Seb Schmoller in Fortnightly Mailing reports on one of the first studies examining the effectiveness of Khan Academy content in a blended learning environment.
The authors of the study attach a number of caveats, noting, for example, the small sample size and brief duration of the experiment. Nonetheless, the results are clear:
Students using Khan Academy content in a blended learning model showed, on average, a 6.4% gain compared to a 5.2% gain in the control group. The two groups scored roughly the same overall, each showing better results in some areas compared to the other group.
The authors of the study conclude that “as with any pilot, we are left with as many questions as answers”. Future studies are planned, including a year long pilot of Khan Academy for all ninth grade students at Envision Academy.
It’s worth noting that the students in the study had all failed algebra. The authors mention this but only in passing. We need to keep this in mind before deriving hasty conclusions. A tentative hypothesis might be: “Khan Academy in a blended context shows no gains for failing students…”
Although the experiment is inconclusive the study authors are to be commended for “bringing experimentation to education”, the motto of the Blend My Learning web site.