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11 Online Education Trends Institutions Should Track

Posted on 08/08/2018

According to a report tracking online learning trends, career aspirations continue to drive students’ decisions to enroll in online programs. The report External link opens in new window or tab surveyed 295 online program administrators and 1,500 students, including prospective, current, and past students, to gauge their experiences in online education programs. Trends identified in the survey can guide institutions as they tailor their online learning programs to best suit students’ needs:




  1. Seventy-three percent of online students say career and employment goals were a major motivation for enrolling in their online learning program.
  2. Online students are getting younger, and 34 percent of surveyed institutions reported an increase in students ages 18-25.
  3. Demand is increasing. Ninety-nine percent of online education program administrators say demand has increased or stayed the same over the past few years, and nearly 40 percent of respondents say they plan to increase their online program budgets in the next year.
  4. Online programs are considering enrollment growth and hiring trends—73 percent of schools say they decided to offer online education programs based on the growth potential for overall student enrollment, while 68 percent also considered employment demand.
  5. Prospective students use a variety of methods to research online education programs, including reading online reviews from students (23 percent), researching school websites (18 percent), contacting schools directly (17 percent), researching ranking websites (17 percent), visiting campuses (13 percent), and talking to students or graduates (10 percent).
  6. The majority of students in online education programs (79 percent) and the majority of past students (76 percent) think online education is better than or equal to on-campus education.
  7. Cost remains students’ biggest obstacle as they choose as online education program.
  8. Students struggle to find the right online education program. This might be due to the increase in younger students who may not have identified goals or chosen a career path.
  9. Business and related subjects such as logistics and accounting, healthcare and medical subjects, and computer science are predicted to experience the most enrollment growth over the next five years.
  10. Schools are offering a new online education program as a growth opportunity to increase overall student enrollment (73 percent), because there is employment demand for the knowledge or skills (68 percent), and because there is a demand from students who are interested in the subject area or degree level (64 percent).
  11. Challenges when it comes to offering online education programs include marketing new online programs to prospective students, meeting recruitment goals (74 percent), and meeting cost and management demands required by new online programs (54 percent).

Source: eCampus News External link opens in new window or tab