Does Online Learning Deliver? A Comparison of Student Teacher Outcomes from Candidates in Face-to-Face and Online Program Pathways
Although a growing number of students are accessing online learning programs, there are concerns about the quality of these programs. Multiple reports examined online program quality, but many of those studies had methodology and design issues that make it difficult to interpret the findings conclusively. This study attempted to address the methodological concerns by comparing the learning outcomes of college students enrolled in an online early childhood teacher education program pathway with students enrolled in a parallel face-to-face early childhood teacher education program pathway. The study examined the extent to which: (a) content knowledge from an earlier required applied instructional technology course would be retained at the student teaching level, and (b) a significant difference would be found in the learning performance outcomes of student teachers based on program pathway. Student teaching data analyzed over a three-year period indicate that student teachers met expectations in their technology use and in their overall lesson planning and teaching, and that there was no significant difference in student performance in the online program pathway when compared to student performance in the face-to-face program pathway.