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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Online Learning Has Earned its Permanent Place in Higher Education

Online learning is now a permanent part of higher education and will continue to expand its market. The ease and convenience of online education is changing the face of colleges across the country. As a modality of learning, it allows students to connect to their class and professor at times that are more convenient for them.

Traditional education is face-to-face and requires the student to be present in order learn. This leaves out many people who balance families and careers. Besides, those who live in rural areas, or out of a university’s geographical area, will be cut off from higher education.

A selection process not based on actual skill or ability is bad news for the economy. Employers require highly skilled employees who continually update their knowledge to stay competitive with the market. Those who are most likely to capitalize on higher education are left out of the mix.

Online education will likely continue to grow and become a standard, possibly superseding tradition modalities, as a delivery channel for teaching and learning. Professors and students are becoming familiar with online education and are likely to adopt more of it in the future, (Mbuva, 2014).

There is also an additional cost benefit. State budgets are getting squeezed and colleges are running in the red. Online education may continue to become a popular method of reducing campus costs and lowering overall operating costs.

Universities will continue to look toward for-profit, online models, to cut costs; even if they continue to lobby against competitive higher education ideologies. They don’t really have much of a choice. Most avenues of increasing wealth have dried up and cutting heavily will lower the quality of programs.

Virtual classrooms lower costs and expand a university's customer base. Land based colleges will maintain their prestige but will need to augment with hybrid, and/or fully online programs. They will seek to expand their offerings to support a growing need for higher education.

Online education is here to stay and it will continue to be adopted by institutions. It reduces costs and fits the needs of students. Professors and students are becoming accustomed to the online process and will seek its convenience in selecting future programs. As market factors adjust, online education may find itself a hot commodity.

Mbuva, J. (2014). Online education: progress and prospects.   Journal of Business & Educational Leadership, 5 (1).

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