[Air-l] online education effectiveness

R.Mabry-Hubbard (UMC Student) ryh352 at mizzou.edu
Mon Sep 11 21:26:16 PDT 2006

Heidi, please define "effectiveness" relative to learning and online

Learners are not homogeneous; therefore, effective teaching strategies and
learning environments depend on the material and learning outcome desired.
Distance education has been around for over 100 years but the delivery
medium has changed from postal only to a continuum of technologies including
TV, video conferencing, and, of course the Internet.  

Online learning has many strengths both as stand-along delivery method and
in conjunction with traditional face-to-face classes. It also has its
weaknesses just as traditional lecture or seminar classes do.  From a
strictly "cost-benefit" perspective, the Internet increases access to higher
education without the capital investment of "brick and mortar" classrooms
and additional support staff.  Online courses or supplemental online
instruction also permits "mandatory" and equal participation by all class
members since time is not a constraint. 

Online teaching, however, from the instructor's point of view requires much
more time and effort -- something I can personally attest.  I was also
involved with two-semester study evaluating online instruction as a
supplement to the traditional large lecture course (500+) and we found
statistically significant improvement in "face-to-face" mid-terms exams
scores for those who were active participants in online discussions and from
previous semesters.

This is as an older but fairly comprehensive report by the World Bank
Organization called:

Distance Education: Growth and Diversity (1998)

Perhaps the most important barometer of "learning outcome" effectiveness and
cost is the continued adoption of online learning as a delivery method by

For more resources, try a KEYWORD search:

("online learning" OR "e-learning") AND ("cost effectiveness")

I hope this helps.

Robin Y. Mabry Hubbard, MBA, EdS(Educational Technology) 
Rural Sociology Doctoral Student - Community Informatics
Email: ryh352 at mizzou.edu  My Homepage: http://www.rrchubbard.org
Murphy's Law: There is never enough time to do it right; but there is always
time to do it over
~ Our Future arrived Yesterday!  ~
[I am not inviting any postmodernist to my party!] 

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