Survey Says Online Learning Equal to Classroom InstructionWASHINGTON
From the Ivy League to tiny community colleges, a majority of higher education institutions report that online learning is just as good as traditional, face-to-face classroom instruction. Nearly three out of four academic leaders say learning online may be even better within three years. A comprehensive survey released by Babson College and the Sloan Consortium concludes that online learning is at historically high levels and will continue to grow at a rate of nearly 20 percent.
“Ten years ago online learning was nearly unheard of. Today, 11 percent of all students are taking classes online and what they are learning is just as good as if they were sitting in classrooms and lecture halls,” says Dr. I. Elaine Allen, Babson College associate professor of statistics and entrepreneurship.
The 2003 Sloan Survey of Online Learning polled academic leaders and was weighted to allow for inferences about all degree-granting institutions open to the public. When asked to compare the online learning outcomes with those of face-to-face instruction, a majority said they are equal. Two out of every three also responded that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy.
The survey, “Sizing the Opportunity: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States,” also looks at characteristics of online learners, student and faculty perceptions as well as how private and public institutions approach online learning. It can be read online at <www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp>.
The study was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and conducted by the Sloan Center for Online Education at Olin and Babson colleges and the Sloan Consortium. The Sloan Consortium membership includes more than 380 institutions and organizations that share knowledge about effective online learning.
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