Third Annual Survey of School and District Leaders Rates Critical Success Factors for Online and Blended Learning Programs

November 24, 2014

Educators Also Weigh in on Personalized Learning in Fuel EducationTMSurvey Report

HERNDON, Virginia, November 24, 2014—When it comes to providing a digital learning experience for students, nearly three times as many district- and school-level leaders throughout the country are opting to implement blended learning models over fully online models, according to personalized learning provider Fuel Education’s third annual benchmark survey on best practices in implementing online and blended learning in K-12 school districts. When asked how to measure quality of those programs, the most commonly noted metric is in-year academic progress.

The survey, conducted by MDR’s EdNET Insight, targeted superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum directors, principals and teachers who have had experience implementing online learning programs. This year’s research was supplemented with phone interviews with Fuel Education customers who shared their experiences offering digital programs. A total of 173 leaders responded from districts that were fairly evenly distributed by size. Urban, suburban, and rural districts were all represented, with the largest number of responses—37 percent—coming from rural districts.

When asked to rank the most critical attributes for success in implementing digital learning programs, respondents cited:

  • offering rigorous and engaging curriculum;
  • tracking student progress with reporting tools;
  • having teachers available to intervene/assist struggling students; and
  • providing students with training and clear expectations for the program.

The ranking of these attributes differed slightly between blended programs and full-time online programs.

This year a new question was introduced to determine how districts define what a personalized learning experience should look like from the student’s perspective. A number of factors were rated as effective in creating a personalized learning experience, with flexibility rated highest. Survey participants also offered additional insights for implementing successful digital programs, such as using research, tapping into state and national resources, helping teachers shift from their traditional roles, and using data to identify students’ needs and to track progress.

"As more educators choose to provide their students blended learning programs, they recognize that it is critical to begin with high-quality curriculum as well as technology tools that can pinpoint student needs and provide detailed tracking and reporting," said Gregg Levin, general manager of Fuel Education. “District and school leaders who have implemented online and blended learning programs understand that it takes a lot more than providing laptops, internet access, and digital curricula to create an effective personalized learning experience.”

For a copy of Fuel Education’s “Benchmark Study 2014: Third Annual Review of Best Practices for Implementing Online and Blended Learning in K-12 School Districts,” visit

Fuel Education solutions enable districts to transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company supports districts with a variety of online and blended programs, ranging from catalog expansion for low-enrollment or hard-to-staff courses, to hospital/homebound education, to full-time school programs, language exposure and learning, alternative education, remediation and kindergarten readiness, among others.

About MDR’s EdNet Insight

MDR is the leading U.S. provider of education marketing information and services. MDR’s EdNET Insight is the K-12 education industry’s premier information and consulting service, combining the proven power of research and analysis with recognized industry experts to deliver an insightful, comprehensive view of the trends and influences that are shaping the education market today—and tomorrow. For more information on EdNET Insight, go to

About Fuel Education

Fuel Education™ partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through 12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education offers the industry’s largest catalog of digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. FuelEd has helped 2,000 school districts to improve student outcomes and better serve diverse student populations. To learn more, visit and Twitter.

©2014 Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Fuel Education and FuelEd are trademarks of Fuel Education LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Beth Halloran