Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Program basics

  • Combines an online learning platform and support environment with in-person classes
  • The goal is to provide comparable or better instruction while reducing costs and time spent
  • Provides full courses and learning materials to both learners and instructors at low or no cost while providing the instructor with a platform to track student achievement and progress

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse

Target population

Students enrolled in post-secondary education

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • Increased academic achievement
  • Increased credit accumulation and persistence

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Partnerships between educational institutions and internet service providers can ensure that greater numbers of students have internet access and are thus able to take part in open learning curricula.
  • Technological specialists can help instructors transition material to online platforms, improving the learning experience for students.
  • Creating easy-to-use feedback systems enables instructors to adapt course materials to student preferences.
  • Investments in digital infrastructure improvements are often necessary in ensuring that open learning initiatives perform adequately.

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