Lowes research

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  • Surveys, many in the iNACOL research briefs, plus some more recent studies of online teachers and teaching practicesCase studies of a single schoolProgram evaluations, some very strong; NCVPS in particular has generated many interesting studiesStandards are in fact not linked to research findingsThis is very difficult research to doThe recent SRI/USDOE Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning found only 9 studies conducted with K-12 students and ALL of these were in some kind of blended environment. Two were excellent studies that will be referred to here but were not fully online—students had someone in the classroom with them.
  • These studies are too difficult to do well—we had ample evidence of this is a series of studies funded by the USDOE to Learning Point Associates in 1995Obligation was gold-standard studies, so everyone triedAnd everyone failed—for these reasonsEven where teachers are not different, the nexus of teacher-students is different—the class dynamic—so need more than once instance
  • Principals says one reason they send kids to online courses is because it helps with scheduling—this is not the way to go
  • There are no studies that I know of that look at the one-to-one model.
  • Engaged: we know that students need to communicate, interact, and collaborate with each other to learnNeed to review the courses carefully—they vary greatly, even from the same provider
  • Should professional development be up front, broken into pieces, or both, and what should go into each piece?What should be the mix of student-teacher and student-student interaction in asynchronous classrooms?What should be the mix of synchronous and asynchronous interaction?What instructional designs work best for what subject areasNeed surveys to look at what is going on—examples are foreign language learning, student preparationCompared f2f and OL PD and found that each worked better for different thingsSpanish—teased out the different aspects of language learning that worked well OL and f2f
  • Lowes research

    1. 1. TEN LESSONS LEARNEDFROM TEN YEARS OFRESEARCH ONK-12 ONLINE TEACHING ANDLEARNINGDr. Susan LowesDirector, Research and EvaluationInstitute for Learning TechnologiesAdjunct Professor, Program inComputing, Communication, Technology and EducationTeachers College/Columbia University Presentation to the NECC/NYCC Virtual Learning Summit April 27, 2011
    2. 2. Lessons on the existing research base
    3. 3. Lesson 1: Young field, exploratory research Research has been based on the need to understand a fast-evolving field  Surveys—about experiences, perceptions, and attitudes  Case studies—program evaluations, chapters in edited collections, journal articles  Dissertation-level qualitative studies  Lots of practical experience, leading to many standards, but standards are not necessarily built on research Very few well-executed experimental or quasi- experimental designs Very few studies that delve deeply into the data to
    4. 4. A few recent interesting examples In-depth qualitative single-case studies of pre-service teacher training and of virtual school teachers’ practices, each in a single virtual school Ongoing evaluation of North Carolina Virtual School, from teacher and student perspective Using back-end data to show that time spent in a course, not number of visits, is correlated with student success Using content analysis to understand the dynamics of student interaction in discussion forums and in collaborative group projects A comparative case study of online and f2f environments that analyzed the benefits of each for teaching a foreign language A comparative case study of online and f2f teacher professional development that analyzed the benefits of each. A comparative case study, using network and content analysis to analyze patterns of interaction in an online professional development course in order to understand
    5. 5. Lesson 2: Early focus was on comparingonline with face-to-face Many studies as new field needed to prove itself Generally compared non-comparables  The online students were almost always a self- selected group to start and even more so after attrition  The curriculum was generally different  The teachers are almost always different Most studies cited are from higher education and cannot be assumed to apply to K-12 Overall, they suggest that online (done well) was at least as good as f2f (done well)
    6. 6. Lesson 3: We now need to ask differentquestions We still need to survey the field But we should turn our focus toward making online courses as good as, or better than, f2f courses We need to tease out the affordances and constraints of each environment so educators can build on these We need to understand online better We need to use the data generated by the LMS, but we must combine it with other analyses
    7. 7. Lessons on teachers and teaching
    8. 8. Lesson 4: Online teachers have certaincharacteristics Online teachers are …  Experienced teachers  Life-long learners looking for new challenges  Well-organized Online teachers agree that teaching online takes at least as much, and often more, time than teaching f2f Online teachers play many roles (facilitator, technology trouble- shooter, counselor, administrator, customer service representative)
    9. 9. Lesson 5: ... but online teachers are alsosimilar in some ways to face-to-faceteachers Online teachers …  Have different teaching styles and beliefs about teaching  Want control over their courses  See their courses as works-in-progress and continually make changes  Engage deeply with the students they are teaching Successful online teachers are able to establish teacher presence and student presence in their online classrooms We need to know much more about the intricacies of teaching online and far more about the 1-to-1 model
    10. 10. Lesson 6: Online teachers need tailoredtraining Online teachers want training that ..  Starts early  Is substantial  Is ongoing  Is “bite-sized”  Is fully online and facilitated Some of the training needs to be subject-matter specific Few colleges that train teachers are training them for teaching online; fewer still have collaborations with virtual schools We know very little about what makes professional development effective and even less about pre-service training
    11. 11. Lessons on students and learning
    12. 12. Lesson 7: Successful online students havethese personal characteristics … Online students who succeed (complete) tend to be…  Motivated  Organized  Have good time management skills (self-discipline)  Independent learners BUT taking an online course can help develop these skills And many different types of students are highly motivated, including at-risk students
    13. 13. … and certain background characteristics Online students who succeed tend to have …  Good technology skills  Good academic preparation Students therefore need to be carefully prepared for online learning using …  Diagnostic pre-assessments  Technology preparation  Mini-courses to try out the environment We need to know much more about how best to prepare students
    14. 14. Lesson 8: Successful online students are inenvironments conducive to learning Successful online students are in environments that …  Have technology problems resolved before the class begins  The first weeks of an online course are the most important weeks in terms of managing attrition  Have a set time period reserved for the online course  Have a set place to do the work There must be active supervision and guidance, and active communication/coordination between the student’s site-based supervisor and the online
    15. 15. Lesson 9: Successful online students arealso … In schools where online learning is considered as good as face-to-face learning  Less successful students often have two misconceptions about online courses  They are easier than f2f courses  They take less time than f2f courses  Students pick up these misconceptions from the attitudes of administrators or teachers Engaged by their courses  Students want interactivity and to have the course connected to the real world  Students want to interact with each other
    16. 16. Lessons on research again
    17. 17. Lesson 10: We have so much more tolearn… We need to continue to survey the field But we also need detailed studies of online learning  We need more comparative studies that compare online to online  We need to compare the same implementations with different conditions  We need to make much more use of back-end data  We need more in-depth looks inside courses  We need follow-up studies, especially for professional development Many LMS’s collect massive amounts of data but most schools are not prepared to use it
    18. 18. For list of references, contact: Dr. Susan LowesTeachers College/Columbia University lowes@tc.edu

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