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Growth of online learning

Online learning continues to grow. In a recent COHERE symposium in Toronto, Joel Hartman presented statistics of blended and online learning growth at University of Central Florida. Surprisingly (at least to me), blended learning courses (where part of the learning occurs online and part in a classroom) have plateaued, while online courses continue to grow in popularity. From recent experiences I’ve had with students (and partly supported by ECARs recent report) indicates that many students want more personal (face-to-face) contact and less emphasis on technology. Sloan-C has released a report – Online Nation (.pdf) which supports Joel’s point of the growth of online learning. Online education, according to the report, continues to “grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population”. In fact, almost 20% of higher education students were taking at least one online course in fall 2006.


  1. George,

    I’ve heard those stats, too, and heard U of Central Florida’s Chuck Dzubian discuss those findings. I find them worrisome. Blended learning, by insisting on both online and f2f communication and community as well as networks, has a crucial role to play in the future of education– if we want students to feel a part of a physical community in which they actually have to face the people they are connecting to–across generations and backgrounds. So often online courses sequester the learning to modules served up in closed environments, isolated, disconnected from any other part of the learner’s life.

    I want my students to experience the benefits, the opportunities and the challenges of connected conversation online and in person. My students crave personal contact and they resist the online work–at first (mostly because they have had bad experiences with technology in classrooms in secondary schools).

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Glen wrote:

    If you are talking to students in a face-to-face environment, their report may be a little biased. They have self selected that type of learning so it makes sense that would be their preference. Cognitive dissonance may be at play as they have made a huge economic and social investment in F2F. It has to be the best.

    Monday, October 29, 2007 at 6:59 pm | Permalink