Everyone does worse with online learning

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. sumtuck

    sumtuck New Member

    With online learning there is a learning curve; especially for people who have previously had little interaction with technology. However, I think it is completely unfair to assume people of all races, gender, cultures, etc are not able to adapt. When I took online classes at the University of Oklahoma, there was a required 1 credit introduction students had to take. This taught you about the various technologies and structure of online learning.

    Similar to traditional learning, online learning is not a one size fit all. Some people need that physical experience to learn best and those people are able to take classes in a B&M setting. I do postulate, however, that with each generation being raised in the digital age, a greater intuition with technology will occur. So right now they are seeing trends of the digital divide (so to speak) but over time that will be significantly reduced and I suspect the outcomes of similar studies will be greatly different. We are still working with generations of students who were not raised on technology and throughout their lives have not been exposed to it.

    "One interesting finding was that older students seemed to fare better than other students with online courses, but they still didn’t perform as well as with face-to-face courses." Could this result from the fact that older students tend to be more focused and motivated to finish their education but due to time constraints cannot juggle the additional time commitments face-to-face courses require? Another possible reason is online learning is more flexible in terms of learning styles.

    "Rather than breaking down higher education as we know it overnight, it seems as if there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to online courses." Yes, I think we all could have concluded this without a research study.
  3. nongard1

    nongard1 New Member

    Depends on the program. Depends on the student.
    In the end, traditional vs. online vs. any other manor of learning, the student will get out of it what they put in.
    I know people who went to lousy schools and learned a lot, and people who went to great schools and know nothing.
    Same for online learning I am sure.
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Working online requires a certain level of maturity that many undergraduate students do not yet possess. Of course there are many exceptions, but online learning in its current state seems to appeal to a slightly older crowd.
  5. 03310151

    03310151 New Member

    EVERYONE does worse? Wow, that study must have been remarkable. 100%? Not one person did better? Amazing.

    “Specifically, we found that males, Black students, and students with lower levels of academic preparation experienced significantly stronger negative coefficients for online learning compared with their counterparts, in terms of both course persistence and course grade,” authors Di Xu and Shanna Jaggars, who looked at the data from 40,000 community college students in Washington state, wrote in the report. “This is troubling from an equity perspective: If this pattern holds true across other states and educational sectors, it would imply that the continued expansion of online learning could strengthen, rather than ameliorate, educational inequity.”

    Online learning is racist? I'll add that to my every growing list of racist things.

    Who do you think this article is written for? Online learners? Wrong, it's for people with the "correct" undergraduate degree done in the "right" manner, i.e. in person face-to-face probably at a school nobody on this board could afford to attend. This articles audience now feels sufficiently superior about their education (as well they should).
  6. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    Like most media reports on research, it does not give the size of the study, the area in which it was conducted, and the time period it was conducted over. Methodology is missing. As it was conducted by an association of community colleges, it may be assumed that the focus was on that level. It does not indicate whether it was different for postgraduates. It does not indicate the particular courses that were being reviewed or whether all were in the mix (an exhaustive and "exhausting" study if this was the case). One does not know whether it is focusing on more competency based skills requiring more hands on or the more academic. One can readily see a potential differential between trade studies and English literature in perhaps both content and student base.

    It seems that media publishes these stories to diminish distance or online learning. It does not critique the study or look at the purpose of the study. A generalized article like this shows poor journalism and perhaps even bias.
  7. 03310151

    03310151 New Member

    I'm back, I'm now a few pages into the ACTUAL study. What a shitty, disingenuous, and poorly written article this is. Way to take the research and form it around your opinion of online learning Kay Steiger. As a matter of fact, I bet she wrote the whole article base on the abstract alone. Oh....Amanda Marcotte writes for this website, that explains a LOT. Tripe, lies, bias, hate those are the hallmark of her writing. Kay sounds about as "journalistic" as Amanda is. Icky.

    The paper mentions that research shows generally that older students can do better than younger in online education and that if indeed they do then online learning should be encouraged for this population (older students).

    "We also found that older students adapted more readily to online courses than did younger students. This finding is intriguing, given that older college students tend to have poorer academic outcomes overall"

    Good grief this is nothing more that another bullshit Yahoo Education Article. Sheesh.

    Journalism in this country is dead. Read the authors conclusion (and article title) and compare it to this paragraph from the rersearchers conclusion:

    "Overall, our findings indicate that the typical student has some difficulty adapting to online courses, but that some students adapt relatively well while others adapt very poorly"

    And then of course there is this, also in the studies conclusion:

    "Although many students face challenges in adapting to online learning, online coursework represents an indispensible strategy in postsecondary education, as it improves flexibility for both students and institutions and expands educational opportunities among students who are balancing school with work and family demands"

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2013
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    I used to blog nearly every day about higher education and distance learning. This sort of journalistic malpractice made it a lot easier to write so frequently.
  9. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    It also contradicts the findings of 2010 study done by the US Government which holds that online learners do slightly better than their face-to-face counterparts. You can find the results to that study here (http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf).
  10. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I have some immediate questions:
    1. what methodology was employed in the study?
    2. was it randomised or where the students specifically picked?
    3. How did they capture students in that state that were using online learning from other states or globally? how does it represent those students?
    4. how did it establish the learning characteristics of the students? People learn in different ways. Some more visual, some by doing, some by listening. How did it identify the learning characteristic of the research subject?
    5. How does discriminate students with poor reading abilities than may be required for online learning from other students? Is the study more representative of poor preparation for college?
    6. How did it discriminate between courses that are more competency based and courses that are more academic or conceptual? Presumably, the subject choice may skew the data,
    7. How did it compare with other countries or states in respect of online learning? Is it something that is state specific?
    8. What was the original purpose of the study? It suggests a political motive with the general extrapolations made from a study on a discrete population;
    9. How was the access to technology reviewed? Some people may only be able to access lower performing technology or poorer connection to the internet. How was the study adjusted to eliminate this as a factor? What was the differential in the software used?
    10. How did the study deal with the correlation between high school grades and the online learning grades? Did subjects who did well in high school, do poorly in online learning or did the subjects who did not so well in high school continue that trend in online learning?
    Heaps of other questions, but I think the journalistic standard is extremely poor and reflects another agenda. I am not from the US and I have no idea what that may be, but the lack of journalistic standards indicates either poor skills or some bias.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    ....or both
  12. 03310151

    03310151 New Member

    You have no idea how bad it is here in the states. This kind of stuff has skyrocketed since 2009. There's not a journalist alive right now who reports on facts. It's so disappointing. The worse thing about it is, now I discount everything written by journalist especially from major outlets. And most especially if I agree with their conclusions. I assume they are getting everything wrong when I agree with them.

    Whatever you do, don't start looking around at this kind of stuff. It gets the blood pressure up. Better to be just taken in with headlines and cartoons with snarky sayings on them.
  13. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Journalism is dead. The age of MSNBC and Huffington Post is upon us.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    I kvetch a lot about the mainstream media, and I think rightly so, but I have to admit that sometimes specialized outlets are still good. I like InsideHigherEd, for example.
  15. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    We just need to be more educated consumers of news. That is a lot to ask of people though.
  16. BobbyJim

    BobbyJim New Member

    It would be a bit easier if it was actual fact based news instead of opinion loosly based on some random semi-related facts! My comment is aimed at the whole spectrum of the political bias based news. :shocked1:
  17. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    This article is typical of what happens when a journalist misreads and misinterprets research in order to write a sensationalist or controversial article. I have read the study by Jaggers, et. al and it is a pretty well done piece with a large sample (40,000 community college students across Washington State). They tried to control for as many variables as possible, but it is not possible to control for the wide variance in quality of online courses, so any study that purports to compare F2F and online learning is going to have serious problems.

    To illustrate, I just need to ask a simple question: Thinking of all of the F2F courses that you have taken, have they all been identical (or nearly identical in quality)? Of course not, some have been great, some lousy and others in between. The same is true with online courses. In analysis of variance (ANOVA), when the amount of variance within two groups is as large or larger than the variance between the two groups, it is impossible to state that one group is significantly better than the other. this is the problem with F2F vs. online studies. That is why "media comparison" studies are recognized in the field of instructional technology as having little value.

    The other problem of the study is that it did not address whether F2F or online is superior, it looked at a single situation (whether freshman students taking their first online courses did as well as that did in F2F courses). That what "adaptability" means in this study. They found that students taking their first online courses don't do as well. My scholarly evaluation of that finding would be "duh." the same is true for faculty the first time that they teach online.

    I am not putting down the researchers or their study. It was as well done as this kind of study can be and generates useful data for someone like me who leads a distance education program and who also publishes in the field. This study is hardly the death knell of online learning. 1/3 of all college and university students will take one or more online courses this year.
  18. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I am sure that all the questions I asked would have been dealt with in a legitimate research study. If not, they would have been statements made concerning the limitations of the study. In any case, it would have been a brave research study with so many variables to address online learning across the board . My argument is not so much with the research, as this is done all the time and poor research is mostly corrected by other following research. This is the nature of scientific inquiry. I am not saying this is bad research, I simply don't know I have not read it.

    My argument is with journalists who make things simplistic and overstate findings to seemingly create a bias. I would have liked to have read the article and been informed, not inflamed. Why do journalists think that they have to turn everything into controvesy or some political point? What is wrong is giving information and letting the folks decide what they think? I would have liked to have seen some indepth inquiry into the research more than the "bomb throwing". This, of course, requires journalistic effort to write an informative piece. I should not have been left with so many questions.

    The attempt to extrapolate the findings beyond the research validity was obviously intended to do something. Perhaps some local politician is pushing online learning or something or cutting budgets, and this reporting was a push back? From this distance, I have no idea what that may be.

    I also think that it is important to challenge this style or reporting in this medium because people often read this stuff and just make assumptions from it. The internet allows the journalistic piece to go worldwide and to be googled by people anywhere thinking about online learning. A critique of the article, not the research, is what I intended. Constructive criticism creates improvements and nobody is suggesting that online learning is perfect, but it does deserve fair journalistic comment. I also think that journalists should be taken to task if they do poor journalism. They are not immune from being critiqued and they should be to improve standards.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2013
  19. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Remember when the Bengazi terror attack was reported as a grass roots uproar against a YouTube video? Nobody cared. To many, that is still what happened because the media doesn't make it a point to tell the truth anymore. The truth doesn't sell.
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Unfortunately, the mainstream media have no incentive to supply that. News is the not the product, and readers are not the customers. Reader attention is the product, and advertisers are the customers. So whatever gets the most attention, that's what it's in their interest to supply.

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