Understanding the Implications of Online Learning

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 Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology

Prepared by: Marianne Bakia Linda Shear Yukie Toyama Austin Lasseter

Center for Technology in Learning SRI International January 2012

This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education under Contract number ED01-CO-0040 Task 0010 with SRI International. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education is intended or should be inferred.

U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan Secretary

Office of Educational Technology Karen Cator Director

January 2012

This report is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce this report in whole or in part is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the suggested citation is: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity, Washington, D.C., 2012. This report is available on the Department's Web site at On request, this publication is available in alternate formats, such as Braille, large print, or computer diskette. For more information, please contact the Department's Alternate Format Center at (202) 260-0852 or (202) 260-0818.

Technical Contact: Bernadette Adams Senior Policy Analyst Office of Educational Technology bernadette.adams@

Contents

Exhibits................................................................................................................................ ii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ iii Executive Summary............................................................................................................. v Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1

Overview of Online Learning for Secondary Education .................................................... 1 Purpose of this Report ..................................................................................................... 3 Introduction to the Measurement of Educational Productivity ...............................................5 Estimating Program Costs ............................................................................................... 8 Documenting Context and Implementation .................................................................... 10 Measuring Program Outcomes ...................................................................................... 10 Cost-Effectiveness Research Requirements .................................................................. 12 The Productivity Potential of Online Learning ....................................................................15 Opportunities to Reduce Educational Costs Through Online Learning ........................... 25 Implications .......................................................................................................................33 The Need for Transformation ......................................................................................... 34 Suggestions for Future Research .................................................................................. 35 Appendix A: Additional Resources................................................................................... A-1 General Productivity in Education ................................................................................ A-2 Productivity and Educational Technology..................................................................... A-3 Key Resources on Types and Prevalence of Online Learning.................................... A-13 Quality Standards for Online Learning Programs ....................................................... A-15 References .................................................................................................................... A-17

i

Exhibits

Exhibit 1: Components of Educational Productivity Analyses...............................................7 Exhibit 2: Comparison of Per-Pupil Spending ....................................................................26

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