In just one decade, virtual learning has exploded, with two massive statewide full-time virtual schools in Florida and North Carolina, and more on the way. As online learning is taking off, new research is finding that it may not be the most effective way to teach children, and virtual companies have begun to see that a purely virtual approach has its limits. A key report put out by the U.S. Department of Education in September 2010 demonstrated that a blend of face-to-face instruction and online learning produced the greatest academic gains. Now, not only are traditional schools looking for more online options, but virtual schools in turn are adding bits of brick and mortar to their offerings. Once purely virtual schools—sometimes referred to as 'clicks'—are adding bricks in a variety of ways, Horn says. Some have added check-in centers where students can come by once a week to meet with peers and teachers. Others are moving to a type of hybrid model, with some online instruction with virtual teachers coupled with mentors and in-person teachers who rotate through a building, pulling students out for small group instruction, remediation, or acceleration.
BRIGID SCHULTE, Harvard Education Letter, 2011