eLearners.com Research Debunks Myths About Online Learning: Online Students Declare Overall Satisfaction With Online Programs

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When online higher education students were asked what they think the biggest myth is about online learning, “requires less time and effort”, “the work is easier”, and “it is a less effective educational/learning format” topped their list, according to a recent survey conducted by eLearners.com, the leading resource for connecting students with online education. More than half of these same students indicated they spent more than 10 hours per week on their course work. Despite the workload, 90% of the online students surveyed indicated their experience was good or better, with more than 83% saying they would recommend online education to others.

When online higher education students were asked what they think the biggest myth is about online learning, “requires less time and effort”, “the work is easier”, and “it is a less effective educational/learning format” topped their list, according to a recent survey conducted by eLearners.com, the leading resource for connecting students with online education. More than half of these same students indicated they spent more than 10 hours per week on their course work. Despite the workload, 90% of the online students surveyed indicated their experience was good or better, with more than 83% saying they would recommend online education to others.

“We see a tremendous amount of research done on corporate and academic institutions’ perspectives and burgeoning acceptance of online education, but we have not seen a lot from the consumer,” said Andrew Gansler, CEO of eLearners.com. “This survey indicates a satisfied customer base of hard working students, both on the job and in school.”

Among the respondents that chose to go online, the “best part of their educational experience” was “time/location flexibility” (56%) followed by the “format/style of instruction” (20%). They indicated that the most challenging part of being an online student was “having the discipline” (32%) and “making the time” (25%). And, if they could suggest how schools can improve online education, they would recommend “improvements in online instructional materials”, “better access to financial aid” and “more instructional support”.

“The choir has spoken,” continued Gansler. “But what the unconverted—those that chose campus-based or haven’t made their decision have to say—is equally significant.”

Of the 178 responses to the survey, which was fielded in June of this year, 33% enrolled in an online program, 7% enrolled in a campus-based program and 48% have not yet enrolled. Among the comparative findings between campus-based and online students:

  • When asked what their “biggest reason for choosing the school they attended”, the campus-based respondents ranked “reputation” (38%) first followed by “most appropriate program” (23%) and “location/scheduling” (23%). In contrast, their online peers ranked “most appropriate program” first at 54% of respondents with “scheduling/location” second and “reputation” falling lower in the ranking with just 8% listing it as their biggest reason for selecting their school.
  • When asked their “biggest concerns about online education”, 54% of those that selected campus-based learning were concerned about an online education’s “reputation for potential employers” versus only 32% of those who chose online. In both instances, however, the concern over interactions and relationships in online education came in a close second.
  • Relative to 90% of its happy and contented online colleagues, only 77% of those attending a campus-based program indicated their experience was good or better.

Finally, among the 48% that have not yet enrolled, 57% indicated they are still planning to enroll in online program with 62% of that group planning to do so in the next year.

“The early adopter phase of online post secondary education is behind us now,” concluded Gansler. “Schools offering online programs are going to have to work even harder to attract new prospects, convince the fence sitters, and retain the converted.”

About eLearners.com

Since 1999, eLearners.com® -- Where Learning Begins -- has been successfully connecting learners to education, including degree and certificate programs, specialized training, and a variety of courses. For prospective students, eLearners® provides a powerful search engine of online offerings as well as extensive educational resources, available at no cost. For colleges and universities, eLearners® performance-based marketing services offer a low-cost, high quality method to increase enrollment and exposure to their learning programs. eLearners.com is an operating division of Halyard Education Partners, LLC. For more information on eLearners.com, visit http://www.elearners.com.

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