The enthusiasm for online education amongst adult students may be waning and risks turning online learning into little more than 21st Century correspondence courses, Inside Higher Ed reported.
Citing a new analytical study of the results of a survey of 1,500 U.S. adults on their attitudes towards online education performed by Eduventures, the website reported that preferential attitudes towards online learning remain virtually unchanged since 2006.
Survey author Richard Garrett, vice president and principal analyst for Eduventures, found that 38% of prospective adult students prefer to study fully or mostly online, a statistic that has remained flat since 2006 when 37% of survey respondents said they preferred online learning. Additionally, the amount of adults who believe that online learning is equal to on-campus learning experienced a slight increase.
While 77% of adults surveyed expressed an interest in attending or returning to college, less than 5% actually enroll. A large number of potential adult students are scared away by tuition prices or potential time commitments, reported Inside Higher Ed.
The survey finds that, despite flat enthusiasm levels, a large number of adults who do enroll in college are taking online classes. In 2011 adult students made up 28% of the fully or majority online headcount, survey findings also showed that online learning is going gray.
Adults in the 25-to 34-year-old age range may have fallen behind in degree attainment, but adults in the 55-to 64-year-old age range are more likely to have completed a degree than those in younger age groups, according to Inside Higher Ed. The survey speculates that U.S. citizens might “outpace previous generations in degrees earned during their thirties, forties and beyond.”
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