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It has now become a very popular option among people to take a college degree through online sources. At least 65 traditional MIT classes have been studied using the same system of pre- and post-testing of basic concepts, he says, but this is the first time anyone has applied such detailed, systematic testing to the effectiveness of an online class.

Pritchard says the results show improvement among online students that is equal to or better than in any of the previously studied traditional classes.online course

Both of these methods of analyzing the impact of the online class give consistent results, Pritchard says: All cohorts learn equally,” online course he says, whether compared on the basis of level of education, degree of preparation in math and physics, or other measures.

The one type of class in which students learned even more effectively than in either online or traditional classes, the study found, was an approach called interactive engagement pedagogy,” where students interact frequently in small groups to grapple with concepts and questions.

Such constructive engagement” in the classroom is something education reformers have long pushed for, Pritchard says, and is already used in many MIT classes.

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