The Efficacy of Virtual Learning: Student Achievement in Virtual, Hybrid, and Face-to-face Courses at a Medium-sized Community College in Virginia
Brown, Todd, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wilson, Eleanor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
This study examines the efficacy of virtual learning by comparing the final grades of students enrolled at a medium-sized community college in Virginia in either virtual, hybrid, or face-to-face sections. Achievement data from the Spring 2008 semester to the Spring 2013 semester of students enrolled in different sections of the same course taught by the same instructor were compared to determine the relative efficacy of each course modality. In many instances, students in face-to-face sections of the developmental math courses analyzed earned significantly higher final grades than students enrolled in the hybrid sections. Students enrolled in hybrid sections had significantly higher final grades than students in other sections of an English class and an Accounting class. In a veterinary studies class that was analyzed, students in the virtual sections earned significantly higher final grades than students enrolled in the hybrid sections. Gender differences were observed in the grade distributions from this community college, with females generally outperforming males. However, gender differences were not found to be significant themselves in courses that were found to contain significant differences in the achievement of students across modalities. The one exception to this finding was when the data was aggregated regardless of instructor, females enrolled in face-to-face sections of the developmental math course MTH 3 outperformed males enrolled in face-to-face sections. Although the number of students enrolled in virtual sections of courses at this community college increased steadily from 2008 to 2013 period of time, the grade distributions within the virtual and hybrid courses remained consistent over the timeframe.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
online learning, online education, virtual learning, virtual education, educational technologies
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