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About the Database

The No Significant Difference database was first established in 2004 as a companion piece to Thomas L. Russell's book, "The No Significant Difference Phenomenon" (2001, IDECC, fifth edition), a fully indexed, comprehensive research bibliography of 355 research reports, summaries and papers that document no significant differences (NSD) in student outcomes between alternate modes of education delivery. Learn More

Records: 210

Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas

Excerpt

Using a dataset containing nearly 500,000 courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical college students in Washington State, this study examines how well students adapt to the online environment in terms of their ability to persist and earn strong grades in online courses relative to their ability to do so in face-to-face courses. While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males, younger . . . students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages. In particular, students struggled in subject areas such as English and social science, which was due in part to negative peer effects in these online courses.

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Learning Equity between Online and On-Site Mathematics Courses

Excerpt

This paper reports on a research study that focused on equity in learning as reflected inthe final grades of online and on-site students from the same post-secondary mathematics course taught repeatedly over 10 semesters from Fall 2005 through Spring 2011. On-site students attended regular class sessions, while online students onlyattended an orientation session and a final exam. Mean final course grades for all online and on-site students were compared statistically to see if there was a . . . significant difference in learning. The findings revealed significant differences in online and on-site students final grades, in favor of on-site student achievement. Statistical tests were also conducted on a number of subsets drawn from all students' final grades in order to search for any underlying nuances that might exist. When the first three semesters ofdata were removed from the data set, no significant difference was found between the mean scores for on-site and online students for the seven most recent semesters. It is reasonable to conclude that it is possible for students in both on-site and online sections of a course to achieve equity in mathematics learning as measured by final course grades

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Determining if Instructional Delivery Model Differences Exist in Remedial English

Excerpt

The purpose of this causal comparative study is to test the theory of no significant difference that compares pre- and post-test assessment scores, controlling for the instructional delivery model of online and face-to-face students at a Mid-Atlantic university. Online education and virtual distance learning programs have increased in popularity and enrollment since their inception. Students tend to enroll in online courses for their flexibility and convenience and find online courses to be just . . . as challenging as face-to-face courses (Pastore & Carr-Chellman, 2009). Russell (1999) conducted a meta-analysis which found that there were no significant differences between the modes of class delivery on student achievement and learning. Current research supports this analysis; it has been shown that students and instructors perceive online learning to be just as effective as face-to-face (Liaw, Huang, & Chen, 2007). Bloom's Taxonomy has been used to structure the thinking process in education. Elevating an awareness of pedagogical shifting across delivery models will likely lead to more effective university teaching in both face-to-face and distance programs (Girod & Wojcikiewicz, 2009). Utilizing an ANCOVA, research was conducted pre and post instruction that determined differences existed based on the instructional delivery model in a remedial English course favoring face-to-face instruction. Further, regarding the occurrence of higher order thinking skills, statistical analysis based on a t-test indicated that online students more frequently exhibit this skill versus students enrolled in face-to-face instruction.

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Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials

Excerpt

Online learning is quickly gaining in importance in U.S. higher education, but little rigorous evidence exists as to its effect on student learning outcomes. In "Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials," we measure the effect on learning outcomes of a prototypical interactive learning online (ILO) statistics course by randomly assigning students on six public university campuses to take the course in a hybrid format (with machine-guided instruction . . . accompanied by one hour of face-to-face instruction each week) or a traditional format (as it is usually offered by their campus, typically with 3-4 hours of face-to-face instruction each week). We find that learning outcomes are essentially the same that students in the hybrid format "pay no price" for this mode of instruction in terms of pass rates, final exam scores, and performance on a standardized assessment of statistical literacy. These zero-difference coefficients are precisely estimated. We also conduct speculative cost simulations and find that adopting hybrid models of instruction in large introductory courses have the potential to significantly reduce instructor compensation costs in the long run.

Finding

No Significant Difference

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Online Algebra Course Leads to Higher Achievement

Excerpt

The study, the first of its kind to examine the impact of an online Algebra I course on students' mathematics achievement and future math course enrollment, was conducted in Vermont and Maine. A total of 1,885 students from 68 schools participated in the study. Ninety percent of the schools were i... The study found that algebra-ready (AR) students who took the online course: Scored significantly higher on the end-of-year algebra assessment than the control group: their peers who continued with . . . the normal mathematics curriculumn rural communities.

Finding

Significant Difference - Better Results with Technology

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Online and Hybrid Course Enrollment and Performance in Washington State Community and Technical Colleges

Excerpt

This working paper investigates academic outcomes in online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses over five years among students who enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges in the fall of 2004. Students who were employed for more hours and students who had demographic characteristics associated with stronger academic preparation were more likely to enroll in online courses. Students enrolled in hybrid courses were quite similar to those who enrolled in face-to-face courses. . . . After controlling for student characteristics, results indicated that students were more likely to fail or withdraw from online courses than from face-to-face courses. Students who took online coursework in early terms were also slightly but significantly less likely to return to school in subsequent terms, and students who took a higher proportion of credits online were slightly but significantly less likely to attain an educational award or transfer to a four-year institution. In contrast, students in hybrid courses had similar to those in face-to-face courses. The paper concludes with recommendations for strengthening online supports in order to improve completion rates.

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What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning: A Second-Order Meta-Analysis and Validation Study

R.M. Tamim

R.M. Bernard

E. Brokhovski

P.C. Abrami

Schmid R.F.

Excerpt

This research study employs a second-order meta-analysis procedure to summarize 40 years of research activity addressing the question, does computer technology use affect student achievement in formal face-to-face classrooms as compared to classrooms that do not use technology? A study-level meta-analytic validation was also conducted for purposes of comparison. An extensive literature search and a systematic review process resulted in the inclusion of 25 meta-analyses with minimal overlap in . . . primary literature, encompassing 1,055 primary studies. The random effects mean effect size of 0.35 was significantly different from zero.

Finding

Significant Difference - Better Results with Technology

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The Effectiveness of Distance Education Across Virginia's Community Colleges: Evidence From Introductory College-Level Math and English Courses

Excerpt

Although online learning is rapidly expanding in the community college setting, there is little evidence regarding its effectiveness among community college students. In the current study, the authors used a statewide administrative dataset to estimate the effects of taking one's first college-level math or English course online rather than face to face, in terms of both course retention and course performance. Several empirical strategies were used to minimize the effects of student . . . self-selection, including multilevel propensity score. The findings indicate a robust negative impact of online course-taking for both subjects. Furthermore, by comparing the results of two matching methods, the authors conclude that within-school matching on the basis of a multilevel model addresses concerns regarding selection issues more effectively than does traditional propensity score matching across schools. This article was published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, vol. 33, 2011

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Influence of Instructional Technology on Learning and Persistence of Tribal College Students: A Quasi-experimental Study

Excerpt

Students who used the technology scored significantly higher than students of the control group who experienced only traditional teaching methods.

Finding

Significant Difference - Better Results with Technology

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Online Versus Face-to-face Learning: Looking at Modes of Instruction in Master's-level Courses

Excerpt

Students in the face-to-face class scored significantly higher on two out of the three measures

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