Education

How online courses boost college completion but lower actual learning (in 3 charts)

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The availability of online learning is doing some really strange things to California’s community college students: It’s dramatically increasing their persistence to a degree, but it’s lowering how often they finish each course with a passing grade.

“In every academic subject area, students are less likely to succeed in online than in traditional courses,” explains a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California.

On the other hand, the report says, “It appears that the availability and flexibility of online courses help many students achieve their long-term educational goals.”

Over the long term, students taking 60 or more credits are much more likely to get a degree when they take classes online.

persistance

But, as for completing and passing each individual course, the report states, “We find that online course success rates are between 11 and 14 percentage points lower than traditional course success rates.” Bummer.

learning-comparison

And online courses exacerbate the already disturbing gaps related to age, gender, and race.

gaps

All of these data points jibe with previous research looking at how online learning does, indeed, hurt minorities and other students.

In fairness, online learning is still evolving. I’ve been experimenting with some of the online massively open online course (MOOC) providers, Coursera and Udacity, and I’ve found them to be quite innovative.

For instance, I never attended in-class lectures where I took helpful quizzes peppered throughout lectures. The constant interactivity of MOOCs at Coursera and Udacity are really helpful. And Udacity has a paid personal online tutor that is super helpful. Every time I have a question, I have someone who can help on demand.

But at least for now, innovation doesn’t always add up to a quality education.

14 comments
ercanaltug
ercanaltug

@aliozancil önemli bir makale tşk.uzaktan eğitimin ve mooc sitelerin enönemli sorunu öğrenmeye dönme ve davranış değişimini ölçümleme konusu

Denise Newton
Denise Newton

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Mark Mortensen
Mark Mortensen

Right on, Don. Plus, I believe that more students " vote with feet" more with bad online classes than with face-to-face.

plerudulier
plerudulier

@cyceron ce n'est pas la seule conclusion de cette étude très intéressante.

Don Gooding
Don Gooding

No, that's not what the data says. "Learning" is not measured. Students may fail more online classes but eventually graduate at higher rates. "Fail fast fail cheap?"

xpecto
xpecto

@VentureBeat Online experience can not give you college experience and learning.

aliozancil
aliozancil

@ercanaltug işte öyle video çekip koyunca online eğitim olmuyor, defalarca konuştuk, işte bu da araştırma sonucu ;)

Nicandro Martínez
Nicandro Martínez

@xpecto @VentureBeat  neither does college. At least, Online is not trying to slave you with student debt.  If you ask me to choose from the two, I choose online, it's cheaper, and more honest than a ripoff system trying to slave and brainwash people.