Online education platforms scale college STEM instruction with equivalent learning outcomes at lower cost
Meeting global demand for growing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce requires solutions for the shortage of qualified instructors. We propose and evaluate a model for scaling up affordable access to effective STEM education through national online education platforms. These platforms allow resource-constrained higher education institutions to adopt online courses produced by the country’s top universities and departments. A multisite randomized controlled trial tested this model with fully online and blended instruction modalities in Russia’s online education platform. We find that online and blended instruction produce similar student learning outcomes as traditional in-person instruction at substantially lower costs. Adopting this model at scale reduces faculty compensation costs that can fund increases in STEM enrollment.