Study: Students Learn Just As Well Online...Maybe Faster34:36

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The catch phrase in the business world is disruption. Big legacy companies lumber along, churning out the same products they've always made, confident that consumers will keep buying them forever. Then, an upstart idea comes along, revolutionizes the business, and pulls the rug out from underneath the old industries.

It happened in manufacturing and the auto industry, and in technology seemingly every other day. And now, the next sector feeling the first rumbles of a coming disruption is higher education. The push for online learning is gathering force, and not just at Harvard and MIT, with their groundbreaking edX project.

But it's one thing to offer online classes, and another thing to prove they're effective. But a new study has found for the first time that students learn just as well online as in a classroom — and maybe even faster. The report comes from Ithaka S+R, a non-profit think tank focused on technology and education. The group says it also provides "consulting services for academic communities making the transition to the digital environment."

You can read the full report, below:


  • Matthew Chingos, co-author of the study, education policy fellow at the Brookings Institution
  • Dr. Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and co-founder of "Ed Tech Teacher," a professional development consultancy for schools


This segment aired on May 24, 2012.