Inside Higher Ed broke the news that an online interactive Statistics course proved to be a faster and cheaper pathway to mastery than the traditional approach.
The new research from the nonprofit organization Ithaka was seeking to prove the viability of a less expansive application of “machine-guided learning” than the new MOOCs are attempting — though one that nevertheless could have real implications for the costs of higher education.
The study, called “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities,” involved students taking introductory statistics courses at six (unnamed) public universities. A total of 605 students were randomly assigned to take the course in a “hybrid” format: they met in person with their instructors for one hour a week; otherwise, they worked through lessons and exercises using an artificially intelligent learning platform developed by learning scientists at Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative.
Led by William G. Bowen, the former president of Princeton University, the authors hope the study will change minds.
The study, Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials, suggests the courses offered at six institutions were first generation content lacking adaptive technology that would customize learning pathways and social strategies that boost collaboration.
The study was a small not-necessarily representative group taking one class, but it is further indication that blended learning offers the potential of more economical and rapid pathways to mastery.