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Online Education

February 11, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Jenny Bratburd

Online education, from K-12 to higher education settings, includes many forms of teaching that can supplement or substitute in-person classes. Online education may offer opportunities not feasible for in-person education (massive classes, distance learning). Generally, online learning outcome assessments are similar or slightly reduced compared to in-person learning. Taken together, online education has the potential to improve accessibility of education but may also reduce education quality, particularly for less well-regulated institutions.


  • Online education can take many forms, ranging from blended online and in-person, to massive self-paced courses.
  • Fully online courses tend to have some test score reductions relative to in-person.
  • Missouri recently revamped the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program to offer online education for K- 12 students.


  • Because online education can take many forms, have institutionalized differences, and rely on students’ engagement, it is difficult to generalize comparisons to in-person education.
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