Pearson Releases Report on Best Practices for Implementing Successful Online Programs at Higher Education Institutions

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Comprehensive Paper Demonstrates How Effective Online Learning Services Improve Student and Institutional Outcomes


Online learning continues to provide unprecedented, flexible opportunities for individuals to pursue their higher education goals. To demonstrate measurable impact of online learning services, Pearson today released a report, titled, “Implementing Comprehensive Online Learning Programs that Improve Student and Institutional Outcomes in Higher Education.”

The paper, which is based on partnerships with Pearson Embanet, a unit of Pearson Online Learning Services, shares specific best practice examples, observations, and outcomes from six leading institutions, gathered through their experience creating and managing several online programs, which have given thousands of students the opportunity to achieve their higher education goals. Institutions featured in the report include: The George Washington University, Abilene Christian University, Champlain College, University of Cincinnati, Washington State University, and Norwich University.

One of the most important reasons why institutions continue to create new online courses is the strong student learning outcomes they are experiencing in online programs. According to the Babson Survey Research Group, 74 percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face courses.

The George Washington University (GW) wanted to improve student retention in its foundational prerequisite course, Legal Research and Writing. GW worked with course design and development experts at Pearson to convert the seven-week course into a 14-week course. Redesigning the course schedule allowed more time for students to acquire the specialized knowledge in the course properly. After the new schedule was implemented, drop-out rates fell from 15 percent in the seven-week course to less than six percent in the 14-week course.

“We are encouraged by the measurable improvement in our students’ course retention rates, and we value the expertise of the Pearson team in collaborating with us on our continuous efforts to improve student achievement,” said Toni Marsh, director of the George Washington University Paralegal Studies Program and associate professor of Paralegal Studies.

Abilene Christian University (ACU), in Abilene, TX, partnered with Pearson to expand its online offerings, focusing on recruitment, marketing and retention. In 2013, ACU met its enrollment projections, and there has been a 16 percent increase in its online student population in several programs.

“The clearest benefit to us is that enrollment for some of our programs is at an all-time high,” said Corey Patterson, director of Graduate Program Development and managing director for Online Programs, Abilene Christian University. “We trust the Pearson team and rely on them because of their proven results.”

Pearson’s Senior Vice President of Online Learning Services, Todd Hitchcock, said, “As evidenced by the diverse examples in this report, no two programs or institutions are alike. Successfully launching and operating online programs requires ongoing investment, experience, and specialized attention and skill. By providing institutions the support of proven, comprehensive online learning services, institutions can truly focus on teaching and learning.”

Pearson is the leading provider of comprehensive educational services for fully online degree programs. These include market research, recruitment marketing, student support and retention services, materials developed specifically for online programs by leading instructional designers and subject matter experts, faculty support, and cloud-based learning management systems with advanced data analytics to analyze trends in student performance and evaluate learning outcomes.

The complete report can be found here.

For more information on Pearson’s online learning services, please visit

About Pearson
Pearson is the world's leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit

Media Contact: Stacy Skelly, stacy(dot)skelly(at)pearson(dot)com or 800-745-8489

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