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The Effectiveness of Online Learning

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The Effectiveness of Online Learning: A
Very Quick Review of the Literature
Colleen J. Burnham
Thomas College
February 2008
What is Online Learning?
Any learning experience or
environment that relies upon the
Internet as the primary delivery
mode of communication and
presentation, and that frequently
takes place away from the
physical campus.
Measuring Effectiveness
Matrix of factors used in
the Eom, Wen, & Ashill
study (2006).
The Determinants of
Students’ Perceived
Learning Outcomes and
Satisfaction in University
Online Education: An
Empirical Investigation
Student Traits that Predict Learning
Outcomes
• Self-Motivation
– Self-efficacy (confidence)
– Ability to reward intrinsically (vested interest)
• Learning Style
– Visual Learner
• Ability to learn from descriptions
• Works well with “to-do” lists toward pace-setting and
organization
– Read/Write learners (note takers)
Instructor Traits that Predict Online
Course Effectiveness
• The ability to incorporate several teaching models
simultaneously into the course design.
– Constuctivism: learner controls the pace of learning
– Collaboration: student involvement with the learning
process
– Socioculturalism: student freedom to assume
responsibility for learning
• Feedback: cognitive, diagnostic, & prescriptive
General Traits that Predict Effectiveness
Williams (2006)
• Working professional students significantly outperform traditional full-time graduate and
undergraduate students
– Work experience contextualizes the online learning
requirements
– Vested or intrinsic interest in learning new material
• Open learning and synchronous communication
• Interaction and feedback with and from the
instructor.
Very Interesting Findings
Very Interesting Findings
Wrap-Up…
• Learning Styles
• Student personalities
• Student experience
• Instructor experience
• Instructor versatility
• Communication skills, in
general
All are qualities that we intuitively suspect contribute
positively to the effectiveness of online learning – the data
is now offering formal evidence that they are in fact actual
predictors or determinants of a solid, effective, positive
online “classroom experience”.
Bibliography
Eom, S., Wen, H., & Ashill, N. (2006, July). The Determinants of Students' Perceived Learning Outcomes and
Satisfaction in University Online Education: An Empirical Investigation. Decision Sciences Journal of
Innovative Education, 4(2), 215-235. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from Business Source Premier
database.
O'Dwyer, L., Carey, R., & Kleiman, G. (2007, Spring). A Study of the Effectiveness of the Louisiana Algebra I
Online Course. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(3), 289-306. Retrieved February
14, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
Salimi, A. (2007, January). The Promise and Challenges for Distance Education in Accounting. Strategic
Finance, 88(7), 19-53. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from Business Source Premier database.
Williams, S. (2006, September). The Effectiveness of Distance Education in Allied Health Science Programs:
A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes. American Journal of Distance Education, 20(3), 127-141. Retrieved
February 14, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
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