cover-report

The US Dept of Education just published a report on Online Learning practices.

At 90+ pages I haven’t had time to read through it, but here is the executive summary’s key findings:

  • Few rigorous research studies of the effectiveness of online learning for K–12 students have been published
  • Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction
  • Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction
  • Studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than students in the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning
  • Most of the variations in the way in which different studies implemented online learning did not affect student learning outcomes significantly
  • The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears quite broad across different content and learner types
  • Effect sizes were larger for studies in which the online and face-to-face conditions varied in terms of curriculum materials and aspects of instructional approach in addition to the medium of instruction

Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Blended and purely online learning conditions implemented within a single study generally result in similar student learning outcomes
  • Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that students learn in online classes
  • Online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with media and prompting learner reflection
  • Providing guidance for learning for groups of students appears less successful than does using such mechanisms with individual learners
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