Khan Academy as Supplemental Instruction: A Controlled Study of a Computer-Based Mathematics Intervention

Daniel P. Kelly, Teomara Rutherford, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), Jun 17, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This post was published in a special issue of IRRODL on empirical studies of implementations of OER. The authors looks at the use of Khan Academy to supplement traditional mathematics instruction and found " unremarkable differences in mean post-assessment scores between the combined math and ELA supplement control and treatment groups." The authors agree that the study is limited and that the Khan Academy might have other benefits. Having said that, we need to ask about whether the analogy with medical intervention that defines this paper is appropriate. Should we consider students as equivalent to a "treatment group"? Would we evaluate culture this way ("the treatment group experienced greater self-motivation after being prescribed Led Zepplin")? I recognize researchers want education to be more like a science, but which science

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