The global race for online learning: How does America compare?

The potential for K-12 online learning in the U.S. is still being realized. It seems that every year the amount of K-12 students taking courses online grows exponentially, fueled by a trickle-down effect from college offerings and the rise of Massive Open Online Courses, The Huffington Post reports.

Consider these statistics:

  • Over 1.8 million K-12 students took distance-learning courses during the 2009-10 school year.
  • 275,000 K-12 students were enrolled full-time in online schools during the 2011-12 school year.
  • Five states (Florida, Michigan, Idaho, Virginia and Alabama) require high school students to take at least one online course in order to graduate.
  • 450 percent — that is the rise in students enrolled full-time in online public schools since 2006.
  • 31 states had fully online school options in 2012, up from only 18 in 2007.

It seems that the tip of the iceberg has not even been chipped when it comes to online K-12 learning in the U.S. But how do we measure up to other countries? The short answer is that the U.S. is the leader in online learning due in part to our widespread access to broadband Internet and how common it is in households and schools. Other nations are racing to catch up, though.

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