- The Online Learning Consortium says 5.8 million students are enrolled in online higher education courses, and 90% of these students say their academic experience is as good, or better than an in-person class.
- According to the data, students report greater levels of engagement with coursework, faculty and classmates with learning technology and support the use of adaptive analytics in helping to customize student learning experiences.
- Despite eight in 10 faculty members having little experience with online learning tools, data suggests 48% of learning materials will soon be digital.
The data from the Online Learning Consortium is a stark contrast to data presented recently by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which suggests that with the exception of some outliers like student housing and employment, most students are largely on-campus and learning in classrooms.
But the larger point, if the data is close to accurate, is that online learning is certain to grow in the higher ed space. Meeting the needs of this growing demand will require early attention and investment from college executives to study what kind of technology bests meets their academic mission, best supports student success and meets the financial bottom line in service delivery.
There could be negative outcomes for faculty in the long-term vision of online education, but for now, it will require substantive planning for the year 2020.