Li and colleagues recently conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the effects of blended learning on K-12 students’ performance. In recent years, blended learning has become increasingly popular in K-12 education especially after the impact of COVID-19. Blended learning, also known as mixed or hybrid learning, refers to the combination of traditional face-to-face and online learning. In this meta-analysis, online learning is defined as any formal education program in which part of the instruction and content were delivered to students online with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.
A total of 84 studies with 112 effect sizes published from 2000 to 2020 met the inclusion criteria.
- Overall, compared to face-to-face learning only, the blended learning method showed a larger effect (ES = +0.65) with substantial heterogeneity.
- Effects were significantly different among various student outcomes domains. The cognitive domain (e.g., exam scores, ES = +0.74) was the strongest, followed by the affective domain (e.g., satisfaction, motivation, ES = +0.52) and the psychomotor domain (e.g., skill, ability, ES = +0.46).
- Regarding moderator analysis, no significant difference among blended learning models was found, with flipped classrooms having the largest effect (ES = 0.79), and the lab-rotation having the smallest (ES = +0.30).
- The effect of blended learning with group activities (ES = +0.94) was larger than without group activities (ES = +0.18), however, there were only four studies not involving group activities.
- Different grade levels gained different benefits from the blended learning mode. While kindergarten showed no significant effect (with only 2 studies), both elementary (ES = +0.70) and secondary schools (ES = +0.67) displayed significant improvement.
- Subject discipline in the studies showed significant different effects, with computer course having the largest effect (ES = +1.09) and reading course the smallest (ES = +0.15).
- The result of meta-regression showed that there was no significant change of effect sizes across 20 years of studies even though technology advanced across time.
The result of a publication bias test indicated that there was potential upward bias in the data. One of the possible reasons may be that unpublished studies with insignificant effects were not included in this meta-analysis. Nevertheless, the author believed the result of this meta-analysis enriched educators’ understanding of the practice related to effective blended learning in K-12 education.
Source: Li, S., & Wang, W. (2022). Effect of blended learning on student performance in K-12 settings: A meta-analysis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 38(5), 1254–1272. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12696