Virtual courses are quickly becoming an important overlay to portfolio strategy (last post) as Paul Hill pointed out yesterday at Yale Edu Leaders Conference.

Virtual schools offer full school and course alternatives.  In the next year I think we’ll get to the point where every student in America has access to high quality (first gen) college prep courses online (assuming states like NY, NJ, CT get onboard and develop/authorize options).

These offerings are decidedly first gen–flat and sequential.  Over the next 36 months we’ll begin to see more comprehensive second gen offerings–engaging and adaptive.

Things get really interesting when we have some version of choice to the lesson/learning object level.  We’ll need to invent new ways for teachers and kids to access this stuff.  That will soon include smart recommendation engines that can queue content (see School of One).

The point is this–online learning is mature enough to be fully incorporated into portfolio strategies.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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