Learning Effectiveness Online: What the Research Tells Us, Karen Swan

Karen Swan.  “Learning Effectiveness Online: What the Research Tells Us,” in J. Bourne and J.C. Moore, eds., Elements of  Quality Online Education, Practice and Direction (Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education, 2003): 13-35.

Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on the learning effectiveness of asynchronous online environments. It looks beyond the commonly accepted findings of no significant differences in learning outcomes between online and traditional courses to examine that literature in terms of forms of interactivity, a feature of online environments that might matter or be made to matter in learning. It thus explores and is organized according to learner interactions with course content, student interactions with instructors, and interactions among classmates in online course environments. More recent notions of interactions with computer and course interfaces and virtual interaction are also briefly examined. The chapter concludes with a summary of what the research tells us and its for implications online learning.

The chapter is available here, or Swan, Learning Effectiveness Online.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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