Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Study on Effectiveness of Online Learning

The Department of Education has just released a new report on the effectiveness of online learning. (You can find the whole report here, or read an article about the report and some reader commentary at Inside Higher Ed here.)

The report's basic finding is that online education is more effective in producing student learning than face-to-face education, and that blended learning (what we call hybrids) is the most effective of all. There are some interesting nuances in the report about why this is so, and about what types of online materials matter. For instance, activities like watching videos and taking quizzes online don't produce any greater learning than their comparison classes, but using technologies that allow students to interact, collaborate, and control their learning environment greatly improve student learning. (See? When we keep trying to push all of you to design your courses around student interaction, we really do have a reason! We are not making this stuff up!) Another interesting point in the research is that one reason students seem to be more successful in online and blended courses is that they spend more time on task--and I think all of us who teach online know that our courses do require much more active student engagement with the course materials than our face-to-face classes.

What else do you see of interest in the report?

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