Everyone is interested in elearning today, including the U.S. government.
The Department of Education analyzed elearning in the United States so as to get a better idea of its impact. In this particular study, they reviewed all of the elearning studies done in the past few years. As you would expect, the results obtained are encouraging.
When it came to elearning effectiveness, the study found that the most common subject area in the realm of elearning was medical. Other areas examined included computer science, teaching, social sciences, mathematics, languages, science, and business.
I was a bit surprised that most studies around elearning had to do with the medical profession. I would have guessed that there would have been more emphasis on the educational disciplines given the growing expectation for elearning use in the classroom.
That said, I suppose this finding does make sense. The medical field is a fast moving industry where professionals need to be constantly aware of the “latest and greatest”. ELearning makes information all that more accessible.
The study also examined 50 independent effects that elearning can have on the learning experience. From these 50 different effects it was found that 11 were significantly positive for online or blended learning. Some of the effects that boost learning results include:
- Letting learners control their interaction with the course media
- Encouragement of learner reflection
- Learners self-monitoring their understanding
- Extra learning materials
- Additional time spent on learning
- Collaboration opportunities
In the end, online learners were reported to have done slightly better than those with face-to-face interaction. In addition, those with blended learning exposure out-performed those with just face-to-face interaction (which is consistent with the results reported from those using blended learning approaches).