It’s not news to teachers, but a new study is reinforcing what educators already know: Digital learning is not the panacea some have claimed it to be. A report from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) has found that digital learning is neither necessarily cheaper nor more effective than more traditional methods of instruction.
Schools are experimenting with many different digital learning initiatives, yet for many programs, there’s little research to indicate whether or not they work. The NEPC study found that the programs most likely to benefit students are blended instruction programs — ones that complement traditional classroom teaching with online components. However, doing blended learning well is more expensive than traditional education.
The report’s author, Noel Enyedy, associate professor of education and information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, said, “It may be that we need to turn to new ways of conceptualizing the role of technology in the classroom — conceptualizations that do not assume the computer will provide direct instruction to students, but instead will serve to create new opportunities for both learning and teaching.”