Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 4, 2010
As demand for online learning continues to skyrocket, higher education providers are researching new and proven ways to leverage technology to the benefit of their students, according to a new report from Pearson about online learning's rapid growth amid increasing challenges.
The report, The Efficacy (and Inevitability) of Online Learning in Higher Education, is a guide for administrators, instructors and policymakers about how technology provides a cost-effective approach to increase access and improve student achievement despite growing budgetary constraints. The report follows the trajectory of online learning from its distance learning beginnings to the integral role it plays today across a range of educational environments.
"The combination of the recession, increasing enrollments, shifting student demographics and the new skill sets needed to succeed in a global economy have put more pressure than ever before on all sectors of higher education," said Don Kilburn, CEO of Pearson Learning Solutions. "This informative paper is an invaluable resource for decision makers as they search for new ways to meet the growing demand for educational opportunities in these challenging times."
The report cites research from the US Department of Education, which found that taking all or part of a class online produces, on average, stronger student learning outcomes than those conducted solely in traditional classroom environments. And, evidence points to a bright future for online learning, with 83 percent of institutions that offer online offerings expecting their enrollments to increase over the coming year, according to a report from the Babson Survey Research Group/Sloan Consortium.
Still, there are challenges associated with online learning, such as ensuring that technology infrastructure and services are in place to support students and faculty.
"No longer viewed solely as an alternative to traditional programs, online learning has become an integral aspect of all types of mainstream education and training environments, including K12, higher education, corporate, government, military and home schooling," writes Dr. John G. Flores, CEO of the US Distance Learning Association, in the foreword to the report. "The ability to access high-quality, academically rigorous anywhere/anytime programs is today's new academic gold standard."
The report describes successful online learning implementations at a wide range of colleges, universities and career schools, including: Bunker Hill Community College, Colorado Community Colleges Online, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Fort Hays State University, Guilford Technical Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Rio Salado College, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, University of Alabama, University of Idaho and Wayne State University.
For example, in Louisiana, where the statewide goal is to support 10,000 additional college graduates by 2015, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System worked with Pearson to create LCTCSOnline. The program serves working adults who need workforce training for career advancement but lack the time and flexibility to enroll in traditional campus classes. LCTCSOnline serves students via desktops, laptops or mobile devices, and students at all of the system's 47 schools learn from common, customized online courses, digital learning objects, eBooks and textbooks.
In Boston, online learning technologies have allowed Bunker Hill Community College, where enrollments have grown by 25 percent, to increase the number of sections and times that classes are offered. "We are committed to not turning away students," says Professor Michael Puopolo, chairman of the BHCC Computer Information Technology department. "Some departments are even running midnight courses. Pearson's myitlab enables us to handle this increased scale without losing academic integrity."
Bunker Hill also uses myitlab for computer and information technology training at local community-based organizations (CBOs), with more than 300 students receiving full college credit for courses taken thus far in CBOs.
Florida State College at Jacksonville has seen significant improvements in achievement in its online criminal justice program, including a 36 percent increase in students' ability to demonstrate learning outcomes. Professor Reta Roberts worked with Pearson to create customizable online courses and media features to keep students engaged, and through discussions and chats is able to accurately gauge whether students are on track.
Technology also enables more affordable, flexible options for course materials, such as at Colorado Community Colleges Online. Here, students pay a one time charge for their digital materials, print sections from their eBooks and obtain the content in a custom, low-cost, black-and-white print version at participating campus bookstores.
The Efficacy (and Inevitability) of Online Learning in Higher Education is available at http://www.pearsoncustom.com/online-learning/.
Pearson has global-reach and market leading businesses in education, business and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO).
Media Contact: Susan Aspey, susan.aspey (at) pearson (dot) com or (800) 745-8489
About Pearson Learning Solutions
Pearson Learning Solutions is a business unit within Pearson, a global leader in education, technology and services. As an education partner and consultant to higher education institutions in academic and professional training environments, Pearson Learning Solutions is committed to designing total, client-driven education solutions. With a diverse team of world-class subject matter experts, course writers, instructional designers, curriculum development specialists, editors, and experienced textbook publishers, Pearson Learning Solutions is uniquely positioned to create, manage and measure better online learning experiences. By tailoring solutions to each institution's individual needs, including off-the-shelf online, classroom, blended courses or fully customized curriculum development, coupled with providing a wide range of technology tools and learning platforms, we empower faculty and administrators to help students succeed.