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Online Education Has Reached the Mainstream

Online education has reached the mainstream. This infographic explores how, where, and why. Read the full report, here:

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Online Education Has Reached the Mainstream

  1. 1. The top 5 features that will reach online students in the future of high school and college students report taking at least one online or blended course* * Blended courses include both online and traditional classroom instruction The most online activity is happening in higher education Approximately 60%of students who have taken an online or blended course have a positive view of its quality and importance Students who have taken at least one online or blended course High schoolers 39% College students 76% Graduate students 73% Online education has reached the mainstream The5 Least Most satisfiedsatisfied Parents are skeptical of online-only degrees The top 5 barriers to online-only degrees Parents with an online-experienced student who would recommend… These students take the majority or all of their classes online. This population will be familiar as the original group that online education grew to serve True believers These students uniquely emphasize the experiential, social, and emotional bene- fits of education. To them, it does not matter greatly which form their education takes, so long as they earn a degree for personal and social advancement Experience seekers Money mavens These students are primarily motivated by the financial outcomes of an online education. They view an online education much more as a transaction than as an experience These students will become True Believers if the experience of online learning meets their high standards and offers benefits beyond that of traditional classrooms Open minds 67% of postsecondary institutions report online offerings 60 % of college students are currently taking at least one online course 30 % of college students are currently learning primarily through online courses 16 % students today faces of online These students have tried online courses, but they have decided not to take more in the future because they see problems with the quality, outcomes, and reputation of online programs Online rejecters 13 Mostly traditional with some online courses39% Traditional courses only24% 50/50 hybrid degree20% Any model 8% Online-only degree 2% Mostly online with some traditional courses7% Parents are more likely to withhold financial support for a child pursuing an online-only degree than for one pursuing a traditional or a hybrid degree 1. Knowledgeable and accessible academic advisors 2. Anticipatory, responsive, and adaptive faculty 3. Self-pacing based on competency and mastery 4. An interactive virtual classroom experience 5. Curriculum aligned with a professional license 1. Reputation among students 2. Lack of acceptance among faculty 3. Lack of regulation and accreditation requirements 4. Perceived quality of teachers and faculty 5. Online class experience percentage points Sources: • These findings come from The Boston Consulting Group U.S. Education Sentiment Survey of more than 2,500 high school, college, and graduate students and 675 parents with at least one child in high school or college who had taken at least one course online. See The Five Faces of Online Education: What Students and Parents Want, BCG Focus, June 2014 • The estimate of the percentage of postsecondary institutions reporting online offerings comes from “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States, 2013,” Babson Survey Research Group, Pearson, and the Sloan Consortium, January 2014 Read BCG’s latest insights, analysis, and viewpoints at © The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. To find the latest BCG content and register to receive e-alerts on this topic or others, please visit Please direct questions to