Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Learning Online Tops Face-to-Face Instruction?

Here is something to make us re-examine our ideas about what makes good education. A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Education Department, concludes:

“On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

Over a 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Education Department 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.

Online education has evolve from little more than electronic versions of the old-line correspondence courses to Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools. More and more, students will help and teach one another.

The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are tailored more to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more “learning by doing,” which many students find more engaging and useful.

Click on the heading above for a video about the growth of social media.

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