Study shows online instruction Offers Advantages

From the July 9, 2009 OVAE Thursday Notes online publication of the U.S. department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education:

Online Instruction Offers Advantages; Blended Approaches Appear Best

Online instruction can offer key benefits, a new ED statistical meta-analysis shows. The analysis discovered that the best strategy appeared to be “blended” instruction─ combining elements of online and face-to-face instruction ─because it offered a larger advantage over either strategy used alone. Blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions, according to the study. The study indicated that instruction conducted wholly online was more effective in improving student achievement than was face-to-face instruction for adults in medical, career, and military training, and postsecondary education.

I wonder if this finding about blended learning would also be true for adult literacy, ESOL, adult basic and adult secondary learners  (and for teachers as learners). It’s too bad we don’t have much research on this in our field. Would that we had enough for a meta-analysis! Here’s a case where I think our field would eagerly use evidence-based practices —  if we had good evidence. It’s another reason why we need a national center for adult literacy research.

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