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The Rise of Online Learning in Higher Education

 
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Glendale, AZ -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/11/2013 -- Advances in educational technology have allowed universities worldwide to create dynamic online learning environments containing an engaging mix of streaming video lectures, podcasts, webcasts, interactive discussion boards, and multimedia activities. These new online courses emphasize flexibility and are adaptable to a variety of individual learning styles. Additionally, the new “anytime, anywhere” learning environment fostered by online education is ideal for working professionals balancing families, work responsibilities, and increasing economic demands. In addition, students in online certificate programs may not feel comfortable expressing their views in a traditional classroom environment, but they now have a voice in interactive discussion forums with increased direct access to instructors and subject matter experts.

Perhaps most importantly for students entering the workforce, and adult learners looking to advance their career, online continuing education provides valuable exposure to the types of interactive technology more frequently utilized by top global companies. Employers are in dire need of talented professionals who can thrive in an increasingly connected global economy. Online education can prove to be an invaluable training ground for collaboration and communication across borders and time zones. Educational experiences utilizing computers, smart phones, and tablets will become more common in the years to come. Employers will soon come to expect familiarity with online education and diverse learning environments utilizing technology when evaluating candidates. Learners comfortable with these dynamic learning environments will have a distinct competitive advantage over their peers exposed only to traditional educational experiences.

Here are some statistics about online course enrollment:

- Online enrollment in education programs grows substantially faster than overall higher education enrollment at a 10% growth rate versus a 2% growth rate.
- Online courses account for 20% of all continuing education enrollments.
- 85% of working professionals are willing to enroll in a completely online course or program.
- By 2014, it is estimated that 81% of post-secondary students will be taking some or all of their courses online.
- By 2018, the U.S. economy will require 4.7 million post-secondary certificates to meet employers’ demand for continuing education.

Here are a few reasons participant enrollment is growing:

- Working professionals have a continued need for work-life balance. Online learning allows individuals to study on their schedule with the convenience of programs tailored specifically for busy, working professionals
- Individuals are looking to move up or take on additional roles and responsibilities in their companies, but need additional skills in order to advance their career.
- Individuals often times do not have the time for a full-time degree program, so they look to advance their skills in specialized subject areas through non-degree certificate programs.

Online learning programs provide the flexibility and training that students need to achieve their educational goals. Whether they are looking to strengthen their skill set in global leadership, global marketing, or global management, online continuing education provides the content and adaptability to help them reach their training goals. To learn more please visit: http://online.thunderbird.edu/

About Thunderbird Online
Thunderbird Online, a professional development division of Thunderbird School of Global Management, provides online courses and executive certificates to busy professionals seeking to continue learning throughout their professional career. Thunderbird Online’s facilitated online professional development programs are available to global business professionals around the world. These top-ranked programs are accessible, convenient, and up-to-date with the most insightful global business content from the world’s #1 ranked school in international business. The uniquely flexible online continuing education programs, combined with unmatched global business content, ensure that customers are fluent in the language of global business while providing them with a comprehensive education in core global business concepts to broaden their global mindset, sharpen global skills, and enhance marketability.

Works Cited:
The Sloan Consortium. (2011). Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011. Babson Survey Research and the College Board. Retrieved from www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/going_distance_2011.