Home > Distance Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > Is Technology-Enhanced Learning Effective? What the Research Says about TEL

Is Technology-Enhanced Learning Effective? What the Research Says about TEL

By the Research and Evaluation Team, Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Instructors interested in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) frequently want to know whether digital technology is educationally effective. Their question is not whether students like digital technology, or whether students are engaged by it, but instead whether it enhances student learning outcomes.

Despite a growing body of research into TEL, it is hard to give a simple answer to this question, in part because TEL studies are frequently deeply embedded in a particular context, which makes it difficult to know how well the studies generalize outside of that context.

A recent thorough and methodologically sound meta-analysis[1] by Barbara Means and colleagues for the U.S. Department of Education helps to address this problem by providing an overview of conclusions that are supported overall by the research on TEL. Means? primary concern was to compare the effectiveness of courses with an online component[2] to fully face-to-face courses.

Means used a stringent selection procedure in selecting studies for the meta-analysis, limiting the studies to those that used a comparative research design, measured learning outcomes objectively, controlled statistically for possible differences between control and treatment samples, and reported effect sizes for student learning outcomes. This procedure yielded 50 contrasts from studies conducted between 1996 and 2008.

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  1. June 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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