Is online education cost-effective?
Abstract: In the current environment of fiscal tightening, many institutions see virtual and blended models of education as a means to reduce overall costs, while simultaneously increasing access to educational opportunities. However, few such interventions have been examined thoroughly to establish the all-in financial costs and weigh these against the benefits or effectiveness in terms of educational outcomes. This paper will review a number of recently reported cost analyses to examine whether they address all necessary considerations to make a fair comparison against more traditional forms of delivery. Subsequently, the paper will review current examples where K-12 schools or districts have adopted online learning models and examine assumptions made about the cost-effectiveness of these interventions. The ingredients method of cost analysis will be applied to one particular blended learning intervention, the School-of-One, to estimate the costs per student user of this intervention.