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Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning

This report will get a fair bit of attention: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning (.pdf). It joins a long list of meta-analysis by researchers like Abrami, Bernard et al. (.pdf), Tallent-Runnells et al., Zhao et al., and of course the original “no significant difference” site. The current report – by US Department of Education – is focused on the K-12 market and states that some online learning (blended) is actually superior to only face-to-face learning. Conclusions of this type likely won’t convince anyone who is antagonistic to technology use in classrooms. At minimum, the report provides a sweeping overview of how various researchers have tackled the effectiveness of technology in schools over the last decade. The questions we ask in research are sometimes more interesting than the findings…

One Comment

  1. Actually, they were forced to consider mostly older learners, since “Few rigorous research studies of the effectiveness of online learning for K–12 students have been published.”

    Reading the report, and maybe because not being used to this kind of research, I was struck by the smallness of the measured effect sizes: 0.24, 0.38, those kind of values. See ( for the meaning of “effect sizes”).

    No evidence for disruptive effects here (but maybe this kind of research is not capable of finding real big changes, since this kind of research, by design, compares very similar situations)

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink