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How Effective Is Online Learning? What the Research Does and Doesn't Tell Us

By Education Week

March 27, 2020

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The times have dictated school closings and the rapid expansion of online education. Can online lessons replace in-school time?

Clearly online time cannot provide many of the informal social interactions students have at school, but how will online courses do in terms of moving student learning forward? Research to date gives some clues and also points to what could be done to support students who are most likely to struggle in the online setting.

Students who struggle in in-person classes are likely to struggle even more online. A study of college students found very little difference in learning for high-performing students in the online and in-person settings. On the other hand, lower performing students performed meaningfully worse in online courses than in in-person courses.

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