Study Finds Online Students Outperform Classroom Counterparts
Given the current state of the economy, the cost of tuition at a traditional four-year university can be particularly daunting for prospective students and their parents. But, according to an extensive 12-year study carried out by research and development group SRI International, students in online programs actually perform better on tests than do their counterparts who study in actual classrooms.
The study, conducted between 1996 and 2008, focused primarily on college and continuing education programs. The New York Times reports that online students ranked in the 59th percentile -- markedly higher than the 50th percentile score achieved by those in the classroom. The study's leader, Barbara Means, said that online learning "actually tends to be better than conventional instruction."
This doesn't mean that students should necessarily pursue an independent, isolated education, though. One academic professional, Philip R. Regier of the Arizona State University Online and Extended Campus program, still asserts that "learning has to occur in a community." That, he says, can easily transpire online with instant messaging and chat rooms. After all, supervision and interaction do foster better productivity than leaving students to their own devices (like, say, playing 'World of Warcraft' instead of doing homework). [From: The New York Times]