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Aurora Institute


Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity

Author(s): Austin Lasseter, Linda Shear, Marianne Bakia, Yukie Toyama

Organization(s): U.S. Department of Education

Issue(s): State Policy, Develop Educator Capacity, Issues in Practice

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The purpose of this report is to support administrators and policymakers in becoming informed consumers of information about online learning and its potential impact on productivity. It provides foundational knowledge and a conceptual framework, drawing specifically on cost-effective analyses. Literature suggests 9 ways in which online learning can improve productivity:

  • Broadening access
  • Engaging students in active learning
  • Individualizing and differentiating instruction
  • Making better use of teacher and student time
  • Increasing the rate of student learning
  • Reducing school-based facilities costs
  • Reducing salary costs
  • Realizing opportunities for economies of scale


Read more to discover how technologies can transform traditional education processes, leading to productivity improvements.