Why Go To School? Study Finds Students Do Better Online

Aug 20th, 2009 | By | Category: iPods & Portable Media Players

A new Department Of Education report on online education (pdf) reached a controversial conclusion: “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

According to the report summary:

Researchers have previously found that students that listen to lectures as podcasts do better than students that actually attend the lectures. This study, though, looked at the comparative research on online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008.

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. Learning outcomes for students who engaged in online learning exceeded those of students receiving face-to-face instruction, with an average effect size of +0.24 favoring online conditions. The mean difference between online and face-to-face conditions across the 51 contrasts is statistically significant at the p < .01 level.

The analysis for the Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

“We are at an inflection point in online education,” said Philip R. Regier, the dean of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program.

via NYT

Image: turtlemom4bacon

5 Responses to “Why Go To School? Study Finds Students Do Better Online”

  1. Kim says:

    I have been reading quite a bit about this lately and find it very interesting.

    I agree that for the adult population, studying online can be far more appealing and more successful. However, I still think that our elementary age group still benefit more from an actual classroom.

    Times they are a changin!

    Love the kitty on the computer … Mine loves to stand on the keyboard also.

    k

  2. Mike says:

    It makes sense. Classrooms are filled with distractions, lectures are not scheduled for optimal times, and most of the information is not recorded for review. Also, the habit of rapid note taking for later review takes away from insightful thought and analysis during classroom discussions. Podcasts are a rich, on-demand content that can be accessed from anywhere – The beauty of all new social media.

    This is not just true for schools, but online education is becoming popular in other ways. From various business sponsored webinars to community safety tips from a police podcast, the way we learn today is much different than 10 years ago.

  3. [...] York Times – Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom, Podcasting News – Why Go To School? Study Finds Students Do Better Online), fie mai echilibrate ÅŸi sceptice (Nicholas Carr – Close down the schools!, Inside Highered – [...]

  4. ariel says:

    ok ok i really agree for the adult population, studying online can be far more appealing and more successful. However, I still think that our elementary age group still benefit more from an actual classroom.

    Love the kitty on the computer … Mine loves to stand on the keyboard also.

    It makes sense. Classrooms are filled with distractions, lectures are not scheduled for optimal times, and most of the information is not recorded for review. Also, the habit of rapid note taking for later review takes away from insightful thought and analysis during classroom discussions. This is not just true for schools, but online education is becoming popular in other ways. From various business sponsored webinars to community safety tips from a police podcast, the way we learn today is much different than 10 years ago.

    [...] York Times – Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom, Podcasting News – Why Go To School? Study Finds Students Do Better Online), fie mai echilibrate ÅŸi sceptice (Nicholas Carr – Close down the schools!, Inside Highered – [...]

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