Many academic studies have demonstrated the efficacy of blended, self-paced, mastery-based approaches to education. Below, we summarize some of the most important and interesting research in the field.
Research on Blended Instruction
A 2010 meta-analysis of over 1,000 empirical studies of online learning concluded that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.” The effect “was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face.” Source: Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies (U.S. Department of Education, 2010)
A study of 150 students at an Australian high school found that “there are statistically significant correlations between studying within a technology-rich learning environment and the development of students’ critical thinking skills… The research suggests that to develop students' higher order thinking skills, schools should integrate technology across all of the learning areas.” Source: Critical Thinking and ICT Integration in a Western Australian Secondary School (Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 2009)
Research on Self-Paced Learning
Two separate studies conducted at the University of Illinois found that “learners with control of study-time allocation significantly outperformed subjects with no control, even when the total study time was equated between groups.” Source: On the effectiveness of self-paced learning (Journal of Memory and Language, 2011)
Research on Mastery-Based Assessment
A 1990 meta-analysis reviewed findings from 108 controlled evaluations and found that “mastery learning programs have positive effects on the examination performance of students in colleges, high schools, and the upper grades in elementary schools. The effects appear to be stronger on the weaker students in a class, and they also vary as a function of mastery procedures used, experimental designs of studies, and course content.” Source: Effectiveness of Mastery Learning Programs: A Meta-Analysis (Review of Educational Research, 1990)