- There are now 5.8 million students enrolled in online courses, and fully 90% of students say such courses provide the same or better experience compared to traditional, face-to-face instruction.
- In the 2016 Higher Education Online Learning Landscape, the Online Learning Consortium highlights the nontraditional nature of the vast majority of today’s learners and the affordability benefits of online learning.
- When it comes to ed tech, 77% of students report tech increases engagement with course materials and 64% say it does so with their professors, while 87% say they perform better with access to personalized data from adaptive analytics and 68% say continual feedback drives improvement.
Online learning has become a key strategy to expanding access to higher education to nontraditional learners who need more flexible learning environments. Many colleges and universities have also used the online space to grow their footprint, reaching more students than would ever fit on their physical campuses. In a competitive enrollment environment, more than three-quarters of institutions that offer online programs say these are a vital component to their long-term strategy.
But demand for online programs is growing relatively slowly or not growing at all, meaning institutions may have trouble meeting ambitious targets for enrollment and expansion. Key will be differentiating programs and finding niches in which individual institutions can thrive.