Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies

Means, Barbara and Toyama, Yukie and Murphy, Robert and Bakia, Marianne and Jones, Karla (2010) Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. Technical Report. U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C..

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Abstract

A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effectsize. As a result of this screening, 50 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se. An unexpected finding was the small number of rigorous published studies contrasting online and face-to-face learning conditions for K–12 students. In light of this small corpus, caution is required in generalizing to the K–12 population because the results are derived for the most part from studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Subjects: Technology Assisted Learning > E-Learning
Divisions: Third Party Resource
Depositing User: Eprints Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2012 12:19
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 12:25
URI: http://eprints.cpkn.ca/id/eprint/7

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