Archive for July, 2009

The Advantage of Online Learning

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Online learning courses are among the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released the Online Learning Evaluation that now proves online learning courses to be more effective than face-to-face education.

The study states, “classes with online learning (whether taught completely online or blended) on average produce stronger student learning outcomes than do classes with solely face-to-face instruction.”

According to the study, 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. In addition, “blended” courses appeared to perform best of all: “Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction.” This finding is significant for higher education because online and blended learning programmes are increasing in college and university offerings and play a significant role in the way they educate students.

One factor that the study found as a successful variable in online learning is time. This is due to the fact that only online learning allows for a self-paced environment where students can complete work at their own speed instead of one pace for the whole group. The report finds, “studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than students in the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning.”

Here are some other interesting results:

* Online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction.

* Online learning appeared to be an effective option for both undergraduates and for graduate students and professionals in a wide range of academic and professional studies.

* In many of the studies showing an advantage for online learning courses, the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy. It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions that produced the observed learning advantages.

* Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that students learn in online classes.

* Online learning courses can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with media and prompting learner reflection.

* When groups of students are learning together online, support mechanisms such as guiding questions generally influence the way students interact, but not the amount they learn.

For other views on the study, check out Litmos’s Online Training Blog or Inside Higher Ed‘s The Evidence on Online Education.

Gatlin International courses encompass the advantages outlined in the Online Learning Evaluation. Our courses are self-paced and allow for anytime, anywhere learning. Best of all, we offer hundreds of courses in a variety of career fields, like leadership courses, that improve in-demand skills. Give your students the benefit of online learning by partnering with us today!

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