At A Tipping Point: The Future of Education

Online Education is Changing the Game

Just over a year ago, I was named the fifth President & CEO of OCLC.  OCLC is a global technology company dedicated to connecting libraries in a global network to share the world’s knowledge.  Part of our not for profit mission includes a research division dedicated to original research on a wide range of topics involving education, libraries and technology.

Cathy DeRosa, Vice President for the Americas, recently released a fascinating market research report about online education entitled At A Tipping Point.  It is free and full of fascinating statistics.  And, online education will not only have implications for education.  It is already having a significant impact on corporate training.

In this brief five-minute interview, I talk with Cathy about the cost of higher education, online learning and the changes in the landscape ahead.

Here are a few facts from the research:


Mobile learning.  40% of adults ages 25-35 who have taken an online class have taken it on their mobile phone or tablet.


Fact: 40% of adults 25-35 who have taken an online class have taken it on a phone or tablet. @OCLC


Convenience wins.  The top benefit of online learning is convenience.  51% cited convenience compared to just 3% citing affordability.


Fact: 51% cite convenience as the top benefit of online learning. @OCLC


Satisfied learners.  91% of online learners say their goals were met.


Fact: 91% of online learners say their goals were met. @OCLC

Gaining favor.  2/3 of online learners believe that online learning will continue to grow in popularity.


Fact: Over two thirds of online learners believe it will continue to grow. @OCLC


Online education = lower cost education. Nearly half of college students currently funding a college education think online learning will lower the cost of higher education.  The same holds true for parents who help fund education costs.


Fact: Only 4% of parents of students at four year private schools think the price = value.


Fact: Only 41% of parents of community college students think the price = value.


Top-of-mind is money.  The top-of-mind perception of a college education among parents is cost/debt.  It is not a better way of life, brighter future or a career – but cost and debt.


Fact: The number one factor for selecting a university is affordability. @OCLC


Affordability rules.  Parents say that affordability is the top evaluation criteria for selecting a post-secondary education institution.  Quality of the education ranked fourth – behind affordability, degrees/programs offered and location/proximity to home.






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