Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning Outcomes: Face-to-Face vs Online #7

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Learning Outcomes: Face-to-Face vs Online #7” [Hake (2011)]. The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: In his post “Re: Learning Outcomes: Face-to-Face vs Online,” POD's Mike Theall pointed to Richard Clark’s (1983) famously provocative dictum: “The media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in nutrition.”

But Robert Kozma (1991) countered Clark’s dictum with: “While some students will learn a particular task regardless of delivery device, others will be able to take advantage of a particular medium's characteristics to help construct knowledge.”

Responding to critics, Clark (1994) set forth a more guarded “Replaceability Challenge” (paraphrasing): “We need to ask ‘Are there other media that would yield similar learning gains?’ If so, then in a design science, we must always choose the less expensive way to achieve a learning goal. We must also form our theories around the underlying structural features of the shared properties of the interchangeable variables and not base theory on the irrelevant surface features.”

In my opinion, among media that meet Clark’s “Replaceability Challenge” are:

(a) microcomputer-based labs for Newtonian mechanics instruction;

(b) computer-implemented tutorials in introductory physics;

(c) online instruction when it is impossible for students to engage in face-to-face instruction;

(d) the “One Laptop per Child” project ;

(e) ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) used to improve education in developing and economically distressed countries – see ;

(f) “Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4Dev)” .


To access the complete 32 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands

President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“A clash of doctrines is not a disaster - it is an opportunity.”

Alfred North Whitehead

REFERENCES [All URL’s accessed on 10 Jan 2010; some shortened by .

Clark, R.E. 1983. “Reconsidering research on learning from media.” Review of Educational Research 53(4): 445-459; an abstract is online at

Clark, R. E. 1994. “Media will Never Influence Learning,” Educational Technology Research and Development 42(2): 21-29; online at .

Hake, R.R. 2011. “Learning Outcomes: Face-to-Face vs Online #7” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 10 Jan 2011 16:41:59 -0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

Kozma, R.B. 1991. “Learning with media.” Review of Educational Research 61(2): 179-212; online at (307 kB).

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