Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's not the length of your e-learning that matters, it's what you do with it that counts

In a flash of the blindly-obvious-but-now-we-have-evidence-to-prove-it, this well-designed and well-controlled paper investigates the hierarchy of e-learning:
  1. Expository, where content is transmitted unidirectionally via the technology.
  2. Active, where students use the technology individually to explore information and solve problems.
  3. Interactive, where the technology mediates human interaction and knowledge emerges from such interaction.
and shows that length of time spent online is unimportant compared to length of time engaged in interactive learning activities such as time on task The communicating with staff and peers. The results reinforce the arguments of previous research on the benefits of face-to-face collaborative and cooperative learning and extend such arguments to computer-mediated learning.

You want evidence? We got evidence. Repeat after me:

A VLE is not a filing cabinet.

Castaño‐Muñoz, J., Duart, J. M., & Sancho‐Vinuesa, T. (2014). The Internet in face‐to‐face higher education: Can interactive learning improve academic achievement?. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 149-159.
Abstract: Recent research on e-learning shows that blended learning is more effective than face-to-face learning. However, a clear empirical response has not been given to the cause of such improvement. Using a data set of 9044 students at two Catalan universities and a quasi-experimental approach, two possible hypotheses identified in previous research are studied. The results show that the principal cause of the improvement is not, in itself, the increase in time spent online for educational purposes. Rather, increasing the time devoted to studying online is only useful when it takes place as some form of interactive learning. The educational implications of these results are discussed.

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