South Texas College has released new data that suggests that student success and retention rates are higher in hybrid courses (a combination of face-to-face learning and online learning) than in traditional or distance education courses. In July, the U.S. Department of Education released the results of a Meta-Analysis and Reviews of Online Learning Studies which showed similar findings.
According to an article from Inside Higher Ed, researchers at the college analyzed the grades of every student enrolled during the spring 2009 semester. A grade of “A”, “B”, “C”, or “Pass” was considered successful and “D”, “F”, “Not Pass” or “Incomplete” was considered unsuccessful. The study found that student success rates were 82% for hybrid courses, 72% for traditional courses, and 60% for distance learning. For courses in liberal arts and social sciences, allied health, and business and technology, success rates were the highest in hybrid courses while math and science success rates were highest in traditional courses. The article notes that due to the sample size the findings can not be considered statistically significant. The researchers at the college plan to conduct additional research to determine why the hybrid courses produced better outcomes and to compare how well the students performed to how much they learned.