Of That

Brandt Redd on Education, Technology, Energy, and Trust

14 October 2011

On Track for 50% of High School Courses Online by 2019

In the 2008 book, Disrupting Class, Clayton Christensen applied his theories of disruptive innovation to education. By that time, disruptive innovation had been studied well enough that Christensen and his colleagues could predict the adoption curve of such an innovation. It's an impressive feat -- telling us how soon something new is going to impact our lives.

They predicted that by 2014, 25% of high school courses would be taken online and that by 2019 fully half of them will be taught that way. When Christensen and his colleagues talk about online education, they include blended or hybrid formats in that bucket. This is important because the evidence shows that it's a blend of online materials and personal attention that results in superior learning outcomes.

In a recent Washington Post Column, Christensen and co-author Michael Horn offer an update citing emerging examples like Khan Academy in Los Altos and Rocketship Education. "In the year 2000, roughly 45,000 K-12 students took an online course. In 2010, roughly 4 million did." Then they reassert their prediction of 50% of high school courses online by 2019.

Three years into the prediction, we seem to be on track.


  1. Just look to higher ed for a preview of things to come to K-12 public ed. Thomas Friedman has a good piece on the coming revolution in higher ed this week:

    Thomas L. Friedman: Higher-ed revolution on right course http://bit.ly/LKaq2i

  2. I am a big fan of online education just as long as they are receiving the same education they would be getting sitting in a classroom. I also believe that the number of students getting online high school credits is going to increase dramatically by 2019. We live in a world of technology now, sooner or later the education system is going to have to be a part of that.