The following are the highlights of the study, "Linking online course design and implementation to learning outcomes: A design experiment." For the full study, see link below

For incremental improvement of online courses: begin with a QM (Quality Matters is a faculty-oriented, peer review process designed to assure quality in online and blended courses) review and revision and then uses scores on the CoI survey (The Community of Inquiry addresses the learning process. It addresses them, moreover, from a collaborative constructivist point of view) to incrementally “tweak” of course design and implementation.