Research study: What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning: A Second-Order Meta-Analysis and Validation Study
The real question for technology advocates: does technology really make a difference to academic achievement? Don’t YOU want to know!
To study this question the researchers conducted a second order meta-analysis. This second order meta-analysis selected 13 meta-analyses that addressed a total of 1055 primary studies, 574 effect sizes and 60,854 participants.
For those interested in technology integration, this study is vital to your understanding and advocating technology integration. WHY you ask?
First, you need to understand the value of a meta-analysis, and second, the value of the second order meta-analysis.
What’s a meta-analysis?
A meta-analysis combines the results from many other studies that have a similar research hypothesis. This is incredibly important because most research studies are so small that they make generalizations impractical, and even if the study can be replicated, the context is so controlled that it becomes difficult to generalize into anything meaningful. A meta-analysis does not just look at one study, but many. The results are usually meaningful.
The second order meta-analyses evaluated other meta-analysis. That is like a double-stuff Oreo – packet with good stuff! The results should be taken seriously! This second order meta-analysis included elementary, secondary, post secondary, computer-assisted instruction, computer-based instruction, and information and commuter communication technology. The study did not look at distance education.
Results: Technology made the difference in modest academic achievement! Note: There was a higher effect for technologies used for support rather than for direct instruction.
So what does this mean for teachers? And means that PowerPoint alone will not increase achievement much at all. But, integrated technology with supportive systems has a larger effect on achievement. This coincides with other studies and importantly with the meta-analysis that supports the learner centered classroom which as has a positive impact on student achievement (Cornelius-White, 2007)
Big Question:HOW should technology be included in student learning?
Answer: More student centered learning goals should align with technology to help students complete a task, not merely PowerPoints.
Type of Reading: Academic Research
Why: Vital for technology integration, but challenging to read.
Tamim, R. M., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Abrami, P. C., & Schmid, R. F. (2011). What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning: A Second-Order Meta-Analysis and Validation Study. Review of Educational Research, 81(1), 4-28. doi:10.3102/0034654310393361