Online Learning: Changing the Face of Education

Online Learning: Changing the Face of Education
Online Learning: Changing the Face of Education


Technology is transforming education.  Federal, state, and local education leaders are exploring ways in which technology can be integrated into the classroom as a means of promoting student achievement and preparing students for the 21st century workforce.  Online learning is one of the many technological advances that is expanding popular conceptions of where learning occurs, who facilitates learning and instruction, how teachers are prepared and provided with ongoing professional development, what constitutes an effective curriculum, how skills and knowledge are assessed, how time is used, and the manner in which resources are allocated for equitable outcomes.

This forum, structured as a conversation with our presenters, provided an overview of where progress stands in regards to online learning.  Allison Powell, vice president of iNACOL, addressed the rapid growth of online learning, and Holly Sagues, Chief Policy Officer of Florida Virtual School, discussed how Florida has used online learning to expand access to public school courses.  Both presenters addressed the value of both online and blended learning models; how classrooms and instruction methods are changing; and the new roles of teachers and implications for their development and training.  The presenters also discussed challenges of these new ways of learning, including program quality, online safety, adequate funding, and seat-time requirements.  Federal policies and state initiatives and policies were addressed in this interactive discussion.

Presenter Biographies

Dr. Allison Powell is the Vice President for State and District Services of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) which provides expertise and leadership in K12 Online Learning. Before joining iNACOL, Allison taught in both face to face and online K-8 environments. She helped build the Clark County School District’s Virtual High School and an online professional development program for the Nevada school district.  She has served as a board member for several organizations and universities. She completed her doctorate from Pepperdine University in educational technology.

Holly Sagues is the Chief Policy Officer for Florida Virtual School. A graduate from UCF, Holly believes virtual education will soon become mainstream to the extent that all students will have opportunities to participate. She also believes that FLVS pioneered us to this point. Holly taught in a traditional classroom for eight years before joining FLVS in 1998, where she developed and taught four online courses. As the former Chief Information Officer, she lead the scalability of FLVS information technology systems from 10,000 enrollments in 2001 to over 100,000 enrollments in 2008. In her current position as Chief Strategist and Policy Officer, Holly developed the FLVS Strategic Plan 2008-2013 and “implemented a balanced scorecard approach to performance management to foster greater innovation and future growth.” She works closely with legislative leaders to formulate digital learning policies.

A tender of gardens as well as students, Holly believes “students will grow as we pay attention to their needs.“ She sees her role as one of meticulously ensuring that the strategic goals match the day-to-day activities—and that the initiatives, goals, metrics and guidelines of the school are met or exceeded in a timely fashion on behalf of the students and families that FLVS serves.

Recommended Resources

Online Schools

Online Schools provides a national directory of colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer online educational options. Online Schools has created a comprehensive database chock-full of information that prospective students are looking for. We have mined more than 6,000 school catalogs to build a full list of online learning options in the United States, with the data located all in one place for easy access and comparison.  Available at:

Updated 4/15/2013
Resources and Glossary of Terms Related to Online and Blended Learning»

Online and Blended Learning Issue Brief»

Presenter Information

Allison Powell

Vice President


1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350

Vienna, VA 22182-4040


Holly Sagues

Chief Policy Officer

Florida Virtual School

2145 Metrocenter Blvd., Suite 200

Orlando, FL 32835



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.