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Assessing the Effectiveness of Distance Education versus Traditional On-Campus Education

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting,


This study compared the effectiveness of distance education versus on-campus education, as measured by pre- and post-tests, differences in final exam scores and final course grades, age, and preferred learning styles. Learning style preferences were determined by the Canfield Learning Styles Inventory. Participants included 47 undergraduate students enrolled in a business communications course at a North Carolina university; 23 students were enrolled in the traditional on-campus class and 24 students in the distance education class. Both groups had the same instructor and studied the same course content in the same time frame; classes differed in terms of scheduling, accessibility to the instructor, and instructional media and method. The study found no significant differences between pre-test scores and final course grades. However, analysis revealed significant differences in post-test scores, final exam scores, and students' age, with distance education students (who were on average older than traditional students) having higher post-test scores and higher final exam scores. No differences were observed in final course grades. Analysis of learning style preferences found a preference for organization and detail in both groups; the least preferred style for traditional students was independent, and for distance students, the least preferred style was authority. (Contains 16 references.) (CH)


Tucker, S.Y. (2000). Assessing the Effectiveness of Distance Education versus Traditional On-Campus Education. Presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2020 from .

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