7 Ways to Deal with Online Learning Platforms | مركز سمت للدراسات

7 Ways to Deal with Online Learning Platforms

Date & time : Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Peggy Bresnick


Demand for online education has grown significantly over the past decade opening the doors for new online learning platforms.  And although the pandemic accelerated blended learning options in colleges and universities, the trend had already begun before COVID-19.

The number of learners reached by massive open online courses (MOOCs) grew from 300,000 to 220 million, According to McKinsey, from 2011 to 2021. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of hybrid and distance-only students at traditional universities increased by 36 percent. The circumstances created by the pandemic in 2020 accelerated that growth by an additional 92 percent.

Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) based on 5831 institutions revealed that in 2020-2021, the number of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions was 25,349,501. In the fall of 2021, the percentage of students enrolled in distance education courses in postsecondary institutions was 59 percent, down from the high of approximately 74 percent in 2020, but still a significant increase from prior years.

IPEDS data states that from 2019 to 2020, four of the largest open-access online education providers, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Liberty University, Western Governors University (WGU), and Grand Canyon University (GCU), grew their total enrollment by 11 percent on average. But today, these providers – and traditional colleges and universities – have additional competition for the same students: digital education start-ups

Learning platforms that connect learners with courses and programs from multiple providers, including Coursera, edX, Emeritus and Skillsoft are prevalent for non-degree courses and professional education, and some are entering the degree program space. Growing venture capital investment is fueling the growth in edtech funding, and these investments could grow. Demand is growing for blended learning that maintain standards for online education quality. While it’s not yet clear what these relatively new players may mean for traditional, established degree-granting schools, university leaders need to keep an eye on this space as they develop their own online and hybrid learning programs, and know how to respond to the growing competition for students.

Harvard Business Review offers some tips to help higher education institutions successfully engage with and deal with learning platforms, maximizing the value of participating in a learning platform and minimizing the risks of platform dominance.

Become an early mover. Take advantage of early mover benefits by identifying areas where there are few course offerings on learning platforms. Being an early mover in these areas can create a lasting competitive advantage.

Use learning platforms as data sources and innovation partners. Platforms routinely accumulate data on education supply and demand that can help schools design programs that will appeal to learners.  Institutions that participating in learning platforms can request access to data to help them plan their own courses and programs.

Find ways to expand programs and courses to a wider audience. Successful learning platforms can have a global reach. Institutions can develop nice programs and courses that can be attractive to a larger market.

Participate in multiple learning platforms. Colleges and universities can encourage competition among multiple platforms by participating on more than one platform. Avoid getting tied into long-term contracts with any single platform or get locked into any platform’s proprietary technology or becoming dependent on a single platform’s value-added services.

Use in-house content delivery and learner support technology infrastructure. Schools should use their own technology whenever possible or adopt agile software and production processes to facilitate porting content across multiple platforms.

Cultivate a long-term, direct relationship with learners. One of the biggest risks learning platforms pose to educational institutions is that they can potentially weaken their own relationship with learners who might go to platforms first to learn. To mitigate this risk, colleges and universities can pursue strategies that foster and maintain a close relationship with learners during and after their courses.

Avoid taking a herd approach. Some institutions may be tempted to jump to offer the same courses or programs offered by peer institutions. While this approach doesn’t create meaningful value for the school, it enhances the platforms’ market position. Selectively participate in multiple platforms from a position of strength by developing reasonably advanced internal capabilities while forming partnerships with select peer institutions and leveraging their own alumni networks to develop institutional lifelong learning portals.


Source: Fierce Education 


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