Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies

For my reflection in Module 2, I read the titled article and reflected on the findings and how they might inform my own teaching practice.

1.  Online learning—for students and for teachers —is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology. (page xi)

This is what persuaded me to go for my MET.  Technology use isn’t going to decrease over the years.  It took me 20 years to choose a Masters program, but I chose one that has a clear upside in the future.

2.  Interest in hybrid approaches that blend in-class and online activities is increasing.  (page xi)

I work in a brick-and-mortar school setting.  We acquired Promethean Boards a few years ago.  Once we did, I have been looking at ways to incorporate more and more technology.  While we are not capable of having a true blended classroom, I incorporate anything from my MET classes that will help my students.

3.  Blends of online and face-to-face instruction, on average, had stronger learning outcomes than did face-to-face instruction alone.  (page 19)

4.  Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that
students learn in online classes.  (page xvi)

5.  Increasingly, regular classroom teachers are incorporating online teaching and learning activities into their instruction.  (page 1)

As I stated above, I can’t have true online learning blended with my classroom instructions. I can incorporate some ideas into my class in order to increase my students learning.  One thing I have added is using videos to instruct my students on the lesson at the start of class.  I have found that my students pay more attention to the videos than when I taught the lesson.  I think that today’s student is more visual than the past (even the recent past), so statement 4 might not be as true now.  As a side bonus, I can handle administrative tasks while the video is playing.

6.  Online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with
media and prompting learner reflection.  (page xvi)

7.  These studies found that a tool or feature prompting students to reflect on their learning was effective in improving outcomes.  (page 44)

I always try get my students to understand that in Math, getting the right answer is NOT to most important element.  Knowing why the answer is correct is far more important.  I’ll give them the answer, but I need them to tell me why it is.  By reflecting on this, then they are more capable of solving future similar problems.

8.  Although K–12 school systems lagged behind at first, this sector’s adoption of e-learning is now proceeding rapidly.  (page 1)

The biggest plus of this is that it will create more online teaching positions.  This will give new online teachers the much needed experience to become effective teachers (just as you need to teach in the face-to-face classroom to be effective in that environment).

9.  The results of three studies exploring the effects of including different types of online simulations were modestly positive.  (page 43)

Simulations is something I have heard about and would like to try.  As a Math teacher, I am curious what kind of mathematical simulations are out there.  I believe that they could be very helpful for students who feel that mathematics is unimportant and wonder when they will ever use it.

10.  There were only two online learning studies of the effects of individualizing instruction, but both found a positive effect.  (page 44)

I have spent nine years of my teaching career doing tutoring.  For many students who have math difficulties, they have developed a fear of doing math, especially in front of other students.  Working in a small setting or individually, these students are more likely to seek help.  Some students have trouble staying focused and can be distracted in a larger group.  Individual instruction forces them to constantly work and develop better skills.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., and Jones, J. Evaluation of evidence- based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Technical report, Center for Technology in Learning. Retrieved from  http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

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