Many people are suspicious of online learning. Their main concern is wondering if it actually “works.” (These same people often do not apply this same question to face-to-face, lecture-based instruction, but that is a topic for another time…).
Studies are showing that online learning generally does work. That is, we can meet learning objectives as or more effectively online versus face to face traditional classrooms. It seems to apply regardless of subject matter. But don’t take my word for it, and certainly don’t just listen to the critics, read the research for yourself:
US Department of Education Meta-Analysis
The most important study on the topic was a 2009 Meta-Analysis by the US Dept of Ed of around 500 research articles regarding e-learning. In summary they wrote:
…on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.
Read it for yourself here: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. The article also includes the references to hundreds of other articles that also support the notion. Perhaps soon we can put this question behind us and learn how to use the online delivery format to its greatest effectiveness?