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Is distance learning really a substitute for on-site learning? Perceptions of faculty who teach undergraduate economics using both formats

Timothy Wunder, Dawn Richards Elliott and Scott England

International Review of Economics Education, 2013, vol. 14, issue C, 4-15

Abstract: This study draws from the divergent conclusions found in distance learning studies in general compared to those done within economics. Most studies of distance learning report no difference in learning outcomes compared to in class instruction. This is challenged by controlled studies within economics which report a negative difference in distance learning. Economics faculties who have taught the same undergraduate courses using both methods were surveyed. They perceive a learning advantage in onsite learning but not in learning outcomes. What explains this anomaly and what does it suggest about the growing use of distance learning in higher education? The survey suggests that differences in learning outcomes may reflect differences in evaluative techniques. This implies that distance and onsite learning are not perfect substitutes and suggests that learning tradeoffs must be managed. One example relates to faculty training on the importance of standardizing evaluative techniques.

Keywords: Distance learning; Economics education; Faculty perspectives on distance learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A20 A22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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