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Elearning vs. Classroom

Overview

The debate on the effectiveness of elearning compared to classroom learning is almost amusing. Periodically, an instructor will publish a paper (based on a small sampling of several classes) and state that elearning is just as (if not more) effective than classroom learning. Wait a few weeks, and another instructor will publish an article stating that elearning does not produce the same level of learning as classroom...and so on.

The focus of this debate is misguided. The real question is not "which is more effective - elearning or classroom learning". The focus should be on using the appropriate format for the appropriate learning objectives, circumstances, budgets, etc. As an example, if a large company wants to train 1000 sales people who are spread all over North America - costs and conditions might lead to a conclusion that elearning is more useful.

Elearning and classroom learning are not mutually exclusive. In many situations classroom learning can be enhanced by adding elearning (i.e. a discussion thread to continue dialogue after the session, or a series of online resources to prepare students for classroom learning).

Resources

Elearning vs. Classroom
Article created by participants in elearnspace course.

Students' Learning Styles in Two Classes
"Correlational analysis revealed that on-campus students displayed collaborative tendencies that were positively related to their needs to be competitive and to be good class citizens. Thus, on-campus students appeared to favor collaborative styles to the extent that it helped them to obtain the rewards of the class. In contrast, online students were willing and able to embrace collaborative teaching styles if the instructor made it clear that this was expected, and gave them form and guidance for meeting this expectation. Online students appeared to be driven more by intrinsic motives and clearly not by the reward structure of the class."

Online Students Don't Fare as Well as Classroom Counterparts, Study Finds
"Professors at Michigan State University have found that students who took an economics course online didn't do as well as students who took the same course in a traditional classroom."

No Significant Difference Phenomenon
"This site provides selected entries from the book "The No Significant Difference Phenomenon" as reported in 355 research reports, summaries and papers - a comprehensive research bibliography on technology for distance education."

The "No Significant Difference" Phenomenon: A Literature Review
Presents a different perspective: "Simply stated, Clark presents the idea that measurable learner outcomes, when replicable using different media, indicate that the selection of the media has little to do with learner outcomes, rather the method that the media share in delivering content is the true catalyst that leads to understanding."

Innovations in Online Learning: Moving Beyond No Significant Difference
"During the early 1990s, many of those interested in the impact of information technology liked to talk about "paradigm shifts." Despite its attainment of cliché status, the concept of a paradigm shift is a powerful one. Most who were once skeptical of the impact of the Internet on the ways we do business in all facets of society now recognize that our paradigms are, in fact, shifting."
Note: The word paradigm should be shot. It gives me a rash....otherwise, great article..:)

Online Learning Grows Up
Article gives a good perspective of the value of online learning.

Traditional Training Versus E-Learning
Quick analysis of elearning vs. traditional training.

 

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