This body of research supports distance education as neither better or worse than face-to-face education. Once you factor in cost and convenience, it would seem that online training is the big winner.
No Significant Difference - Presented by WCET:
"Does taking a course via distance education lower a student's chances for success as compared to the same student taking the same course in a face-to-face format?
Mr. Russell collected research studies addressing this question from as far back as 1928. The studies included in his collection involve a wide array of distance delivery modes including correspondence (printed materials sent out to students), radio, television, video, and online. Mr. Russell found that an overwhelming number of studies showed that when the course materials and teaching methodology were held constant, there were no significant differences (NSD) between student outcomes in a distance delivery course as compared to a face to face course. In other words, student outcomes in distance delivery courses were neither worse nor better than those in face to face courses. Mr. Russell referred to this collection of results as the "No Significant Difference Phenomenon", thus coining the now-common identifier phrase for this body of literature."
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