When it comes to meeting the demand for online education courses and degree programs for adult learners in continuing and professional education (CPE) units, traditional colleges and universities are leaders of the pack. According to a study by Eduventures, a research and consulting firm for the education industry, 16 percent to 20 percent of the typical CPE unit’s enrollments are now from online courses.
The study, “Benchmarking Online Continuing Education Operations for an Environment of Growth,” also found that online enrollments in continuing and professional education are growing at an annual rate of 20 percent.
“This rate of growth is more than five times the average enrollment growth rate for higher education generally, and it highlights how nonprofit colleges and universities are leading the way in serving adult learners through their online CPE courses and programs,” Eduventures Senior Analyst Sean Gallagher stated.
Further, the study shed some light on offerings for CPE units. The “typical” one provides about 150 for-credit courses, eight degree programs, four certificate programs and 24 noncredit classes online. The most popular online education delivery model, according to the study, is fully online courses and programs, those for which classroom attendance is not required. Additionally, two-thirds of CPE units offer hybrid courses (those that combine online and traditional, face-to-face interaction).
The study also said CPE units often take a lead role in managing online course and program development, as well as in centralizing support services for online students, while working with academic departments or colleges within a university to decide what online classes will be offered.
In regard to course development, the study said that CPE units can bring online classes to market in six to seven months, and for the majority of colleges and universities, online classes are more expensive to develop than comparable traditional, face-to-face courses. CPE units are aiming to streamline online CPE operations, though.
“As online education becomes a significant overall growth driver for colleges and universities, qualitative and quantitative intelligence on successful models and practices for developing, delivering and supporting online continuing education offerings is critical,” Gallagher stated. “CPE units can use this data to optimize their offerings and service and improve their operational performance to compete more effectively with for-profits and other institutions serving adult learners in the growing online education market.”Filed under: Learning Delivery