Trends in the Digital Learning Landscape Part I examined trends in conventional online enrollment. Part II examines Emerging Learning Models including those based on the MOOC model and Competency Based Education. Leading institutions are innovating online in order to do well in the overall environment of declining enrollments. Some institutions see this innovation as a way to adapt to the changing needs of learners, employers, and regulators. While no single dominant disruptor has emerged to date, we see a few approaches that are gaining traction.
Some of us have advised others as to the importance of allocating enough revenue to R&D to secure the future viability of an organization. As a percent of revenue, that number varies from a few percent to as much as 20 percent, as dictated by the nature of the product or service and the environment in which it is offered. Spend too little, and you risk becoming marginalized and, eventually, replaced. Spend too much . . . well, there are too few cases from which to generalize.
Enrollment in online higher education programs increased during the past few years even as overall higher education enrollment declined. Online public and private nonprofit institutions grew and captured market share compared to declines in the older for-profit programs. A few “heavyweight” institutions now dominate the online space -- and most are public or nonprofit.
For decades, the learning and measurement sciences have told us how to optimize learning in physical and virtual classrooms. Higher education has either ignored or been slow to adopt these findings. Ironically, students now expect to consume and interact with information in ways that are consistent with what these sciences have been telling us for decades. The drivers of higher completion rates and stronger employment outcomes is also driving these changes.