Yet another study comparing face-to-face and online learning has concluded that online classes yield superior results to F2F instruction. This one was conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, and it is available for download in PDF format at the DoE website.
I haven't seen any studies on teachers learning online, but I was thinking about that angle yesterday when I was digging through the offerings from Annenberg Media. They have a lot of material for professional development. Some of their instructional videos can also be used as distance learning courses. (Colleges have a licenses fee for the use of Annenberg Media video courses for distance learning.)
Their teacher professional development workshops and courses are at their learner.org site. The workshops and courses provide content and pedagogical learning and are appropriate for preservice and inservice teachers. They cover curricular areas and grade levels from K-12 and into college level.
Workshop and course resources consist of video, print, and Web components that can be used in three ways: 1. In a study group with a facilitator. 2. As an individual for self-study. (but you can sign up for the teacher talk discussion lists on the site) 3. For graduate credit.
For credit, teachers can do the work individually or with a group. There is a per-credit fee from the institution granting credit.
The video programs are available as streaming Video on Demand (VoD). The print guides are downloadable in PDF format. Videocassettes, DVDs, and print guides are also available for purchase from their catalog.
The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science was designed for teachers, educators, and adult learners with a science background who want to learn more about current issues in environmental science. College or graduate students, advanced high school students, or even professional scientists may also find this course useful. The materials are designed for various uses. While this is not a curriculum for use in a high school classroom, some materials may be used to supplement existing curriculum.
A new title this fall is "Art Through Time: A Global View" which is a 13-part series that includes a free online text, guide, and coordinated website.
Their Video on Demand service no longer requires you to enter a user name and password to view video on learner.org, so you can check out their online offerings. (They are moving to Flash video.)