Lapsley, Kulik, Moody & Arbaugh

Is Identical Really Identical? An Investigation of Equivalency Theory and Online Learning

Ruth Lapsley, Lewis-Clark State College
Brian Kulik, Central Washington University
Rex Moody, University of Colorado—Boulder
J. B. (Ben) Arbaugh, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


This study investigates the validity of equivalency theory among 63 students by comparing two introductory upper-division human resource management courses: one taught online, the other in a traditional classroom. Commonalities included same term, same professor, and identical assignments/tests in the same order, thus allowing a direct comparison of course outcomes. MANCOVA results supported equivalency theory, and further suggest that the online learning pedagogy may be superior in its overall effect on student performance.

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