STAMFORD, CT--(Marketwired - Apr 3, 2013) - The market for K-12 online courses has been growing at a double-digit rate annually for the last several years. This fast-growth market is valued at $2.5 billion in the 2012-2013 school year, according to PreK-12 Online Course Market Forecast 2013, a new education market report from Simba Information.
The rapid-pace growth for online courses is expected to continue into the foreseeable future as more districts launch virtual schools, and as those with online learning programs expand the number of courses offered and the number of students reached.
"Online learning fits very well within the current educational trends of differentiated learning and tight budgets," said Kathy Mickey, senior analyst and managing editor of the Education Group at Simba Information.
However, there are challenges that present a barrier toward faster adoption in many districts. District administrators and teachers that have not been involved yet with online courses may lack knowledge about how to proceed, and a high degree of skepticism remains in certain quarters about the validity of online learning. Some teachers express skepticism about online learning and their changing role in a landscape of online courses.
"This is changing as they see the effectiveness online learning can have for many students, as they embrace technology in their own lives, and as they are increasingly trained in teachers' colleges and in the workplace on their role and importance as a mentor and coach rather than primarily as a lecturer," Mickey said.
Still, many educators believe online courses would benefit from better accountability measures that are more consistent with those used for traditional classroom education. While skepticism regarding the effectiveness and credibility of online learning persist, other challenges loom including the regulatory landscape, which has been slow to accommodate the move toward online learning, and continued technology barriers in both rural and urban districts where students do not have computers or devices at home and the number of computers available on school properties is limited.
Despite such roadblocks, the nature of the online learning market promises to evolve in a number of key ways. States have been driving the growth in the market to a large degree, but more districts are getting involved in leading their own virtual programs. As that trend continues, the role of states will change, many observers believe, from one of being primarily a supplier of online courses to more of a supporter of district initiatives.
The new Simba report examines the evolution of virtual learning, the online course market size, the extent of adoption in school districts, and the challenges and driving forces of the movement toward online learning.
Additional information on the report can be found at www.simbainformation.com.
About Simba Information
Simba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industry. Simba's extensive information network delivers top quality, independent perspective on the people, events and alliances shaping the media and information industry. Simba publishes newsletters and research reports that provide key decision-makers at more than 15,000 client companies around the globe with timely news, analysis, exclusive statistics and proprietary industry forecasts. For more information, please visit www.simbainformation.com.