Student Achievement in Online Distance Education Compared to Face-to-Face Education

Namsook Jahng, PhD. Student [
Don Krug, Associate Professor [
Zuochen Zhang, PhD. Student []
Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4


A meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize existing research published between 1995 and 2004 comparing student achievement in online distance education (ODE) and face-to-face education (F2FE) at the post-secondary level. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the development of technology contributed to student achievement in ODE within the last ten years. The result of comparing overall weighted mean effect size of student achievement showed no significant difference between the two settings (d = .023, k = 20, N = 1617, p = 0.640). However, the student achievement comparison revealed an interesting result when the primary studies were categorized by whether the experimental study conducted a pre-test or not. In the pre-tested group of studies, student achievement in ODE was significantly higher than F2FE (d = 0.211, k = 9, N = 631, p < 0.05) even though there was no difference for prior knowledge between ODE and F2FE (d = 0.0813, k=9, N=631, p>0.05). On the other hand, student achievement from the no pre-test group of studies resulted in no significant difference between the two settings (d = -0.106, k = 11, N = 986, p > 0.05). Discussion and suggestion for further studies are provided focusing on methodological weakness of primary studies and differences of teaching and learning in ODE and F2FE.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, MOOC, learning management system, LMS, interaction,

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