The Good Life

Online Education Better

Here’s some important information if you’re thinking of taking some Continuing Education courses. A report for the U.S. Department of Education found students enrolled in online learning  performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.

The report examined compared online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Most of the studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds.

Over the 12-year span, students doing some or all of their courses online  ranked in the 59th percentile, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. Experts say that’s a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

The study authors say this is important because it demonstrates that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction.

Until fairly recently, online education amounted to little more than electronic versions of the old-fashioned correspondence courses. That has really changed with arrival of Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools.

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