A recent study looked at 137 online and hybrid courses to determine what parts of the learning software helped students the most. The research was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success initiative.
Researchers found that math courses and those that featured problem-solving produced the most positive learning effects. Individualized pacing received high marks from the study, while the learning impact from digital courseware was greater in community colleges than for four-year institutions.
The report recommended colleges and universities should invest in high-quality courseware for lower-division courses and that these innovations should be phased in. Institutions should also use third-party evaluators to get an objective look at the data on how well the courseware works.
“Our goals were to determine courseware features associated with greater learning effectiveness and to provide guidance for funders as they look to make learning technology investments in the future,” said Barbara Means, director of the Center for Technology in Learning, SRI Education.