Skip Navigation
Stay Up-to-Date:
October 2017

Ask A REL Question:

What other vocational high schools use blended learning in career and technical education (CTE) areas and how successful have they been with raising achievement?


Thank you for the question you submitted to our REL Reference Desk regarding the effectiveness of blended learning in schools. We have prepared the following memo with research references to help answer your question. For each reference, we provide an abstract, excerpt, or summary written by the study’s author or publisher. The references are selected from the most commonly used research resources and may not be comprehensive. Other relevant studies may exist. We have not evaluated the quality of these references, but provide them for your information only.

We found limited peer-reviewed articles about blended learning effects on student achievement in vocational high schools, particularly in the United States, thus we have also included resources addressing blended learning student achievement in non-vocational high schools, in vocational colleges, and in international settings. We have also included additional non-research resources from school districts to provide examples of schools that are using blended learning in CTE.

Research References

  1. Brodersen, R.M. & Melluzzo, D. (2017). Summary of research on online and blended learning programs that offer differentiated learning options. (Washington, D.C.: Regional Educational Laboratory Central, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
    From the abstract: “This report summarizes the methodology, measures, and findings of research on the influence on student achievement outcomes of K–12 online and blended face-to-face and online learning programs that offer differentiated learning options. The report also describes the characteristics of the learning programs. Most of the examined programs used blended learning strategies, and all the examined programs offered some means to differentiate their content, difficulty level, or pacing. Some 45 percent of the blended learning programs studied (5 of 11) offered differentiation in the face-to-face component of instruction. In some of the most rigorous studies, statistically significant positive effects were found for four blended learning programs: Cognitive Tutor Algebra I, LeapTrack, READ 180, and Time To Know.”
  2. Chang, C., Shu, K., Liang, C., Tseng, J., & Hsu, Y. (2014). Is blended e-learning as measured by an achievement test and self-assessment better than traditional classroom learning for vocational high school students? International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(2), 213-231
    From the abstract: “The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of blended e-learning on electrical machinery performance (achievement test and self-assessment). Participants were two classes of 11th graders majoring in electrical engineering and taking the electrical machinery class at a vocational high school in Taiwan. The participants were randomly selected and assigned to either the experimental group (n = 33) which studied through blended e-learning or the control group (n = 32) which studied through traditional classroom learning. The experiment lasted for five weeks. The results showed that (a) there were no significant differences in achievement test scores between blended e-learning and traditional learning; (b) students in the experimental group obtained significantly higher scores on self-assessment than students in the control group; (c) students' scores on self-assessment were significantly higher after studying through blended e-learning than before. Overall, blended e-learning did not significantly affect students' achievement test scores, but significantly affected their self-assessment scores.”
  3. Eryilmaz, M. (2015). The effectiveness of blended learning environments. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 8(4), 251-256.
    From the abstract: “The object of this experimental study is to measure the effectiveness of a blended learning environment which is laid out on the basis of features for face to face and online environments. The study was applied to 110 students who attend to Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey and take Introduction to Computers Course. During the application, students took the lesson face to face, online and blended. Blended learning environment has been designed in the form of online material sharing, forum, exam, text, picture and lesson summaries supported by videos. Following the training, a scale had been applied to the students on the effectiveness of blended learning environment. According to the results of the analysis, a significant difference was found between students' view in relation with blended learning environment as well as online and face to face learning environments. In their answers, students have expressed that they learn more effectively in a blended learning environment.”
  4. Gambari, A.I., Shittu, A.T., Ogunlade, O.O., & Osunlade, O.R. (2017). Effectiveness of blended learning and elearning modes of instruction on the performance of undergraduates in Kwara State, Nigeria. Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 5(1), 25-36.
    From the abstract: “This study investigated the effectiveness of blended learning and E-learning modes of instruction on the performance of undergraduates in Kwara State, Nigeria. It also determined if the student performance would vary with gender. Quasi experimental that employs pretest, posttest, control group design was adopted for this study. This involves three groups, two experimental (blended learning, and E-learning) and a control group (traditional teaching method). Educational Materials and Methods Performance Test (EMPT) was used for data collection from 30 students that formed the sample for the study. The reliability coefficient of 0.71 was obtained from Kuder-Richardson (KR-20) formula. The Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) and Scheffe post hoc test were used to test the hypotheses. Findings of this study showed that: (i) there was significant difference in the performance of the three groups in favour of Experimental group 1 (Blended learning), (ii) there was no significant difference in the performance of male and female undergraduates taught with blended learning, (iii) similarly, no significant difference was found in the performance of male and female undergraduates exposed to e-learning mode of instruction. This implies that performance of undergraduates was enhanced when they are exposed to blended learning mode of instruction. Based on the findings, it was recommended that university lecturers should be encouraged to adopt blended learning for teach their students. Also, government and appropriate university authorities should support and encourage the usage of blended learning in Nigerian universities.”
  5. Irawan, V.T., Sutadji, E., & Widiyanti. (2017). Blended learning based on schoology: Effort of improvement learning outcome and practicum chance in vocational high school. Cogent Education, 4(1), 1-10.
    From the abstract: “The aims of this study were to determine: (1) the differences in learning outcome between Blended Learning based on Schoology and Problem-Based Learning, (2) the differences in learning outcome between students with prior knowledge of high, medium, and low, and (3) the interaction between Blended Learning based on Schoology and prior knowledge to the learning outcome. This type research was quasi-experimental with research subjects as many as 64 students were determined by random sampling assignment. The data collection technique used multiple-choice tests. The obtained data were analyzed by two-way ANOVA. The results of this study revealed that: (1) there was significant differences in learning outcome between Blended Learning based on Schoology and Problem-Based Learning (sig p = 0.000 < α = 0.05), (2) there were significant differences in learning outcome between students with high, medium, and low prior knowledge (sig p = 0.000 < α = 0.05), and (3) there was no interaction between Blended Learning based on Schoology and prior knowledge to the learning outcome (sig p = 0.196 > α = 0.05).”
  6. Kazu, I.Y., & Demirkol, M. (2014). Effect of blended learning environment model on high school students’ academic achievement. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(1), 78-87.
    From the abstract: “This study analyzes the students' academic performance by comparing the blended learning environment and traditional learning environment. It has been observed whether there is a significant difference between the academic achievement grade dispersions and the male-female students' grades. The study has been carried out in Diyarbakir Anatolian High School in 2010-2011 academic year first semester biology courses. For the study, two quantitative courses sections have been selected among the classes formed by secondary school senior students. Cluster analysis has been conducted to provide the objectivity when forming the experiment and control groups. The study has been conducted with 54 participants, 19 males and 8 females for the experiment group and 18 males and 9 females for the control group. The experiment group continued its education in blended learning environment and the control group continued its education in traditional learning environment. The created learning environments have focused the genetics topic of the biology course and lasted for 6 weeks. During the study, pre-test and final-test have been used for the academic achievement analysis. According to the results acquired at the end of the study, a significant difference hasn't been found between the two groups at the end of the pre-test applied to experiment and control groups. Besides, in accordance with the averages of the final test grades, the experiment group has been found more successful than the control group. In both of the learning environments, female students have turned out to be more successful than the male students.”
  7. Lin, Y., Tseng, C., Chiang, P. (2017). The effect of blended learning in mathematics course. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education, 13(3), 741-770.
    From the abstract: “With the advent of the digital age, traditional didactic teaching and online learning have been modified and gradually replaced by "Blended Learning." The purpose of this study was to explore the influences of blended learning pedagogy on junior high school student learning achievement and the students' attitudes toward mathematics. To investigate the outcomes of the combination of Moodle online teaching platform and traditional instruction, a quasi-experiment was conducted using a pre-test-post-test control group design. ANCOVA and MANCOVA analyses showed that the blended learning experience benefitted students in the experimental group by having a positive effect not only on the learning outcomes, but also on their attitudes toward studying mathematics in a blended environment. Preliminary results indicated that male students and high-ability students were more motivated in the blended learning environment. Students gave positive feedback on the use of the Moodle learning platform for mathematics after experiencing blended learning.”
  8. Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Baki, M. (2013). The effectiveness of online and blended learning: A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Teacher’s College Record, 115(3), 1-47.
    From the abstract: “Earlier research on various forms of distance learning concluded that these technologies do not differ significantly from regular classroom instruction in terms of learning outcomes. Now that web-based learning has emerged as a major trend in both K–12 and higher education, the relative efficacy of online and face-to-face instruction needs to be revisited. The increased capabilities of web-based applications and collaboration technologies and the rise of blended learning models combining web-based and face-to-face classroom instruction have raised expectations for the effectiveness of online learning. This meta-analysis was designed to produce a statistical synthesis of studies contrasting learning outcomes for either fully online or blended learning conditions with those of face-to-face classroom instruction.”

Additional Organizations to Consult

  • Advance CTE:
    From the website: “Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Advance CTE was formerly known as the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). Advance CTE's vision is to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers and poises the United States to flourish in a global, dynamic economy through leadership, advocacy and partnerships. Our mission is to support visionary state leadership, cultivate best practices and speak with a collective voice on national policy to promote academic and technical excellence that ensures a career-ready workforce.”
  • Association for Career & Technical Education:
    From the website: “The Association for Career and Technical Education® is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers. It's our mission to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce.”
  • International Association for K-12 Online Learning:
    From the website: “The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning.”

Additional Examples of Blended Learning

  • Baltimore County Public Schools: A Guide to Educational Options:
    From the document: “Baltimore County Public Schools’ (BCPS) Office of Educational Options supports schools by providing options for students. High school students may choose to access ubiquitous learning using cutting edge digital learning strategies and resources such as blended learning, online courses, purchased digital content, BCPS created and curated digital learning objects accessed through BCPS One, virtual instruction delivered through Webinars, and real-time student performance data that allows our students and teachers to engage in responsive teaching and learning anchored in performance and mastery.”
  • Chicago Public Schools High School Guide 2017-2018:
    From the document: “The High School Guide is designed to provide you with details on how to apply to the various schools and programs available, as well as offer specifics on each school. All district and charter schools are included in the guide; listed in alphabetical order, each school offers a profile that contains the school’s location, eligibility requirements (if any), selection procedures, school performance, academic programs, sports and extracurricular activities, and other school-related characteristics. In addition to the profiles, the guide contains details regarding application, selection, and notification procedures that will help you to understand the entire process, from start to finish.”
  • Philadelphia Public School Notebook Fall Guide 2017 Spotlight on Career & Technical Education:
    From the document: “The mission of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook is to provide reporting and analysis about Philadelphia’s public schools, to create forums for dialogue and education, and to empower parents, educators, students, and residents to improve conditions and build strong learning communities for all in the city’s public schools. The Notebook, which is printed six times per year, has published a newspaper since 1994 and is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Notebook is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Sustainable Business Network.”
  • The 2017 New York City High School Directory:
    From the document: “New York City residents have more high school options than students living in any other city in the country. There are over 700 programs at over 400 high schools from which to choose— deciding which ones meet your needs and interests is an exciting step toward your future. Use this High School Directory to learn how High School Admissions works, what programs and schools interest you, and how to submit your application. Use the Action Steps Checklist on the left to plan out your eighth-grade year—remember to check the exact deadlines with your guidance counselor.”


Search Strings: Blended learning career technical education OR blended learning vocational high school OR blended learning student achievement

Searched Databases and Resources.

  • ERIC
  • Academic Databases (e.g., EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, ProQuest, Google Scholar)

Reference Search and Selection Criteria. The following factors are considered when selecting references:

  • Date of Publication: Priority is given to references published in the past 10 years.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: ERIC, other academic databases, Institute of Education Sciences Resources, and other resources including general internet searches
  • Methodology: Priority is given to the most rigorous study types, such as randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs, as well as to surveys, descriptive analyses, and literature reviews. Other considerations include the target population and sample, including their relevance to the question, generalizability, and general quality.

REL Mid-Atlantic serves the education needs of Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

This Ask A REL was prepared under Contract ED-IES-17-C-0006 by Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic administered by Mathematica Policy Research. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.