The Action Lab seeks actionable outcomes for ROI of online programs

Are online education programs scalable? EdPlus at ASU has one proven answer to this question: yes.

Growing online education has been a challenge for most universities. A lot have failed, and only few have prevailed. Behind the success of ASU Online is EdPlus, a cohort of individuals focused on innovation and scale. And even more significant to that success, is the Action Lab.

The Action Lab differentiates themselves by making sure they are getting to actionable outcomes that can be executed and implemented.

“What I found is that most of the research out there - no matter what - is not really actionable. There wasn’t a takeaway from much of the research. That’s why I changed the dimension of the Action Lab to make it useful and implementable” explained Pugliese.

Earlier this year, the Action Lab set out to answer some difficult questions about online education programs and their return on investment (ROI).

Lou Pugliese, Action Lab Managing Director and Senior Innovation Fellow, led a panel on the topic of ROI Analysis in Digital Teaching and Learning at the ASU+GSV summit. There, he shared some of the findings of the Action Lab from their research with the Boston Consulting Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The main hypothesis was that most institutions haven’t grown their online presence enough to allow them to benefit economically and academically. The Action Lab looked at characteristics surrounding many diverse types of institutions, so the findings were easy to follow for anyone who wanted to immerse themselves in the research.

“It’s more than a best practices report,” Pugliese said. He also noted that “if you can’t replicate the practice, then there’s not going to be cost savings, even at scale.”

Currently, the Action Lab is focused on researching digital learning efficacy, alternative design and delivery modalities and adaptive learning.
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