OCS 2019

Explore New Frontiers
in the Online Space

Online College Students 2019 is your guide for navigating changing student needs in the online space. Learning House, a Wiley brand, and Aslanian Market Research conducted this research by surveying 1,500 prospective, current, and recently graduated fully online college students. Explore our findings and recommendations on your mission to draw more online students into your institution’s orbit.

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

Takeaway

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.


Takeaway

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.

Age











Employment Status


Number of Children Younger Than 18


Marital Status


First Family Member to Attend College


Takeaway

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.


Takeaway

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.

Takeaway

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.

A WORLD OF HIGHER EDUCATION RESOURCES

For more than a decade, Learning House has been a thought leader in higher education. Visit research.learninghouse.com to access reports, webinars, and infographics that inspire innovation and help your institution thrive.

Download the full report at LEARNINGHOUSE.COM/OCS2019