Is distance higher education as effective as traditional learning at the college level?
The United States Department of Education conducted an online learning study undertaken from 1996 to 2008 that addressed this topic and concluded the following:
1) Distance higher education is more effective and than traditional face-to-face learning;
2) Distance higher education combined with some traditional learning (blended or hybrid learning) is the most effective;
3) Face-to-face learning alone is the least effective method among the three types studied.Check out Get Educated’s exclusive video ‘Is an Online Degree Credible in Your Employer’s Eyes?’ for the 3 factors most important in finding credible, quality online education.
The online learning study and distance higher education report analyzed 51 factors that seem to influence learning efficacy and concluded that what appears to be the advantages of e learning are not what many academics had 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 distance higher education and hybrid education their significant power boost is time spent on learning combined with the additional communication opportunities that online delivery afford.
The findings from the online learning assessment 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.
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United States Deptartment of Education: “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning” (PDF)