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Distance Learning Report for 2009-10

Posted on 12/21/2011

The Distance Learning Report, also known as the California Adult Education 2009-10 Innovation and Alternative Instructional Delivery Program report, is now posted. As in previous reports, data is presented on the current state of distance learning in adult education. Data is provided by CASAS, and Dr. Richard Stiles authored the report.

The data for 2009-10 clearly reflects the severe effects of budget cuts and flexibility. Student enrollment in distance classes is down 55 percent from the previous year. There were also fewer Innovation Program applications than in the previous year. However, many programs continue to offer distance options, and more are looking into moving from video checkout to various online and blended options.

While 300 courses were offered through video checkout in 2009–10, 172 courses were offered online or had an online component. Two-thirds of all distance courses were for ESL or Citizenship. Other instructional areas include high school diploma courses, GED preparation, Adult Basic Education, career and technical education, and parent education.

Research continues to suggest the success of distance learning among California adult students is high, especially in ESL instruction. The data for 2009-10 show distance learning catching up with classroom learning and even blended learning in terms of student persistence and learning outcomes. The chart below shows learner persistence for Adult Basic Education students over four years. Students enrolled in distance learning only in 2006-07 were much less likely than their classroom counterparts to stay in the class for 70 hours. Persistence increased for all three models in 2009-10, but particularly for distance only students.

Persistence of California ABE students in three delivery models over four years (data from CASAS 2010)

The data on the percent of students completing a level looks quite similar. The data on level completion for ESL students shows this trend even more clearly. For ESL students, blended instruction (partly in the classroom and partly online or at a distance) has remained the most effective model, but students studying at a distance only are now achieving results comparable to those in the classroom. All research is available on the OTAN Web site.

Level completion percent rates for California ESL students in three delivery models over four years (data from CASAS 2010)