The failure of e-learning research to inform educational practice, and what we can do about it

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

When a new technology is introduced, earlier studies focus on demonstrations of efficacy, followed by studies comparing the new technology against the old. However, such studies do little to advance the new technology. Using an analogy with the automobile the author argues that e-learning is neither inherently superior nor inferior to traditional instruction; rather they are different and complementary. Each can effectively serve different purposes and functions suited to its strengths. A recent meta-analysis of internet-based instruction concluded that existing research provides reassurance that e-learning is better than nothing and similar (on average) to traditional instruction, but yields little guidance on how to effectively use e-learning. e-Learning research to-date has done little to inform educational practice, and further no-intervention-controlled studies or comparisons with traditional instructional methods are not needed. Instead, we need to clarify how and when to use e-learning through 'basic science' research and 'field tests' comparing one e-learning intervention to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-162
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The failure of e-learning research to inform educational practice, and what we can do about it'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this