Study Supports Online Instruction

A study recently performed at Ithaka S+R (a group part of ITHAKA, a non-profit organization that finds innovative ways to use technology in higher education) provides evidence that students taking online instruction at the university level show essentially the same results as those attending in a traditional format. The study, “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials“, compared the outcomes of students at six public universities taking a prototype introductory statistics course in the fall of 2011.

The researchers took a diverse group of 605 students, assigned them randomly to either online instruction or face-to-face instruction in a traditional format with 3-4 hours of instruction time per week. According to the author, the results were conistent among all campuses and groups. Half of the students tested were from families earning less than $50,000, and half were first-generation college students.

The report concluded “We find that learning outcomes are essentially the same—that students in the hybrid format pay no ‘price’ for this mode of instruction in terms of pass rates, final exam scores, and performance on a standardized assessment of statistical literacy,”.

At we’ve known this to be true for a while now in the field of  drivers ed and states like California have lead the way in embracing new forms of instruction. The bottom line is that the future of drivers education is online and soon new drivers in all 50 states will receive their instruction in the theory of driving online. However, it should be noted that the best online programs are based on modern instructional techniques and use the most applicable research as a basis for their programs.

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