Students want outside-classroom learning, marketable and flexible workforce skills, survey shows
- Results from a recent Codeacademy participant survey sent to a subset of the company's 45 million learners showed 55% of respondents had a university degree when they started the school's coding courses. 40% said they wanted a software development job, and 30% said they were taking coding course for a potentially higher salary. Meanwhile, 25% said they started coding because they want to work remotely and desired workplace flexibility.
- Of respondents who had taken a college-level coding course, 25% said they preferred learning online than in a traditional classroom setting. 10% said online learning made them feel happier, and 5%, particularly women, said learning outside a traditional classroom made them feel less anxious — results reflecting the growing popularity of alternative, flexible online credentialing options especially for nontraditional, adult learners.
- Results reflecting student desire to learn in hybrid settings comes at the same time the Higher Education Act is back on the table — which although far from final puts the onus of responsibility on institutional leaders to offer clear evidence of student ROI — and shows how partnerships between nontraditional instructional groups and universities may yield benefits for both students and the institutions.
Industry leaders are all too aware of growing skepticism over higher education's value — with the proposed House and Senate tax bills de-incentivizing charitable giving for endowments; the Higher Education Act's potential reauthorization that would likely require institutions to dip into their endowments; and reduced funding for public institutions since 2008. Given these issues, leaders will have to defend the necessity of their institutions and demonstrate even more publicly, especially in conversations with national and local policymakers, how they provide student ROI and contribute to workforce needs, rather than generating "elitist" and "politically correct" graduates as many in Congress currently believe.
Leaders can take a cue from Codeacademy's survey of users demonstrating how students value hybrid learning options — a mixture of online and traditional classroom setting options — as well as workforce development that could help them appear more valuable to employers long-term. Given financial constrains, partnering with nontraditional schools that have models like that of Codeacademy can help institutions glean all the benefits of online learning options, without necessarily having to implement the infrastructure or costs of creating the program from scratch.
Former Indiana Governor and Purdue President Mitch Daniels told Education Dive Purdue's partnership with online for-profit Kaplan not only helped the school leverage more flexible options for its various students, but also test out online courses with a proven model with preexisting infrastructure. Partnerships like this have been growing throughout the industry, with the most notable being this deal — also Education Dive's 2017 Innovation of the Year — which brought Kaplan’s 32,000 students and 2,500 instructors under Purdue's umbrella for $1 and could help it become a leader in online education. Daniels says deals like this offer benefits across the board and was necessary as the institution wanted to try out online education:
“None of us know how fast or in what direction online higher education will evolve, but we know its role will grow,” he told the education writers at a conference earlier this year. “Could we do it ourselves? We considered whether we could catch up with the people who were at the front end of online education. And the honest answer was no.”
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