Inside Higher Ed published an article last week on a recent US government report surveying evidence on online education. The news is that ‘online learning has definite advantages over face-to-face instruction when it comes to teaching and learning’. For a report like this to be produced by the US Dept of Education rather than an online education evangelist is certainly a watershed in the debate surrounding the efficacy of online learning. Naturally enough, there are also some caveats but, overall, the study found that ‘students who took all or part of their instruction online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through face-to-face instruction. Further, those who took “blended” courses — those that combine elements of online learning and face-to-face instruction — appeared to do best of all.’
The comments following the Inside Higher Ed piece also make interesting reading.