Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Study Sees the Future, and it is Online Learning

Supt. Terry Grier wanted to share with you the findings of a new report conducted for the U.S. Department of Education. The report concludes that on average, students in online learning situations learn better than those who get face-to-face instruction, the Bits blog of The New York Times reports.

The study looked at the comparative research on both kinds of learning from 1996 to 2008, mainly in colleges and adult continuing-education programs, though some research pertained to K-12 education. The analysis found that the average student who did some or all of a course online tended to rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student who scored in the 50th percentile.

"The study's major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing -- it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction," said Barbara Means, the study's lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International, which undertook the federal study.

In the opinion of the blog, the results could mean that online education will expand rapidly in the next few years, especially inasmuch as it tailors itself specifically to a student's needs, thereby better engaging a student. This won't isolate students, however, since they'll have an online community that will foster learning and inquiry.

Read more. Please contact Dr. Grier at (619) 725-7076 should you have questions or comments

For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.