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Online Learning in Continuing Higher Education

Current Practices and Planned Initiatives

Research Report: October 2018

How Well Are Colleges Delivering Online Programs That Students Demand?

As online enrollments outpace industry trends, many colleges are rushing to launch online programs that will attract new students. This has created intense competition in online education, but are colleges successfully meeting the learning demands of students? Find out in Online Learning in Continuing Higher Education, a new report from Learning House and the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE).

For this research study, Learning House surveyed ACHE member institutions to identify current practices and planned initiatives for online programs. Using that data, we determined how well online programs and practices are aligning with student demands as observed in the 2018 Online College Students report. To explore our key findings and discover data-driven program recommendations, register for your copy of Online Learning in Continuing Higher Education.

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Preview Our Data-Driven Recommendations

According to our study, your school can best appeal to online college students if you:

Blur the boundaries between online and on-campus learning
Contrary to popular belief, college students are unlikely to flee campuses if they’re allowed to enroll in online courses. On the other hand, there are payoffs when colleges allow on-campus students to take online courses. Benefits include filling open slots in online courses and gaining fresh course-design insights from students who are new to the online modality.

Divide degrees for busy students
To appeal to time-conscious students, consider segmenting degrees into brief, schedule-friendly chunks. Badges, micro-degrees and certificate programs are three alternative credentials you could offer to students who want to integrate learning into busy lifestyles.

Maximize the value of your online programs
Most students put more stock into the cost of a program than an academic institution’s reputation. As a result, each school should compare how its tuition and fees compare to those of competitors, and consider whether scholarships, prior learning credits and transfer credits provide a recruiting advantage. And if your reputation justifies higher tuition, make sure your enrollment promotions make this point clear.

Cultivate faculty for online programs
Our study indicates that many schools stumble with respect to training faculty, especially instructors who teach online courses. To remedy this, schools should establish scalable training programs that nurture quality instruction in the online space.

Register for Online Learning in Continuing Higher Education to gain insights into how to align programs and services with the demands of online students.

Meet the Author

Andrew J. Magda has tracked and forecasted trends in online education for more than 10 years. He has worked with hundreds of institutions regarding their unique place in the online marketplace, such as The University of Alabama, Capella University and Regis University. As manager of market research at Learning House, Magda leads custom and large-scale market research studies and helps partner institutions understand their local online marketplace.

About Our Research Partner

The Association for Continuing Higher Education is a dynamic network of diverse professionals who are dedicated to promoting excellence in continuing higher education and to sharing their expertise and experience with one another. Belief in the values of professional development, collegiality and service guides their mission. ACHE has 1,200 individual members who represent more than 300 institutions and organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

Explore Online College Students 2018

To compare online programs that ACHE institutions offer with the demands of digital learners, we leveraged data in the seventh-annual Online College Students report. Each year, Learning House and Aslanian Market Research produce the report by surveying 1,500 incoming, current and recently-graduated online college students. More than 1,000 copies of Online College Students are downloaded every year, and its data is cited by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, University Business and other leading publications.

Click here to download the 2018 Online College Students report.

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