The latest annual edition of the “Economic Report of the President” (March 2023) cites the 2016 randomized control trial of online learning outcomes co-authored by Professors Oskar Harmon, Ken Couch, and William Alpert.
Their research is discussed in the context of the feasibility of scaling remote learning. In Chapter 5: Building Stronger Postsecondary Institutions (p179), the report notes:
“Online programs. Some have suggested expanding online options to reduce geographic barriers to access, but research findings suggest caution about this approach. In some settings, such as four-year colleges, there are examples of students doing equally well across both online and in-person formats (Figlio, Rush, and Yin 2013; Bowen et al. 2014), as well as in blended learning approaches combining online and in-person components (Bowen et al. 2014; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016). Other research finds, however, that courses taught through online formats often lead to worse learning outcomes than their in-person counterparts (Joyce et al. 2015; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016; Krieg and Henson 2016).”
The citation for the study is:
Alpert, W., K. Couch, and O. Harmon. 2016. “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning.” American Economic Review 106: 378–82. https://doi.org/10.1257/ aer.p20161057.