Online learning can be better than in-class learning

A meta-analysis of quantitative comparison studies from ED.gov concludes that learners in on-line courses can demonstrate greater learning gains than students in classrooms. The difference was fairly small but meaningful. Needless to say, as someone who has developed several online courses, I found this encouraging. One reason for the effectiveness of online learning may be that it better facilitates student-centered, independent and collaborative work, rather than being a teacher-centered system. It should be noted that very few of the studies included for meta-analysis were done in K-12 settings. I can’t help but think this could be a very cost-effective and engaging way to help schools offer more diverse and more accelerated courses. I would especially like to see it as part of my community’s after-school programming. I am most interested right now in helping students who are still learning English to be able to access math instruction in their home language.

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