[Air-l] online education effectiveness

Caroline Haythornthwaite haythorn at uiuc.edu
Tue Sep 12 05:53:10 PDT 2006

As with most applications of CMC, the question is not really whether programs 
are effective or cost effective, but how to do it best anyway. Sloan-C supported 
a lot of work in the US with the aim of proving that teaching and learning was 
possible via asynchronous learning (ALN for asynchronous learning networks), 
and then to see about cost effectiveness. In general, most would agree about 
the former, but also that it is not (yet?) a cost saving. Indeed, many wonder why 
educational institutions should be trying to make a cheaper model of education. 
The flip side is why should educational institutions be so expensive and thus 
exclude others.

Research -- lots of journals, from the Journal of Asynchronous Learning 
Networks to many Education journals, and work in CMC journals. Plus, Sloan-C 
reports, National School Board and department of education reports.

Main effectiveness reference is the No Significant Difference work (http://
www.nosignificantdifference.org/) showing no difference in learning outcomes 
online vs off. Hence it is 'as good as' ftf/offline.

More subtle effectiveness work points out the greater reach of online, 
advantages for those with different learning styles (e.g., the reflexivity possible 
in online venues, and ability to review materials), opportunities to be embedded 
in local work and community, and the variety of mediated options that increase 
variety of educational means.

There are several notable large scale failures of programs at the university level 
(e.g., UK eU), but many success stories at the program/degree level.

UIUC is currently proposing a 'Global Campus' -- we're waiting to see if the 
board approves the money. 


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 18:23:45 +0100 (BST)
>From: Heidi Campbell <hcampbe1 at yahoo.co.uk>  
>Subject: Re: [Air-l] online education effectiveness  
>To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
>Hi All.  
>  Does anyone know any good research reports or review articles that deal with 
the effectiveness of online education tools or initiatives? For instance, friend told 
me the The University of Illinois just invested $20 million in just trying to assess 
feasibility of its online education program.  
>  So what evidence is out there right now as to whether online education tools/
programs are effective or cost effective?
>  Cheers-
>  Heidi
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Caroline Haythornthwaite
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 East Daniel St., Champaign IL 61820

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