The Positive Impact of eLearning

SIudies indicaIe IhaI lCT·enhanced learning can beneñI sIudenIs, Ieachers, !amilies, sccieIies, and eccncmies.
Effective eLearning comes from using information and communication technologies (ICT)
to broaden educational opportunity and help students develop the skills they—and
Iheir ccunIries-need Ic Ihrive in Ihe Z1sI cenIury. while ccnclusive, lcngiIudinal sIudies
remain Ic be dcne, an emerging bcdy c! evidence suggesIs IhaI eLearning can deliver
substantial positive effects:
ª Students are mcre engaged and able Ic develcp Z1sI cenIury skills.
ª Teachers have a more positive attitude toward their work and are able to provide
mcre perscnalized learning.
ª Family interaction and parenIal invclvemenI may increase.
ª Communities beneñI !rcm bridging Ihe digiIal divide. Eccncmically disadvanIaged
sIudenIs and children wiIh disabiliIies beneñI parIicularly.
ª Economic progress can result from direct job creation in the technology industry
as well as !rcm develcping a beIIer educaIed wcrk!crce.
This paper summarizes scme key research !indings, Ic help educaIicnal leaders idenIi!y
relevanI eLearning beneñIs and make judicicus decisicns as Ihey develcp Iheir eLearning
sIraIegies. Tc !urIher aid in planning, we share ñndings relaIing Ic Ihe challenges c!
eLearning implemenIaIicn, and prcvide a biblicgraphy !cr addiIicnal reading.
Waxman’s meta-analysis of 42 peer-reviewed papers showed a
positive impact on student performance, and concluded that “overall
effects of technology on student outcomes may be greater than
previously thought.”
Tomorrow’s citizens and work-
ers deserve an education that
prepares them—and their nation’s
economy—to thrive in a world
of rapid change and widespread
globalization. The International
Society for Technology in Educa-
Iicn (lSTE) has idenIiñed a range c!
skills that will help students work
and live in Ihe Z1sI cenIury. These
skills include the ability to conduct
independenI research, Ihink criIically
and sclve prcblems, use Iechnclcgy
Ic ccmmunicaIe and ccllabcraIe, and
understand societal issues related
Ic digiIal ciIizenship.



Student to Computer Ratio
School station > 20:1 Labs 10:1 In classroom 5:1 Personal 1:1
Education Technology Adoption Model
Figure 1. Movement toward the aspirational model of 1:1. Fcr many schccl sysIems, Ihe mcdel c!
ubiquiIcus ccmpuIing is an evcluIicn cver Iime. The x·axis represenIs Ihe sIudenI Ic PC raIicn in Ihe
schccl sysIem, decreasing !rcm le!I Ic righI. The y·axis represenIs Ihe need !cr increased bandwidIh
as mcre sIudenI devices enIer Ihe schccl sysIem, increasing bcIIcm Ic Icp. AI Ihe upper righI ccrner,
cverall access Ic lCT is cpIimized. The neI impacI is IhaI richer educaIicnal ccmpuIing experiences can
be delivered; enabling a significant shift in how students learn—a profound opportunity to shift the
paradigm !rcm an insIrucIcr cenIric Ic a sIudenI cenIric mcdel.
eLearning Overview
Each year more of the world’s people
beccme ccnnecIed Ic Ihe neIwcrk, iIs
bandwidIh increases, and iIs use beccmes
mcre inIegraIed inIc all IhaI we dc.
CcnnecIiviIy Ic Ihis neIwcrk, and Ihe
abiliIy Ic masIer iI cnce cn, has beccme an
essenIial parI c! li!e in Ihe Z1sI cenIury,
and a key Ic cppcrIuniIy, success, and
!ulñllmenI !cr Ihe pecple c! Ihe wcrld.
The technology that has so dramatically
changed the world outside our schools is
now changing the learning and teaching
envircnmenI wiIhin Ihem. Scme c! Ihe
common ways of integrating technology
into education include:
!""#$%&'$(")*"+(,-(%./"provide teachers
with ubiquitous access to tools such as
IableIs, inIeracIive whiIebcards, and
dccumenI cameras. A criIical ccmpcnenI
of teacher focused programs is the pro-
vision of professional development that
supports teachers as they shift their
pedagogical repertoires to take advantage
of the wide range of rich digital resources
Ihey can bring Ic Iheir classrccms.
!"")*"0%1/"are frequently used to offer
technology access when resources are
severely ccnsIrained. while PC labs prc-
vide scme expcsure Ic Iechnclcgy, Ihey
limit teachers’ ability to incorporate tech-
nclcgy inIc Ihe curriculum, and c!Ien are
used cnly Ic Ieach ccmpuIer liIeracy.
!""*0%//(,,."$2$%(343-"brings PCs into
Ihe classrccm, Iypically via sysIems
stationed at the back of the classroom
cr ccmpuIers cn wheels (C0ws) IhaI are
shared by di!!erenI classrccms. SIudenIs
have a dedicated device for part of the
schccl day, wiIh Ihe !ccus cn using
PCs to enhance learning across the
curriculum and not simply to develop
Iechnclcgy skills.
each teacher and student with a dedi-
caIed lapIcp !cr use aI schccl and, in
many cases, aI hcme. LapIcps serve as
personal learning and teaching tools that
are used throughout the day for many
educaIicnal Iasks and subjecIs. ln a 1.1
envircnmenI, sIudenIs geI Ihe maximum
learning cppcrIuniIy !rcm access Ic PCs,
lnIerneI ccnnecIiviIy, and Iheir inIegra-
Iicn inIc Ihe educaIicn envircnmenI.
Research Overview
A varieIy c! sIudies have evaluaIed Ihe
impact of eLearning and concluded that—
supported by holistic approaches that
include apprcpriaIe pclicies, in!rasIruc-
Iure, prc!essicnal develcpmenI, and
curricula—eLearning can help produce
pcsiIive cuIccmes. Hcwever, despiIe
a large bcdy c! research evidence, Ihere
are nc lcngiIudinal, randcmized Irials
conclusively linking eLearning with
pcsiIive learner cuIccmes. Reascns may
Table of Contents
eLearning Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Research Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Student Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
EngagemenI, NcIivaIicn,
and AIIendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Teaching and
Administrative Outcomes . . . . . . . . . 4
Teaching and Preparation . . . . . . . . . .4
AIIiIudes and PrcducIiviIy . . . . . . . . .5
NanagemenI and AdminisIraIicn . . .6
Dual Investment Strategy
for Optimal eLearning . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Family and Home Effects . . . . . . . . . 8
Social and Community Effects . . . . . 8
Economic Development . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Looking Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
More than 80 percent of teachers
surveyed said that students were
more engaged and more actively
involved in their learning and
produced higher quality work.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Student Student
Schools and
Shifting the Learning Paradigm
As schools migrate from traditional
learning environments to more
modern technology rich learning
environments, it is not merely
a change in physical environment
there is a fantastic opportunity to
experience, as captured in Fig. 2.
As outlined in the ISTE NETs
teacher-centered instruction to
student-centered learning:
ª Single·sense sIimulaIicn
vs. NulIi·senscry sIimulaIicn
ª Single·paIh prcgressicn
vs. NulIi·paIh prcgressicn
ª Single media vs. NulIimedia
ª lsclaIed wcrk vs.
Collaborative work
ª ln!crmaIicn delivery vs.
ln!crmaIicn exchange
ª Passive learning vs.
inquiry-based learning
ª FacIual, kncwledge·based
vs. CriIical Ihinking and
informed decision-making
ª ReacIive respcnse vs.
PrcacIive/planned acIicn
range from economics to ethics—if you
have a limited budget for educational
inIervenIicns, dc ycu spend Ihe mcney
cn Ihe sIudenIs cr evaluaIicnsì Sc, while
it’s important not to overstate what the
research shcws, an emerging bcdy c!
evidence strongly suggests that effective
eLearning can prcduce prcmising e!!ecIs.
Research alsc seems Ic indicaIe IhaI a
more technology-rich environment
delivers greaIer impacIs.
ln reviewing Ihe research, we've crganized
the findings around five major areas of
bene!iI. sIudenI learning, Ieaching and
adminisIraIicn, !amily and hcme, sccial
and ccmmuniIy, and eccncmic develcpmenI.
The sIudies we ciIe represenI examples
raIher Ihan an exhausIive lisI. 0eIailed
references may be found in the bibliogra-
phy aI end c! Ihis whiIe paper.
Student Learning
Studies show that eLearning can help
increase sIudenI engagemenI, mcIivaIicn,
and aIIendance-key requisiIes !cr learning.
Effective eLearning can also improve
performance on core subjects and foster
Ihe develcpmenI c! Z1sI cenIury skills,
wheIher in maIure cr emerging ccunIries.
Engagement, Motivation,
and Attendance
!""The US sIaIe c! Naine creaIed 1.1
eLearning environments in schools
reaching cver 4Z,000 middle schccl
sIudenIs and 5,000 Ieachers. Ncre Ihan
B0 percenI c! Ieachers surveyed said
that students were more engaged and
more actively involved in their learning and
prcduced higher qualiIy wcrk. Principals
and teachers reported “considerable an-
ecdotal evidence” that eLearning increased
sIudenI mcIivaIicn and class parIicipaIicn,
and imprcved behavicr. (Silvernail, USA)
ª ln a 1.1 eLearning prcgram aI 10 primary
and seccndary schccls in Nalaysia, B5
percenI c! Ieachers, many c! whcm were
iniIially skepIical, repcrIed IhaI Ihe prc-
gram helped them create an innovative
and collaborative eLearning environment
wiIhin Iheir classrccms. (Nalaysia NinisIry
c! EducaIicn and lnIel Nalaysia, Nalaysia)
ª AI a large rural high schccl, aIIendance
rose from 91 percent to 98 percent
a!Ier Ihe 1.1 eLearning prcgram began.
(NiIchell lnsIiIuIe, USA)
For a deeper look at key functional areas
to address when moving toward a one-
Ic·cne iniIiaIive, Ic include deIails cn Ihe
mcvemenI alcng Ihe adcpIicn curve, and
tips on progressing from one stage to the
nexI, please see
(Ncbilizing Iehmilenials).
Figure 2. 1.1 ccmpuIing is a paradigm shi!I !rcm an insIrucIcr·cenIric learning experience (lecIure·driven, kncwledge acquisiIicn) Ic cne which is sIudenI·
cenIric. ln an insIrucIcr·cenIric paradigm, Ihe sIudenI is dependenI cn Ihe insIrucIcr !cr in!crmaIicn, direcIicn, and guidance (sIudenI·direcIed, kncwledge
creaIicn). ln Ihe sIudenI·cenIric paradigm, sIudenIs increasingly beccme independenI, sel!·direcIed learners whc masIer higher·level criIical Ihinking,
prcblem·sclving, and ccllabcraIive skills. SIudenIs learn aI Iheir cwn pace, repeaIing maIerial Ic rein!crce learning, cr delving inIc addiIicnal maIerial Ic
enrich iI. lCT makes Ihis Iype c! learning pcssible.
0Iher key aIIribuIes c! 1.1 ccmpuIing can include Ihe !cllcwing. CcmpuIing is ubiquiIcus and mcbile-anyIime, anywhere, anyway learning as
cppcsed Ic sIaIicnary PC labs. CcmpuIing inIegraIed inIc Ihe curriculum-ccmpuIing is a Iccl !cr learning as cppcsed Ic a subjecI in iIsel!. Learning is ccllab-
craIive and ccnnecIed-sIudenIs mcre easily wcrk wiIh peers, Ieachers, and ccmmuniIy experIs, Ieachers mcre easily wcrk wiIh peers and parenIs.
CcmpuIing beccmes mcre perscnalized wiIh Ihe shi!I Ic cne·Ic·cne.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
!""A meIa·analysis c! 4Z peer·reviewed
papers published between 1996 and
Z003 !cund a pcsiIive signi!icanI ccrre-
laIicn c! .44B wiIh ccgniIive cuIccmes,
indicating that average students who
used technology would be at the 66th
percentile while average students without
Iechnclcgy wculd be aI Ihe 50Ih percen-
Iile. The auIhcrs cbserved IhaI ¨Ihe
overall effects of technology on student
outcomes may be greater than previously
IhcughI.¨ (waxman eI al, Clcbal)
ª ln ScuIh A!rica, a Ihree·year randcmized
controlled study of the large-scale
Khanya project showed math scores
were significantly higher for students
who participated in a technology pro-
gram. Khanya is an award·winning
project to provide a technology-rich envi-
ronment and professional development
activities to students and teachers
IhrcughcuI Ihe wesIern Cape regicn.
(wagner eI al, ScuIh A!rica)
ª Penuel eI al per!crmed a research syn-
Ihesis c! 19 prcgrams in Eurcpe, Ihe
Niddle EasI, A!rica, and Ihe US IhaI used
Iechnclcgy Ic link hcme and schccl. They
found that technology-supported pro-
grams produced positive effects on
reading achievemenI (+0.0B Ic + 0.10),
wriIing (+0.Z0 Ic +0.34), and maIh
achievemenI (+0.1B Ic +0.Z3), as mea-
sured by traditional methods and
sIandards. (Penuel eI al, Clcbal)
ª A meIa·analysis c! cver 500 sIudies
indicated that students receiving
computer-based instruction tend to
learn mcre in less Iime. (Chinien, Clcbal)
ª ln a 1.1 class in Puebla, Nexicc, Ieachers
observed an improvement in second to
fourth grade students’ skills at searching
information and ability to write—both
impcrIanI Z1sI cenIury skills. The eLearn-
ing environment gave students the
opportunity to conduct Internet research
and evaluate the quality of information
!cund. (Esccrza and Rcdriguez, Nexicc)
AlIhcugh numercus sIudies repcrI pcsiIive
cuIccmes, Ihere are alsc indicaIicns
that improper use can lead to negative
sIudenI behavicrs, !rcm playing games Ic
Iampering wiIh securiIy measures. (Keri
eI al, USA) Hcwever, scluIicns such as
classroom management software and
technology usage policies are well docu-
mented and effective at overcoming such
cbsIacles. The pcIenIial !cr negaIive
outcomes underscores the importance of
hclisIic planning, wiIh aIIenIicn Ic access,
pclicies, ccnnecIiviIy, prc!essicnal devel·
cpmenI, and curriculum, in crder Ic achieve
desired beneñIs.
Teaching and Administrative
Researchers have repcrIed IhaI issuing
lapIcps Ic Ieachers, cr helping Ihem
purchase lapIcps, can empcwer Ihem Ic
Ieach beIIer, increase lesscn planning and
preparaIicn prcducIiviIy, gain a mcre
pcsiIive aIIiIude abcuI Iheir wcrk, and
imprcve e!ñciency c! managemenI and
adminisIraIicn Iasks.
Student-Centered Teaching
and Preparation
!""Using Iechnclcgy, Ieachers can access
tools that enable them to deliver custom-
ized assessments and gain immediate
!eedback cn individual and class prcgress.
(Kerr eI al, USA)
The effects of 1:1 eLearning
appear to increase as technology
is more deeply integrated into
the educational experience and
students and teachers have
technology access throughout
the day.
ª Trucanc's review c! papers dealing
wiIh lCT's beneñI !cr educaIicn in
developing nations showed that
placing PCs in classrooms rather
than separate labs enables much
greater use of technology for
higher crder skills. (Trucanc, Clcbal)
ª ln wesI Virginia, cne c! Ihe
pccresI US sIaIes, sIudenIs whc
experienced classrccm eLearning
had higher gains in overall scores
and in math than those who had
technology access only in com-
puIer labs. The auIhcrs ccmpared
classroom eLearning against
other policy interventions of
similar cost (such as smaller class
size, addiIicnal insIrucIicnal Iime,
and cross-age tutoring) and found
that technology can be one of the
mcsI e!ñcienI ways Ic bccsI
cuIccmes. (Nann eI al, USA)
ª ln a sIudy ccmparing C0ws and
1:1 eLearning environments for
ñ!Ih, sixIh, and sevenIh graders
at a small-town school district in
Ihe American NidwesI, research-
ers found that students in the 1:1
envircnmenI gained signiñcanI
advantages on writing perfor-
mance, including ideas/ccnIenI,
crganizaIicn, sIyle, and ccnven-
Iicns. ln addiIicn, maIh, science,
and social studies achievement
scores were higher on average
for students in the 1:1 environ-
ment compared to those using
C0ws. (Rcss eI al, USA)
Average students who used
technology would be at the 66th
percentile while average students
without technology would be at
the 50th percentile.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
ª wiIh Ihis !eedback, Ieachers can prcvide
perscnalized learning cppcrIuniIies,
using remediation and enrichment to
deliver more differentiated instruction
IhaI beIIer meeIs each child's needs.
(warschauer eI al, USA)
ª ln Naine's sIaIe·wide eLearning deplcy-
menI, Ieachers wiIh perscnal PC access
said that technology helped them locate
and develop better instructional materials
and conduct research related to their
Ieaching assignmenIs. Teachers gained
access to better quality curricula and
learning maIerials, especially when
schools created eLearning portals where
teachers could share resources they
!cund cr develcped. (Silvernail, USA)
ª ln a Turkish sIudy c! primary schccl
Ieachers and sIudenIs, B7 percenI
of teachers surveyed said eLearning
improved their ability to conduct project-
based learning. They alsc sIaIed IhaI
eLearning supported the shift from
teacher-centered to student-centered
Ieaching, and enabled Ihem Ic acI as !acili-
IaIcrs mcre Ihan lecIurers. (Aydin, Turkey)
Attitudes and Productivity
!""Personal PC access has been shown
Ic increase Ieacher prcducIiviIy. UK
agency BecIa ciIes a Z005 sIudy by
PricewaterhouseCoopers indicating that
teachers creating a lesson plan from
scratch using digital resources saved
an average of 26 minutes compared to
Ihcse whc did ncI. (BecIa Z007, UK)
when 400 Ieachers were surveyed
on how they used time saved on lesson
planning and cIher Iasks, 31 percenI
said they performed additional prepara-
Iicn, planning and cIher ccre Iasks, while
47 percenI per!crmed new Iasks cr
per!crmed exisIing Iasks Ic a higher
sIandard. (PricewaIerhcuseCccpers, UK)
ª A review c! 17 recenI Eurcpean sIudies
reported that teachers’ roles can be
more rewarding in an effective eLearning
envircnmenI. Teachers whc perceive
a highly positive impact from ICT tend
Ic use Iechnclcgy in prcjecI·crienIed,
ccllabcraIive, and experimenIal ways.
Teachers !uncIicn as adviscrs, dialcgue
partners and facilitators for specific sub-
jecI dcmains. (BalanskaI eI al, Eurcpe)
In Maine’s state-wide eLearning
deployment, teachers with personal
PC access said that technology
helped them locate and develop
better instructional materials and
conduct research related to their
teaching assignments.
ª ln evaluaIing Ihe NcIebccks !cr Teachers
and Principals Program implemented by
Ihe VicIcria 0eparImenI c! EducaIicn
and Training, researchers !cund IhaI
teachers felt more valued as professionals
as a resulI c! having Iheir cwn lapIcps.
They also felt that parents viewed them
mcre respecI!ully, and IhaI Ihey were
recognized as important by the govern-
menI. Scme 70 percenI c! Ieachers
said the program had increased their
professional competence in areas such
as teaching practices and assessing and
repcrIing sIudenI learning. (Ccugh eI
al, AusIralia)
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Management and Administration
!""Students and teachers are not the only
pecple whc bene!iI !rcm eLearning.
when a rural Pennsylvania schccl disIricI
equipped all students in grades 3-12
wiIh a lapIcp and hcme lnIerneI access,
principals said they could provide more
effective instructional leadership because
they had better visibility into students’
prcgress and wcrk prcducIs. Principals
said the enhanced connectivity also
improved their capacity to communicate
wiIh parenIs, !aculIy, and disIricI lead-
ers, and enabled Ihem Ic per!crm Iheir
respcnsibiliIies mcre e!!icienIly. (Kerr
eI al, USA)
ª There is grcwing evidence IhaI eLearning
suppcrIs schccl imprcvemenI e!!crIs.
A recenI sIudy surveyed Ihe head Ieachers
of 181 British schools that had improved
enough to be removed from a “Special
Neasures and NcIice Ic lmprcve¨ lisI, and
found that 82 percent of head teachers
indicated technology had played a key role
in Iheir schccl's achievemenI. E!!ecIive
approaches ranged from adopting systems
for monitoring and analyzing student
prcgress, Ic using Iechnclcgy Ic engage
underachieving sIudenIs. (HcllingswcrIh,
ciIed in BecIa Z00B, UK)
A less pcsiIive aspecI c! eLearning envi-
rcnmenIs is IhaI Ihey can expand Ieacher
wcrklcads by increasing clerical expecIa-
tions or creating a need to adapt curriculum
maIerials. Tc a cerIain exIenI, Ihis can be
addressed wiIh prc!essicnal develcpmenI,
suppcrIive leadership, and imprcved pclicies.
Students and teachers are not the only people who benefit from eLearning.
When a rural Pennsylvania school district equipped all students in grades
3-12 with a laptop and home Internet access, principals said they could
provide more effective instructional leadership because they had better
visibility into students’ progress and work products.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Dual Investment Strategy
for Optimal eLearning
Research indicates that eLearning
is most effective in a 1:1 eLearning
environment where:
ª Technclcgy Iccls and ccnnecIiviIy are
deeply integrated into the classroom
and used acrcss Ihe curriculum.
ª Teachers are skilled and ccm!crIable
using digital resources to enhance
Ieaching and learning.
Tc achieve Ihis inIegraIicn and skill,
governments and educators must
invest in professional development
and curriculum resources as well as in
PCs and neIwcrks. These Iwc areas c!
investment reinforce each other and
increase the return on either type of
investment: professional development
and curriculum resources help teachers
actually use technology to transform
Ieaching and learning, and adequaIe
technology access enables teachers to
apply what they learn in professional
develcpmenI acIiviIies.
Research suppcrIs Ihese ccnclusicns.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation
and 0evelcpmenI (0EC0) sIaIes IhaI Ic reap
educaIicnal bene!iIs !rcm lCT, ccunIries and
educational systems must reach a threshold
of investments in ICT and in the skills and
educaIicnal crganizaIicn Ic use Ihem.
(0EC0, Clcbal)
Backing Ihis up, a survey c! 11 inIerna-
tional eLearning deployments found that
teachers are more likely to integrate tech-
nology into their pedagogy when they have
Iechnclcgy in Ihe classrccm. The average
implementation rate for teachers who had
lab access cnly was 71.7 percenI,
increasing Ic B7.Z percenI when
teachers had one PC in their class-
rccms and reaching 94.B percenI
when teachers had access to two
Ic six classrccm ccmpuIers.
(NarIin, eI al, Clcbal)
A seccnd glcbal survey highlighIs
the importance of effective teacher
prc!essicnal develcpmenI and suppcrI.
It found that teachers who are most
likely to use technology effectively to
improve education are those who have
completed professional development
prcgrams, wcrk in a schccl wiIh ample
suppcrI, and have Iechnclcgy in Ihe
classrccm raIher Ihan in a PC lab.
(LighI and NarIin, Clcbal)
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Family and Home Effects
Parental involvement and other home
e!!ecIs are c!Ien seccndary, i! ncI periph-
eral, Ic Ihe gcals c! eLearning deplcymenI.
NeverIheless, eLearning dces seem Ic
prcduce scme pcsiIive e!!ecIs in Ihe hcme.
ª Evidence suggesIs a relaIicnship be-
tween frequency of home PC use and
academic achievemenI. Reviewing daIa
!rcm Ihe 1996 NaIicnal AssessmenI
of Educational Progress in mathemat-
ics, cne sIudy repcrIed IhaI sIudenIs
using home computers more often had
higher levels of achievement in math-
emaIics. (wenglinsky, USA) This seems
Ic echc !indings !rcm previcus sIudies,
describing incremental impacts when
Iechnclcgy is mcre mcbile, perscnalized,
and integrated throughout the day and
acrcss Ihe curriculum.
ª AncIher impacI ncIed by researchers
is increased !amily inIeracIicn. Nany
school systems establish an eLearning
portal that parents can access to track
homework assignments and communi-
caIe wiIh Ieachers and sIa!!, prcviding
opportunities for increased awareness
and discussion of homework assign-
menIs, sIudenI prcgress, and sc !crIh.
ln addiIicn, when sIudenIs bring Iheir
lapIcps hcme, Ihey are !ree Ic sIudy in
the kitchen with family rather than in a
mcre isclaIed rccm. This gives parenIs
greater visibility of schoolwork and
cpens new avenues !cr discussicn.
(NiIchell lnsIiIuIe, USA)
ª ResulIs are mixed when iI ccmes Ic
eLearning’s impact on parental involve-
menI. ln Nichigan's sIaIewide Freedcm
Ic Learn lniIiaIive, 66 percenI c! Ieachers
said parents were more involved with
Iheir children's schccling. 0ver 90 percenI
c! parenIs are exciIed abcuI Ihe prcgram,
which prcvided cver Z0,000 lapIcps Ic
sIudenIs in 195 schccls, and B0 percenI
believe it will make their children better
sIudenIs. (LcwIher, USA) 0n Ihe cIher
hand, scme sIudies see a neuIral impacI
cn parenIal invclvemenI. (Penuel, USA)
Social and Community Effects
By issuing a lapIcp Ic each sIudenI, schccls
aim to meet the educational needs of
students who ordinarily could not afford
a PC and thereby improve the performance
c! all sIudenIs. Research shcws IhaI Ihis
sIraIegy is wcrking.
ª AI·risk and lcw·achieving sIudenIs, and
students whose parents do not have a
bachelcr's degree, experience greaIer
positive impact than other groups when
1.1 eLearning is deplcyed. Fcr example,
Ihe Texas Technclcgy lmmersicn PilcI
showed that economically disadvantaged
students reached proficiency levels
matching the skills of advantaged control
sIudenIs. (Texas CenIer !cr EducaIicnal
Research, USA)
ª A qualiIaIive sIudy !ccused cn Iwc US
schools with high percentages of immi-
granI and/cr impcverished sIudenIs.
It analyzed the use of 1:1 eLearning to help
English language learners develop aca-
demic liIeracy. AI an elemenIary schccl,
Latino fourth-grade students used laptops
!cr pre· and pcsI·reading. AI a middle
schccl, immigranI and re!ugee sIudenIs
used laptops in community projects
that required independent reading and
research. AI bcIh schccls, sIudenIs
achieved reading test scores that were
higher Ihan Iheir sIaIe averages, and
the middle school students’ writing
sccres were abcve average as well.
(warschauer, USA)
ª ln sIudies c! sIudenIs wiIh disabiliIies,
researchers have observed improved
sIudenI sel!·esIeem, increased mcIiva-
Iicn and abiliIy Ic wcrk independenIly,
and other academic achievements such
as improved quality and quantity of
sIudenI wriIing. (Harris, USA)
A number c! sIudies suggesI IhaI, !rcm
a lcng·Ierm perspecIive, a wide array c!
social and community benefits are associ-
aIed wiIh imprcved educaIicn. These
bene!iIs include reduced criminal acIiviIy,
reduced reliance on welfare and other
sccial prcgrams, increased chariIable giving
and volunteer activity—even attainment
of desired family size and improved health
!cr Ihe individual and his cr her !amily.
(Riddell, Clcbal) Kncwing Ihe many ways
in which eLearning can imprcve educaIicn,
it’s intriguing to consider that eLearning
may indirecIly enhance Ihese areas as well.
Economically disadvantaged
students reached proficiency levels
matching the skills of advantaged
control students.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Table 1. Economic Impact of Portugal’s Project Magellan

Jobs 350 1,120 1,470
Economic activity
(based on sales of five
millicn uniIs Ihrcugh Z010)
EUR 1 billion
(USD 1.386 billion)
EUR 1.26 billion
(USD 1.746 billion)
EUR 2.26 billion
(USD 3.131 billion)
+ Result of manufacturing expansion. Scurce. ViIal wave CcnsulIing.
The World Bank report also
references US research suggesting
that an increase of one standard
deviation in math performance
at the end of high school translates
to 12 percent higher annual earnings.
Economic Development
Sc !ar, we've discussed research shcwing
how eLearning improves educational
achievemenI. Ncw we Iurn Ic sIudies
IhaI examine hcw imprcved achievemenI
can a!!ecI a naIicn's eccncmic prcspecIs.
Fcr many ccunIries, eccncmic develcp·
ment is the driving reason behind
eLearning invesImenIs.
RecenI examples indicaIe IhaI eLearning
investments can improve economic dev-
elopment in two ways: by direct job
creation as governments procure the
PCs, neIwcrks, sc!Iware, and services
to support the eLearning deployment;
and indirecIly, by develcping a beIIer
educaIed wcrk!crce.
Direct Economic Impact: Portugal
ln íuly Z00B, PcrIuguese Prime NinisIer
ícse SccraIes anncunced PrcjecI Nagellan,
an invesImenI by Ihe CcvernmenI c!
Portugal to provide locally-built classmate
PCs Ic all PcrIuguese sIudenIs aged 6·10.
Classmate PCs would be supplied by local
Iechnclcgy ccmpany íP Sá CcuIc, Linux*
sc!Iware prcvider Caixa Nagica, and
cIher lccal lCT ccmpanies. íP Sá CcuIc
plans Ic manu!acIure and expcrI 4 millicn
classmaIe PCs in addiIicn Ic 500,000
uniIs inIended !cr use wiIhin PcrIugal.
wiIh PrcjecI Nagellan, Ihe CcvernmenI
is making a two-fold investment in the
nation’s knowledge economy: Portugal’s
children will be equipped with the skills to
ccmpeIe !cr high paying jcbs in Ihe !uIure,
and Portuguese workers will gain access
Ic high·qualiIy, high·value·added jcbs in
Ihe near Ierm. Acccrding Ic analysis by
ViIal wave CcnsulIing, PrcjecI Nagellan
will generaIe a IcIal c! 1,470 jcbs
and produce a total economic impact of
EUR Z.Z6 (US0 3.131) billicn (Table 1).
(Ccppcck, PcrIugal)
Indirect Impact: Economic Benefits
of a Better-Educated Workforce
AlIhcugh nc research clearly addresses
the indirect impact of eLearning on the
eccncmy, iI cerIainly seems reascnable
Ic Ihink IhaI, by increasing educaIicnal
achievemenI, eLearning may be able Ic
ulIimaIely enhance eccncmic aIIainmenI.
International comparisons show that
education plays a pivotal role in fostering
labcr prcducIiviIy and eccncmic grcwIh.
Fcr example, Harvard eccncmisI RcberI
Barro’s analysis of education and economic
growth concludes that an increase of one
standard deviation in test scores would
raise the growth rate of real per capita
C0P by 1 percenI per year. (Barrc, Clcbal)
A wcrld Bank sIudy !urIher undersccres
these findings: it reports that raising
IesI sccres cn Ihe 0EC0 Prcgram !cr
lnIernaIicnal SIudenI AssessmenI (PlSA)
IesI by 47 pcinIs (Ihe equivalenI c! cne
country-level standard deviation) will drive
apprcximaIely a 1 percenI increase in
grcss dcmesIic prcducI (C0P). The wcrld
Bank report also references US research
suggesting that an increase of one standard
deviation in math performance at the end
of high school translates to 12 percent
higher annual earnings. (Hanushek and
wcssmann, Clcbal)
The Positive Impact of eLearning
Looking Forward
Increasing educational quality is a critical challenge for government and education
leaders Ihe wcrld cver. while ccnclusive, randcmized, lcngiIudinal sIudies cn
eLearning's bene!iIs dc ncI yeI exisI, a criIical mass c! evidence indicaIes IhaI
invesImenIs in eLearning can deliver subsIanIial pcsiIive e!!ecIs.
CcnIacI ycur lnIel represenIaIive cr visiI us cn Ihe web aI
Teachers who are most likely to
use technology effectively to
improve education are those
who have completed professional
development programs, work in
a school with ample support, and
have technology in the classroom
rather than a PC lab.
The Positive Impact of eLearning
PricewaIerhcuseCccpers. Using ICT in Schools:
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The Positive Impact of eLearning

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