programs that can benefit many students.

The report summarizes lessons learned from the pilot year (2010-2011) of the Virtual Learning Lab program, a collaborative effort between the Miami-Dade County public school district—one of the largest in the country—and the Florida Virtual School—a state-wide, Internet-based public high school with the highest enrollment in the country. SRI researchers collected information on 5,500 students in 38 public high schools through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and site visits to seven schools.
To help all students succeed in online learning lab programs, SRI found that schools should provide for students: orientation programs, ongoing support through lab facilitators, opportunities for interaction, and additional access to Internet-enabled computers outside of the scheduled lab time. There should be sufficient Internet connectivity, equipment, and technical support to allow all of the students to complete assignments on time, communicate with online instructors, and work off-site.

The report also details how to choose online courses and plan for staffing, technological, and financial needs.

Written by Bakia, M., Anderson, K., Heying, E., Keating, K., Mislevy, J.

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    Implementing Online Learning Labs in Schools and Districts