Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meta-Analysis Shows Online Learning Better, Blended Even Better

A U.S. Department of Education statistical meta-analysis of empirical studies comparing online learning and face-to-face instruction stated:

The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.

The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes … was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face.

From the authors’ discussion section:

That caution [not to assume that an effect is due to a given medium] applies well to the findings of this meta-analysis, which should not be construed as demonstrating that online learning is superior as a medium. Rather, it is the combination of elements in the treatment conditions, which are likely to include additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration, that has proven effective. The meta-analysis findings do not support simply putting an existing course online, but they do support redesigning instruction to incorporate additional learning opportunities online.

The full report is at

Now this analysis primarily targeted K-12 learners. What would the results be for an adult learner?

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Love, MBA
Training and Development Professional
Dallas / Fort Worth Area
Google Voice: 817-778-8540
Personal Email:

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