The independent, trusted guide to online education for over 24 years!

U.S. Dept. of Education Finds Online & Blended Education More Effective than Residential Method Alone


Is online education as effective as face-to-face learning at the college level? 

The U.S. Department of Education analyzed research studies undertaken from 1996 to 2008 that address this topic and has concluded the following:

1) Online education is more effective than face-to-face learning; 

2) Online learning combined with some face-to-face learning (blended learning) is the most effective;

3) Face-to-face learning alone is the least effective method among the three types studied.The government report analyzed 51 factors that seem to influence learning efficacy and concluded that what appears to make online learning more effective is not what many academics have believed. For example, the study found that adding video and online quizzes or other forms of razzle-dazzle does not increase educational efficacy. What seems to give online and blended education their significant power boost is time spent on learning combined with the additional communication opportunities that online delivery afford.

These findings are specific to college-level learning as the researchers found that not enough studies exist to merit a valid comparison at the K-12 level.

Learn more about online education quality and reputation in GetEducated’s video Is an Online Degree Credible in Your Employer’s Eyes?


Dept of Education: “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning” (PDF)
How Popular and Prevalent is Distance Learning?
Are Distance MBAs Any Good?
Are Online Degrees Respected?