Today, I saw the Wiley Educational Research posted on Linkedin. You can view it here: https://edservices.wiley.com/ .
What does it mean for online education?
First, the researchers have been conducting this study repeatedly for several years. They report having surveyed over 15,000 fully online learners during the bast many years. I’ve used some of their reported statistics and trends in my own work, and particularly in my recent book Teaching Music Appreciation Online. I believe the data is useful and adds insight to online higher education.
Second, it’s unclear whether any survey respondents were impacted by COVID-19 yet, because the authors noted that data were collected in January and February 2020. Broad effects of the pandemic did not impact higher education until late March 2020 and onward. Regardless, the needs and preferences of online learners are well represented under normal circumstances. Next year’s report will definitely be worth a look!
Here are some of the key insights that returned this year:
- Online learners prefer to take classes from institutions located close to home
- Online learners typically prefer affordability and reputation when choosing where to enroll
And, new findings about what online learners really want include the following:
- Pride in the institution and are willing to pay more tuition for an institution’s reputation
- The fastest route to completing the program and speed throughout the process (including applying, accepting transfer credits, and goal achievement)
- Specific programs (and they will go elsewhere to find it rather than opting for an on-campus option)
- Career services
- Options to learn via mobile devices
As we look to the future of online education, considering the preferences and needs of online students will help us continue to provide what they most want.