GRAVITATING TO NEARBY SCHOOLS
In 2012, 44% of online learners lived within 50 miles of their institution. Today, 44% live within 25 miles of campus, and 23% live 26 to 50 miles from campus.
Miles Between Home and Nearest Campus or Service Center
Ensure you are focusing marketing efforts in your region, and understand regional competition and how to distinguish yourself, as the majority of your students are likely to come from that area.
Honing Skills that employers value
A majority of online learners agree that their soft skills improved while enrolled, even when their program didn’t teach these skills specifically.
Identify what soft skills employers value and design courses to teach these skills directly. By ensuring your online students are prepared to meet employers’ needs, you will also empower them as they take the next steps in their careers.
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL POPULATION
The complex online student universe includes learners from multiple generations and segments. Some students are returning to college after an extended break, while others recently graduated high school. A large portion are first-generation students, and a significant number of students work full time, are married, and/or have children at home. This complexity leads to online cohorts that include students with a range of needs and expectations.
Number of Children Younger Than 18
First Family Member to Attend College
The online population is too complex for schools to take a one-size-fits-all approach to student support. Universities should offer a broad set of services that can be adapted to an array of student segments and needs.
MOBILE DEVICES ARE MISSION-CRITICAL
A majority of online students want to use a smartphone or tablet to complete coursework. This includes students in programs that do not appear to support mobile access.
Mobile support is shifting from a program add-on to a requirement. It is critical for schools to ensure their learning management systems (LMS) support mobile devices to create greater access and flexibility for online students.
KEEPING ALUMNI IN ORBIT
A significant number of online students want to maintain a connection to their school after they graduate.
Don’t forget graduates of online programs when you design alumni services and communications. For optimal results, begin cultivating long-term relationships with online students as soon as they enroll.