Researchers at Indiana University have discovered an unsuspected benefit for online learners over those working in more traditional ways. It seems that the online approach lends itself to deep learning, a type of learning that goes beyond rote memorising and focuses on reflection, integrative learning, and higher-order thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which was conducted by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, collected information from nearly 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities across the United States. NSSE explored the experiences of online learners through a set of additional questions given to more than 22,000 students from 47 institutions. The results were released on 10th November.
“Critics of distance education assume that face-to-face classes have inherent advantages as learning environments,” said Alexander C. McCormick, NSSE director and associate professor of education at Indiana University. “But these results indicate that those who teach classes online may be making special efforts to engage their students.” We know that NCS tutors always make a special effort and it appears that this is a real benefit to students.
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