Virtual Learning: An Evidence-based Overview of eLearning Programs and Trends

By Christopher Brueningsen and Vince Watchorn.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.97-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 474.657KB).

Christopher Brueningsen

Headmaster, Administration, The Kiski School, Saltsburg, PA, USA

Christopher Brueningsen earned a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and a master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His first teaching position was as a mathematics and physics instructor at The Kiski School. In 1996, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He served as the Mathematics Department Chair and Director of Studies at the Brunswick School in Connecticut before being appointed Head of Upper School at the Nichols School in Buffalo, New York. In 2002, he returned to Kiski to become the school’s seventh headmaster. He resides on campus with his wife, Megan, who teaches English at Kiski.

Vince Watchorn

Associate Head of School, Administration, The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Vince Watchorn is the Associate Head of School at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Head-elect of Providence Country Day School in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to his appointment at Ellis in 2006, he served as the Associate Head of School for External Affairs at West Nottingham Academy in Maryland. A graduate of Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, he holds a B.A. from Muhlenberg College and two Master’s degrees from Wilmington College, one in School Leadership and one in Instruction and Learning. Deeply committed to the visual and performing arts, he is active on the boards of several non-profits.