The new Babson Study – Tracking Online Education in the United States, indicates that over 70% of Chief Academic Officers say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy. Even more, 74.1%, rated learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to face-to-face courses.
Online is still growing at a much greater rate than face-to-face college enrollments. There was a 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students, which accounts for almost 75% of all enrollment growth in higher education in the US. That includes in the average a 7.9% decrease in online enrollments at for profit colleges. At public colleges, the percentage of growth is even higher – 4.6%.
What concerns remain? Only 28% of academic leaders believe that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy” of online education.
Retention and success metrics remain a persistent challenge, though many studies including the US DOE’s own research, has concluded that online courses are as effective as face-to-face courses. Community College students face specific challenges in online courses, with retention rates lower across the board.