Meta-Analysis Review How Many (New) Normals
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The implementation of educational technologies in education has become a “New Normal.” It’s inevitable for me to think about the statistical perspective of “Normal,” which makes an implication on the way things are distributed, in nature, society, classrooms and well, us.

If a phenomena is normal —that is, normally distributed— it means occurrences of its quantifiable expression (one of them anyway) hover around a “mean.” Occurrences can be higher or lower than that mean, but with lesser frequency. But before you start thinking who of your students are more normal than others, keep in mind that there can be several different ways to measure phenomena. There can be several simultaneous normalities —that is, a multivariate distribution—. We and our learners are inside and outside measures of normalcy at the same time.

The meta-analysis reviews this month aim to expand our ideas of the normalities, and the many different “New Normalities” we’re experiencing, or will be about to. They do this by sorting across experiments and samples, to put results from single pieces of research into a broader context.

Do you need access to the original research? Contact us or reach out to the researchers directly.

The effects of online education on academic success: A meta-analysis study

Hakan Ulum. (2021) Springer Link. Open Access

27 international studies published between 2010 and 2019 included, sample size of 1,772 students.

This meta-analysis focuses on the overall impact that online education has had on academic achievements. Has online education increased or decreased student achievement? If the question is about a tit-for-tat translation of the classroom experience into digital environments, the answer is most likely a resounding no. The research digs deep into those examples where achievement through online means was possible, to find that new, experimental methodologies, a focus on interactivity, and student-centered approaches are promising paths to success in fully online and hybrid learning.

The Take: Student achievement in online education is at an average level. The implementation of interactive, eye-catching strategies that engage the student to be attentive to the class can increase outcomes.


Effectiveness of Problem-Based Learning versus Traditional Teaching Methods in Improving Acquisition of Radiographic Interpretation Skills among Dental Students—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Alexander Maniangat Luke and others (2021) Hindawi. Open Access

13 international studies, 835 samples.

Can problem-solving activities increase student receptiveness during class? The operating principle is that topics and situations that relate directly with students experiences, actual or potential, they get to put theory into practice and be aware of its shortcomings. With a specific sample of dental students, this meta-analysis shows that there is a difference between problem-based learning and traditional teaching. General problem-solving skills are deemed a valuable addition to the professional skills that students acquire during their degree.

The Take: Encourage your students to be autonomous enough to feel motivated to look beyond what they learn in the classroom. Create professional situations in which they may be confronted in the future.


Meta-Analysis of Factors Influencing Student Acceptance of Massive Open Online Courses for Open Distance Learning

Cecilia Temilola Olugbara and others. (2021) The African Journal of Information Systems Volume 13, No. 3, Article 5.

36 studies were considered for the development of this meta-analysis.

You’ve probably heard of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and how beneficial and useful they can be for people who want an open and distance education. Something that has been a challenge for years for online education, however, is what some argue to be structural issues associated with massive or impersonal teaching. How have digital educators overcome these notions and challenges? They have turned to the application of VR, AR, AI, learning analytics, OER and and other motivators for mass open learning. 

The Take: Implement “classroom-impossible” methodologies at your MOOC or digital learning experience, coupled with data gathering tools and modern pedagogy.


Effectiveness of Virtual Laboratories in Science Education: A Meta-Analysis

Marc Lancer Santos and Maricar Prudente. (2021) International Journal of Information and Educational Technology. Open Access

15 studies were considered for the development of this meta-analysis.

The cost and maintenance of a laboratory can be prohibitive in most educational settings. Can Virtual Labs prove to be a viable alternative in developing countries? This meta-analysis establishes the effect of the use of virtual labs compared to a traditional lab and how it influences the academic performance of students.

The Take: Take your students to a lab without leaving home or the classroom! Implement activities that involve the use of these virtual labs through practical tasks that allow them to make use of the lab.

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