Online learning beats traditional teaching

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A recent study for the US Department of Education has shown that students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.

According to the US-based Online Computer Library Centre, the results follow a systematic search of research literature from 1996 to July 2008, which identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning.

Analysts screened the results for studies that compared online learning with face-to-face teaching, and went on to assess the outcomes of the different learning set-ups.

Meta-analysis revealed that, on average, online learners performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. However, a combination of online and face-to-face teaching was found to be most advantageous.

Analysts also believe the effectiveness of online learning approaches is quite broad across different content and learner types.