A study done by the U.S. Dept. of Education has determined that students actually performed higher in on-line classes compared to the traditional classes. Not substantially better...but enough to start a discussion as to where the future of education should go.
On average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.
Online Education allows users to take on their education in a more meaningful way. They are allowed to take part of something fun and unique. To learn something by actually putting it to use.
What this study tells us, is that the students of today need to have their instruction be taught in an engaging and thought provoking way. In order for the learning to occur the students need to be engaged in a community and if the classrooms don't support this now, the online classes will.
How does this study, change the way you design your instruction?