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Educational Research and Online Learning

So you need to do some research in the area of online learning? Or maybe you are looking for information or data to inform some decision-making. It can be difficult at times to weed through the vast landscape of the internet to zero in on the information that you need. Instead of spinning your wheels and wasting time that you probably do not have, let us help. Below is a listing and brief description of high quality sources for information and educational research on online learning, digital media, and technology. Click on the header to access the website of each source.


iNACOL provides training and resources that center around their mission of “transforming educational systems.” As part of this, they commission and write reports, complete research, and provide professional learning opportunities. One example is a report titled Blended Learning: The Evolution of Online and Face-to-Face Education from 2008-2015. They have also built out a set of frameworks and guides to help districts implement blended and online learning. For example, they developed the website: https://www.onlineprogramhowto.org/ that guides districts in setting up an online program.

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute was developed and is directed by the state legislature and focuses on research topics in blended and online learning. Much of this research is in the state of Michigan, but they also do research across the country and even internationally. Because the state of Michigan requires each student to complete a course in an online environment, they have a wealth of data from which to pull to look at the effectiveness of online education. As their website says, “The work of  the MVLRI is internationally recognized for providing accurate research that is utilized throughout the education industry to empower educators and support learned of all ages.”

Evergreen Education Group

The Evergreen Education Group researches and analyzes market data around online and blended learning to provide organizations with the information they need to make informed decisions. For example, the first edition of Insights and Trends highlighted a recent study the group put out that focused on the policies and practices of digital learning for rural school districts across america. Their reports and data are relevant and recent.

Research for ACTION

Research for Action uses research to provide recommendations to policy makers with the intent of strengthening public education. Much of their work focuses on minority student and teacher groups. For example, a recent publication is titled Patching the Leaky Pipeline: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Pennsylvania. Historically, their research has been more qualitative, but recently, they have started to include more quantitative works.

Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA)

PSBA is a nonprofit group created to support local school board members by providing tools and training. Whereas the first four on this list were sources of research and reports, the PSBA site does a great job of tracking current new stories related to education. They do this via a daily newsletter called the Daily EDition. They also put out school law focused reports as well as a survey of current legislative happenings. For example, they put out a special 2018 election report which is highlighted in the November issue of Insights and Trends.