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Aurora Institute


A Summary of Research on the Effectiveness of K-12 Online Learning

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Allison Powell

Organization(s): iNACOL

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

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This memo examines the outcomes of existing studies on K-12 learning effectiveness, and it provides a literature review of these studies.

A number of rigorous studies have asked the question, “Is online learning effective?” However, there is not a single, large-scale, national study comparing students taking online courses with traditional students, using control groups in the instructional design. The most in-depth, large-scale study to-date is a meta-analysis and review of studies from the U.S. Department of Education.

This memo contains 3 sections:

  • A summary of the major study by the U.S. Department of Education
  • A brief literature review of online learning research and studies
  • Future research recommendations.

Download this memo to learn more about how online learning is an effective alternative for improving student performance.