|What is the study about?|
This study measured the impact of using hybrid forms of interactive online learning in seven
undergraduate courses across universities in the University System of Maryland. In college courses, interactive online learning typically involves video lectures, extensive opportunities for discussion and interaction with instructors and peers, and online assignments and exams. Hybrid forms of such courses combine online learning components with traditional face-to-face instruction. In this study, college students enrolled in hybrid sections of biology, statistics, pre-calculus, computer science, or communications or in sections that used the traditional face-to-face format. The authors measured the impact of these hybrid courses on course pass rates, student grades, and on exam questions that were common across the hybrid and face-to-face courses. Due to the significant cost savings possible with interactive online learning platforms, the study authors examined whether students participating in online learning courses performed as well as or better than students in traditional courses.
What did the study report?
The authors reported that students in hybrid courses and students in traditional courses performed equally well in terms of course pass rates and grades. They also reported that students in hybrid courses answered significantly more exam questions correctly than students in traditional courses (study authors reported this significance level as p < .10). The study authors further reported that they found no evidence that interactive online learning was harmful for disadvantaged or underprepared students.
How does the WWC rate this study?
This study used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate program impacts, and as such, could meet WWC standards with reservations. However, more information is needed from the study authors about whether the intervention and comparison groups were equivalent (comparable) at baseline before the WWC can determine the study rating. A more thorough review (forthcoming) will determine the study rating and provide additional details.
Griffiths, R., Chingos, M., Mulhern, C., & Spies, R. (2014). Interactive online learning on campus: Testing MOOCs and other hybrid formats in the University System of Maryland. New York: Ithaka S+R.