Professionals wont turn their back on online doctorates because it provides them one of the only feasible ways to obtain a terminal degree. People with decades of experience don’t often go back to get a doctorate because of the years of time and investment that would pull them away from their business duties. Online doctoral education can marry professional experience and theory in ways that would be difficult for traditional schools to fulfill.
Online doctoral education has four purposes (Radda & Mandernach, 2013).:
1. Prepare the doctoral community to develop knowledge and skills for the 21st century.
2. Capture the collective intelligences and knowledge of individuals.
3. Deepen scholarship and practical application of that scholarship.
4. To further the interests of scholar-practitioners.
Online education has come a long way over the past 20 years and research has shown that the modality is growing in terms of benefits and effectiveness. One of the reasons why traditional colleges are adopting the model is because of cost and reach. With online education they can draw in additional learners that would previously been unable to go back to school.
We should think about all the experience out there hidden in the boardrooms and office. Many of these people would offer valuable knowledge to both academic and fellow industry stakeholders. Getting them into a doctoral program not only helps to grow their businesses but also ensure that their knowledge can be applied by others.
One of the main purposes of higher education is to grow and expand knowledge in a way that furthers the interest of societal stakeholders. Sometimes theory is developed that is difficult to implement for practical use in business. People with knowledge from industry have a better shot at developing theory that has immediate application to industry stakeholders that furthers economic growth.
Developing useful theory has a wider benefit to the business community and society. As better theory is produced and more quickly implemented into business practices the economic fundamentals of society strengthen leading to higher levels of adaptation and development. Seasoned business executives won’t turn their back on online education because they understand that quality of learning and usefulness of solutions are more important than the name of the school.