Monday, August 24, 2009

Learning Online

Short piece in today's NYTimes suggests that learning online may be superior to face-to-face instruction. Obviously there are a lot of methodological and self-selection issues in play here, yet an interesting if brief article. The actual report, if you feel brave enough to take on 93 pages of pdf, can be found here. It's a meta-analysis, meaning statistical tests from 46 studies (out of a thousand studies on this topic). It's a powerful tool. You have to wade through the methods section to see the criteria for studies to be included, but basically they find -- within the studies that meet their criteria -- that web-based studies work better than face-to-face in K-12 learning. BUT ... the authors caution the small number of studies that meet their criteria makes it difficult to generalize to the K-12 population as a whole. Though important, this kinda gets lost.

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