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Literature review in respect of e-learning


In order to assist me with presenting a document to senior management within a large organisation comparing the use of e-learning to the more traditional tutor led approach, I would greatly appreciate details of any literature reviews that have been completed in this area. Any empirical research particularly as regards effect of age, gender etc would also be most herlpful and welcome. Thank you.

Ken Deane
Kenneth Deane

4 Responses

  1. Literature review in respect of e-learning
    Dear Ken

    According to more than 350 separate studies conducted from the 1920s to the present day, no significant difference in learning effectiveness as measured by test results and/or student surveys was found between classroom training and training delivered by other media.

    For academic studies examining effectiveness of educational media by year, and quotes regarding the relevant conclusions of each study go to:

    Note that the forms of media examined include correspondence schools, radio instruction, TV courses, video, and online learning.

    For an article explaining the “No Significant Difference” phenomenon go to:

    A companion site features comparative studies which DO document significant differences at

    I hope this helps with your review.

    Best wishes

  2. Literature Review
    There is regretably an absence of data in this area. The “no significant difference” research suggested by Adrian is probably one of the most high profile and respected research projects in this area (depending on your viewpoint!).

    The Thomson Group has also produced a study as to the effectiveness of blending e-learning with other forms of training. You can get a copy of this via the Thomson/NETg wesbite at

    One of the issues I believe behind the absence of many studies in this area is the difficulty in comparing the different modes of delivery. Sometimes you can end up going around in circles with the pros and cons of each, and as the “no significant difference project” shows, at the end of the day, there may not be any conclusive conclusions.

    My advice has always been to present e-learning not as an alternative method of delivering training, but the best method for the specific business need that must be addressed. The most successful e-learning strategies have been those that have been backed with a strong business case. E-learning has many advantages that favour the approach when it comes to specific mission critical, large audience training requirements. Of course, you can make reference to the alternative of relying on classroom delivery and hopefully will show that this would not be the smartest way to deliver the training in terms of timescales, accessibilty, etc.

    With a specific need in mind and a delivery solution that meets that need in the most beneficial manner for the organisation, you can launch your e-learning initiative with the support of the senior executive. Once the one project is underway and the organisation can see how it’s working, they themselves will take the strategy to the next phase, by suggesting furture requirements.

  3. Also interested in same information
    Hi Ken, I am also interested in the same information for but a different reason – the dreaded CIPD Mgt Report!!

    If you get any responses, would you mind sharing them with me?

    Thanks in advance
    Liz Cooper

  4. Case Studies
    Hi Ken,

    I can provide you with case studies about using distance learning with virtual classrooms which involves a further education establishment providing AutoCad training to prison inmates located 80 miles away.

    Please contact me if you need further info.



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