Has The Promise of Blended Education Been Realized? Joint Babson/Sloan/Eduventures Report Provides Comprehensive Insights

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Joint Babson/Sloan/Eduventures Report Provides Comprehensive Insights into the Growth and Preferences of Hybrid Learning Among Academic Leaders and Consumers: In one of the most comprehensive reports on academic and consumer preferences for blended learning in the post secondary market, the Babson Survey Research Group and Eduventures found that academic leadership is seeing greater promise in the growth of online education than that of blended learning, while consumer's openness to online and blended delivery continues to outpace their experience, leaving considerable room for growth in both delivery models. These are the findings from the newly released report, Blending In: The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States, published by the Sloan Consortium, and available at http://www.eduventures.com/BlendingIn.cfm and http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/blended06.asp.

In one of the most comprehensive reports on academic and consumer preferences for blended learning in the post secondary market, the Babson Survey Research Group and Eduventures found that academic leadership is seeing greater promise in the growth of online education than that of blended learning, while consumer's openness to online and blended delivery continues to outpace their experience, leaving considerable room for growth in both delivery models. These are the findings from the newly released report, Blending In: The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States, published by the Sloan Consortium and available at http://www.eduventures.com/BlendingIn.cfm and http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/blended06.asp.

"The findings in this study are compelling because there has been a belief among some that blended courses held more promise than fully online ones, and blended learning represented the path to online education," says Jeff Seaman, Survey Director for The Sloan Consortium and Co-Director of Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College. "What has become abundantly clear is that blended learning is generally not part of an institutional transition strategy from face-to-face to fully online courses, but rather a discrete option which institutions choose on its own merits."

Survey results included in the Blending In report show that almost 55 percent of all institutions offer at least one blended course, while 64 percent offer at least one online course. Additionally, the percentage of courses taught as blended has been relatively steady over the three survey years (moving from 6.8% in 2003 to 6.6% in 2004 and 5.6% in 2005). During this same time period the percentage of courses taught as fully online has continued to grow (6.5% in 2003, 8.2% in 2004, and 10.6% in 2005). These trends are punctuated by the fact that overall, only 38 percent of respondents agreed that "blended courses hold more promise than online courses" in 2004. This is a decrease from 46 percent agreement in 2003.

Blending In also provides a comprehensive snapshot of consumer preferences for online education -- hybrid or fully online -- from a recent study by Eduventures. The research finds that seventy-six percent of consumers interested in postsecondary education stated a preference for a delivery mode with at least some online element, and eighty-one percent stated a preference for a delivery mode with at least some face-to-face element. While only 10.6% of consumers reported prior experience of a totally online program (whether in postsecondary education or elsewhere), 19% expressed a preference for wholly online postsecondary programs. In terms of blended delivery, the experience and preference figures were also some distance apart. While 16.6% of consumers reported blended program experience, 32% expressed a preference for either primarily online or online/on-campus balanced programs.

"Whether online or blended delivery, consumer preference appears to significantly outpace prior consumer experience, which gives us a clear picture of a market that is restless for growth," says Richard Garrett, Senior Analyst for Eduventures' Learning Collaborative for Online Higher Education. "This is a positive finding, not least for universities and colleges that have invested in online and/or blended delivery."

Blending In: The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States builds on a set of annual research findings on the state of online education in U.S. Higher Education. The findings are based on a national survey of all colleges and universities in the U.S. conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additionally, results are presented from an Eduventures-conducted national survey of 2,033 U.S. adults interested in postsecondary education in the next three years. The complimentary report is available at http://www.eduventures.com/BlendingIn.cfm and http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/blended06.asp.

ABOUT BABSON COLLEGE

Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Visit http://www.babson.edu.

ABOUT EDUVENTURES

For more than a decade, Eduventures has been the most trusted name in the education market for research, consulting services, and peer networking. Its clients include senior administrators and executives from leading educational institutions and companies serving the K-12, higher education, and corporate learning markets, as well as decision-makers in government agencies and the investment community. For more information, visit http://www.eduventures.com.

ABOUT SLOAN CONSORTIUM

The Sloan Consortium is the nation's largest association of institutions and organizations committed to quality online education and administered through Babson College and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Visit http://www.sloan-c.org.

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