Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

Students See Hope for the Future of Online Education

on June 12, 2013
More than three-quarters of students say that learning in person is still easier than learning online. /Shutterstock.com

Today's generation of college students says that online learning isn't as easy as learning in face-to-face classes, a new report finds. But they see hope for the future of online education.

The Future of Education study from Millennial Branding and Internships.com asked 1,345 U.S. college students what they thought about online learning, among other things. The findings were released on Tuesday, June 11.

On the online education front, 78 percent of students said it's easier to learn in person than online.

"A lot of them haven't had a chance to learn online, so I don't think they know what they're missing," said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

At the same time, half of the students surveyed said they don't need a physical classroom anymore. They're finding that flexibility and lower costs make online learning a viable option. And 43 percent say the courses will match up in quality or even exceed the quality of in-person classes.

"The whole point of the study is not to say that everyone's going to be learning online and there won't be physical schools in the future," Schawbel said. "What's really important here is that it shouldn't be a one-size fits all model."

In the future, more education will move online, according to 39 percent of students, and 19 percent see social media engagement in class on the horizon.

As we found out in our story What College Students Really Think About Online Courses, students don't necessarily want to take all of their classes online. Ultimately, they want to be able to choose the classes that work the best with their learning style, schedule and major. And they want to be heard.

This survey provides a snapshot of student opinions for higher education administrators. And these leaders will continue to grapple with how online education fits into their business model, what balance they should strike between online and physical classes, and which professors are more effective in each medium.


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Tanya Roscorla

Tanya Roscorla covers education technology in the classroom, behind the scenes and on the legislative agenda. Likes: Experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up cool crafts, reading good books.

E-mail: troscorla@centerdigitaled.com
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