Skip to Main Content
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that "the boom in educational technology has not lived up to its promise of revolutionizing the classroom and making higher education more profitable" (Carnevale, 2004). The Chronicle later highlighted a study showing that "while the innovations have made courses more convenient, the spending [on IT in the classroom] has yet to have a large impact on learning" (Young, 2004). On the other hand, this same article states that "of the students surveyed, 76.1% said their experience using a course-management system was positive or very positive, with only 6.6% saying it was negative or very negative (17.3% were neutral on the issue)." So how effective is online versus traditional instruction? The author's personal observation is that his online students performed about as well as my traditional students on all their assignments, tests, and exercises. Different types of practice materials were available to the different classes, each appropriate to the teaching or learning situation in use. However, despite studies on instructional methods, there has never been a definitive answer to the question.