Than answer is that we do not know and the scattered small scale research is inconclusive. Since a Department of Education meta-analysis last summer concluded that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” many advocates now consider the matter closed. Not so fast, say researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Education Department’s study was deeply flawed and its implications have been overblown, say the authors of a working paper released this month by the bureau. There are many methodolgical disputes, and no clear consensus yet. Also we need more studies of the cost savings from on line education, before any conclusions are warranted..