Education Week has just published a big set of articles on what they call “E-learning,” which others generally have called digital learning or sometimes distance learning.
One of those EdWeek articles (subscription) discusses a potentially huge advantage for E-courses thanks to states moving to common standards.
If the Common Core State Standards effort works as hoped, for the first time there will be considerable commonality from state to state in what courses are to provide. This change will remove a huge inefficiency in the current world of creating educational materials like textbooks and digital instructional programs for the various different states. In the future, one set of coursework could be developed that should be acceptable in any Common Core state.
That offers the potential for E-learning publishers to collect some of the very best education talent in the country to do the job just one time, instead of 50 times.
There are still some hurdles to overcome before this ideal situation is realized.
Common assessments have yet to be created, and they have to be aligned with the courses and standards if valid results are to be obtained.
Also, state education groups have a long history of going separate ways and plenty of selfishly guarded political turf in various states will get shredded if it becomes possible for one set of courses to serve all states.
However, with education dollars getting tighter every year, the simultaneous trend towards E-learning and common standards seems likely to create a major change in the way students are educated in this country. The potential for efficient, and higher performing educational programs is definitely there.