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The main findings from the meta-analysis1 was that classes with online learning (whether taught completely online or blended) on average produce stronger student learning outcomes than classes with solely face-to-face instruction. The mean effect size2 was +0.20, p < .001.
• There was no significant difference between students learning purely online compared with those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction (mean effect size +0.05, favoring online but not significant)
• Blended instruction (combining online and face-to-face elements) had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face (mean effect size +0.35, favoring blended, p < .0001)
• Effect sizes were larger for studies in which the online instruction was collaborative or instructor-directed than in those studies where online learners worked independently
View Dr. Means ELI presentation: Blended Learning Designs: A Learning Science Perspective
1 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, Washington, D.C., 2010: http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf.
2 An effect size is similar to a z-score in that it is expressed in terms of units of standard deviation. It is defined as the difference between the treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation.