For many years, businesses have been leveraging online environments for the purposes of conducting meetings, training seminars and tradeshows. Educational institutions have experimented with these platforms as alternative mechanisms for curriculum delivery. In this paper, we explore the benefits and limitations of emerging eLearning technologies including a review of the US Department of Education research findings on the impact of online learning on student achievement. We also discuss the concept of “blended learning” – combining online and face-to-face instruction. We also share the results of several research studies on gender-based differences in online settings, and will talk specifically about the online programs at two single-sex schools. The first program, in pilot last year at a boys’ boarding school, used real-time voice and video feeds of class meetings, instant-messaging, file sharing, and an interactive whiteboard to promote student learning. The program has now been expanded to include a virtual world environment in which students and teachers interact with one another as avatars in three-dimensional digital space. The second program is at a girls’ school that is part of a new venture pooling eight girls’ schools as charter members. Currently in its beta phase, this blended-learning program allows girls to collaborate in an online setting through a variety of mechanisms from building wikis to sharing ideas via webcam postings.
|Keywords:||Online Learning, Learning Styles, Gender|
Headmaster, Administration, The Kiski School, Saltsburg, PA, USA
Associate Head of School, Administration, The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, PA, USA