The study Online College Students 2017: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, by Learning House, shows that students value the sense of being part of an engaged community.
The researchers conducted a survey of 1,500 past, present, and prospective fully online college students, with the goal of finding their inclinations regarding online learning. The key results are the following:
- They Want to Be Part of a Community. More than half of respondents say interaction with classmates and instructors is important to them.
- They Experience Buyer’s Remorse. Sixty percent would change some part of their search for an online program if they had to do it over again.
- Price Is a Factor, But Not the Only One. Price is the primary factor in selecting a school and program, but students are willing to pay more for quality or convenience.
- They Are Heavy Users of Mobile Devices. Eighty percent of students use a mobile device to search for programs; 40% use their device for coursework.
- Students Expand Their Search to More Schools. Fifty two percent of students requested information from 3 or more schools.
- Career Services Are Important. Seventy seven percent of participants report taking advantage of career services provided by their schools.
- Institutional Responsiveness Is Important. Two-thirds of students decide where to apply in four weeks or less.
- Online Students Spend Less Time in Class Than Guidelines Recommend. A significant percentage of students acknowledge that they spend less time on classroom activities than advised.
- There’s More Variety in Their Preferred Programs. Business and Healthcare dominate online education. For graduate students, Computer Science is the most popular subject.
- They Have High Interest in Competency-Based Education. Online students are increasingly aware of competency-based programs.
Overall, researchers found that students are very satisfied with their online learning experience.