2017 Online Education Trends Report

2017 Online Education Trends ReportOnline education continues to see a steady increase in student enrollment (Babson, 2015); however, as students are presented with more program choices and formats from a wider variety of institutions, the competition for those students is also increasing.

This second annual Online Education Trends report from BestColleges.com seeks to distill existing research about online learners’ characteristics, goals, and preferences, as well as information related to innovation in the design of online programs. More than 300 school administrators and 1,500 students responded to the survey, providing detailed information about their current experiences in on-line education. This new report is designed to help you make the best decisions possible about the online programs you are managing, as well as those you may be planning for the future. Key issues are identified in three categories:

The State of Online Learning

  • Students care about careers: 72% of online students report job and employment goals as a reason for enrolling, including transitioning to a new career field (36%) and earning academic credentials in a current field of work (32%).
  • Cost is the most prominent concern: Students report their biggest challenges in making decisions about online education related to cost estimates, finding funding sources, and navigating the financial aid process.

Developing and Managing Online Programs

  • Online program demand is on the rise: 98% of administrators find that demand for online education has increased or stayed the same over the past few years. However, 60% do not plan to change their budgets for online program development in the next year.
  • Local options matter: 65% of administrators consider “needs of local employers” and/or “general employment/job market trends or forecasts” when designing a new online program.
  • Recruitment is still an obstacle, even with increased demand: Marketing new online programs to prospective students and meeting recruitment goals is seen as the biggest challenge to offering an online program.

Meeting Online Student Needs and Expectations

  • Students want more outcomes data: 77% of schools report that students are asking for “placement/employment” rates in addition to other outcome data, such as completion rates (58%) and post-graduation salaries (48%).

Takeaways

The following insights are offered in conclusion for reaching prospective students and providing them with ongoing support that leads to retention and graduation after enrollment.

Program Marketing

  • Include more career outcome information in your recruiting and marketing materials, such as how often alumni are changing jobs or seeking continuing education.
  • Share details about how your online programs and support services are designed to meet the needs of specific student groups (e.g., military, disabled, transfer students)
  • Connect with relevant professional associations and employment websites to increase visibility of and familiarity with your program curriculum.
  • Make it easy for prospective students to find the information they are most interested in – financial aid and funding options, transfer credit process.
  • Share details about the variety of learning environments you offer, such as blended courses or programs, synchronous requirements, and online or on campus access to services.

Program Development

  • Consider multiple options to online program development, which may include initial work on individual courses or a certificate program as a pilot for full degree offerings.
  • Take a collaborative approach to working with all online program stakeholders to not only increase buy-in, but also encourage insight into enhancing the student experience.
  • Explore the reasons students are choosing your online programs, beyond “anytime, anyplace” access, as a way to differentiate your offerings.

Student-Centered Resources and Activities

  • Provide new ways for prospective students to connect with current students and alumni, through student profiles and live interactions.
  • Provide connections to career-related support activities for your students, whether they are planning to enter their first career field or are working professionals making a transition.
  • Maintain student support after recruitment in the areas they most need, including financial assistance (i.e., tuition and fees, hardware and software, Internet service)

The full report is available for download here.

Keys Issues in Teaching and Learning for 2016

2016 Key Issues in Teaching and Learning Infographic

With a broad membership of over 350 institutions spanning a variety of Carnegie classifications, states, and several countries, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is well aware that there’s significant power in community. This is why, for the past six years, ELI has surveyed its higher education community to determine key issues & opportunities in post-secondary teaching & learning.

ELI surveys every year the wildly complex landscape of teaching and learning. This year, over 900 of community members selected the most pressing issues to form a final list of 15. These key issues will serve as the framework, or focal points, for all of ELI’s discussions and programming throughout 2016. Here’s a listing of the Key Issues in Teaching & Learning for 2016 Infographic.

  1. Academic Transformation
  2. Faculty Development
  3. Assessment of Learning
  4. Online and Blended Learning
  5. Learning Analytics
  6. Learning Space Design
  7. Accessibility & Universal Design for Learning
  8. Open Educational Resources & Content
  9. Working with Emerging Technology
  10. Next Gen Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE) & Services
  11. Digital & Informational Literacies
  12. Adaptive Learning
  13. Mobile Learning
  14. Evaluating Tech-Based Instructional Innovations
  15. Evolution of the Profession

The high-resolution infographic is available here via Educause.

Latest Trends in Educational Technology Use Identified in 2016 Horizon Report

2016 Horizon Report

The New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) have jointly released the NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition. This 13th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education.

The report identifies six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology across three adoption horizons spanning over the next one to five years, giving campus leaders, educational technologists, and faculty a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report provides higher education leaders with in-depth insight into how trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.

“The release of this report kicks off the 15th year of the NMC Horizon Project, which has sparked crucial conversations and progressive strategies in institutions all over the world,”says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “We are so appreciative of ELI’s continued support and collaboration. Together we have been able to regularly provide timely analysis to universities and colleges.”

“This year’s report addresses a number of positive trends that are taking root in higher education,” notes ELI Director Malcolm Brown. “More institutions are developing programs that enable students and faculty to create and contribute innovations that advance national economies, and they are also reimagining the spaces and resources accessible to them to spur this kind of creativity.”

[Watch the video summary]

Key Trends Accelerating Higher Education Technology Adoption

The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition identifies “Advancing Cultures of Innovation” and “Rethinking How Institutions Work” as long-term impact trends that for years affected decision-making and will continue to accelerate the adoption of educational technology in higher education over the next five years. “Redesigning Learning Spaces” and the “Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches” are mid-term impact trends expected to drive technology use in the next three to five years; meanwhile, “Growing Focus on Measuring Learning” and “Increasing Use of Blended Learning” are short-term impact trends, anticipated to impact institutions for the next one to two years before becoming commonplace.

Significant Challenges Impeding Higher Education Technology Adoption

A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in higher education. “Blending Formal and Informal Learning” and “Improving Digital Literacy” are perceived as solvable challenges, meaning they are well-understood and solutions have been identified. “Competing Models of Education” and “Personalizing Learning” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined and well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives” and “Keeping Education Relevant.” Challenges in this category are complex to define, making them more difficult to address.

Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education

Additionally, the report identifies bring your own device (BYOD) and learning analytics and adaptive learning as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. Augmented and virtual reality technologies and makerspaces are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years; affective computing and robotics are seen emerging in the far-term horizon of four to five years.

2016 Horizon Report Topics

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed by the NMC and collaboratively conducted by the NMC and ELI that engaged an international body of experts in higher education, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in higher education. The report details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

Download the Report

Infographic: Keeping Pace with the Changing Face of Online Learning

Over the past two decades the Internet has made it possible for anyone anywhere to pursue an affordable degree; for adults to continue their education in efforts to remain productive; and for universities to reach a greater number of people who want to learn. Infusing online learning into higher education provides educators with innovative ways to connect with students, wherever they are, and offers incredible, new career opportunities. This infographic by the Online Learning Consortium highlights a few of these changes.

OLC Infographic 2015

2014 Survey of Online Learning Report

2015 Online Learning ReportGrade Level:Tracking Online Education in the United States is the twelfth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The 2014 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 percent from the previous year. While this represents the slowest rate of increase in over a decade, online enrollment growth far exceeded that of overall higher education.

Key report findings include:

  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.

Download the full report [PDF] or the infographic [PDF], displayed below.
2015 Infographic

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