Online learning environments are not for every student

Research (NBER) shows the positive findings of a 2009 study might have been premature in supporting online learning as an alternative to face-to-face classes. The recent study found males, Hispanics, and low-performing students tend to struggle the most in online learning environments. The results cause concern since more and more community colleges are adopting online courses as a cheaper alternative to face-to-face learning — and these three groups are most likely to attend those community colleges.

The most recent study used a pool of 312 undergraduates enrolled in an microeconomics class. The results showed: “Hispanic students who took the microeconomics class online finished the semester a full grade lower than Hispanic students who learned in a face-to-face environment. Males who watched lectures and studied online were half a letter grade behind males who learned in the classroom, as were low-performing students—those who had a grade point average below the university’s mean GPA.”

Watch for “Keys to Online Learning” by the Keys author team and co-authored by Kateri Drexler, due out this December.

Article: Study: Online learning less effective for some

Higher education’s embrace of online courses could hurt the performance of some groups of students, according to a study that contradicts the findings of a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) showing that online students perform as well, or better, than their peers in face-to-face settings on average.

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