How do online college courses affect student success?

From experience to meaning...

Well, I would argue it depends and research seems to tell this to. Check this graph taken from Clark and Mayers classic book “E-learning and the science of instruction” taken from Bernard et al., 2004:

The graph shows the effectiveness of particular courses of study and the extent to which these courses involved the use of online teaching methods and you can see that the online courses are on both the positive and the negative side of effect sizes.

But a new study by Bettinger et al. shows that it’s maybe a bit more complicated. How do including virtual courses in a curriculum affect students progress in a whole? Well, I think I have some bad news…

Our analyses provide evidence that students in online courses perform substantially worse than students in traditional in-person courses, and these findings are robust to a number of potential threats. We also find differentially larger negative…

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