Study Argues E-Learning Market Has Shaky Prospects

Study Argues E-Learning Market Has Shaky Prospects

PHILADELPHIA
In “Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to E-Learning and Why,” two noted education researchers attempt to answer the question: “Why did the boom in e-learning go bust?” Researchers Dr. Robert Zemsky of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. William Massy, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, examine what has happened in the e-learning market by exploring assumptions underpinning the e-learning marketing and its current structure.
 One assumption is that the “if we build it they will come” approach to launching online education programs has not panned out, according to the authors. Despite massive investments in both hardware and software, there has yet to emerge a viable market for e-learning products, Massy and Zemsky claim. They cite that at the institutions participating in the study, more than 80 percent of their enrollments in online courses came from students already on their campuses.
One significant obstacle to online learning filtering into all facets of education is the notable lack of a standardized format or software tool for creating online courses, according to the researchers. Until a major entity, such as an university consortium, creates a standard format, numerous faculty members are likely to steer clear of online education. They claim that most faculty still teach as they were taught and note that e-learning has focused mostly on the distribution of materials, rather than on transforming teaching.  
 Copies of Thwarted Innovation are available on the Web at <www.thelearningalliance.info/>.



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