In 2017, Dr. Will Thalheimer published his findings on the question ‘Does e-learning work? What the Scientific Research Says!’. Although his initial question is not about blended learning, his main conclusions are.
- Five meta-analysis studies comparing e-learning to classroom instruction,
- Six research studies validating the effectiveness of e-learning,
- Six research studies comparing learning methods and
- Ten meta-analysis studies on the effectiveness of learning technologies related to e-learning.
His overall conclusions are:
1. When learning methods are held constant between e-learning and classroom instruction, both produce equal results.
2. When no special efforts are made to hold learning methods constant, e-learning tends to outperform traditional classroom instruction.
3. A great deal of variability is evident in the research. E-learning often produces better results than classroom instruction, often produces worse results and often similar results.
4. What matters, in terms of learning effectiveness, is NOT the learning modality (e-learning vs. classroom); it’s the learning methods that matter, including such factors as realistic practice, spaced repetition, real-world contexts and feedback.
5. Blended learning (using e-learning with classroom instruction) tends to outperform classroom learning by relatively large magnitudes, probably because the e-learning used in blended learning often uses more effective learning methods.
If you want to learn more about these effective methods, be sure to read Will Thalheimer’s (PhD Work-Learning Research, Inc. https://WorkLearning.com) article on ‘The Decisive Dozen’.