Dear Commons Community,
Online education is seen as relatively positively by Americans for giving students a wide range of curricula options and for providing good value for the money. However, Americans tend to think it provides less rigorous testing and grading, less qualified instructors, and has less credence with employers compared with traditional, classroom-based education. In a Chronicle of Education article entitled, Traditional Education Beats Online in Key Areas, reporter Scott Carlson comments:
“We’re years into the era of online education, and yet Americans still hold a skeptical view of online learning’s quality and value to employers, according to the results of a Gallup survey released today.
In early October, Gallup asked two groups (see Survey Methods at the end of this posting), each composed of more than 1,000 adults, whether they thought “online education is better” in a series of categories. In terms of “providing a wide range of options for curriculum” and “good value for the money,” online education got slightly better scores than traditional classroom-based education.
But online education scored much worse in four areas: in delivering “instruction tailored to each individual,” in providing “high-quality instruction from well-qualified instructors,” in offering “rigorous testing and grading that can be trusted,” and—finally, worst of all—in dispensing “a degree that will be viewed positively by employers.”
Only a third of the respondents rated online programs as “excellent” or “good,” while 68 percent gave excellent or good ratings to four-year colleges and universities, and 64 percent gave such ratings to community colleges.”
I am not surprised by the results of this poll. Online learning has consistently been viewed as a positive and important means for expanding access to an education. On the other hand, its learning effectiveness and perceived educational benefits have always been research and debated without consistent agreement. Issues and questions related to retention rates and whether online is successful for certain types of well-organized and disciplined students have persisted.
Results from the Oct. 3-6, 2013, Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±4 percentage points.
Results from the Oct. 5-6, 2013, Gallup poll are based telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,025 national adults, aged 18+ living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±4 percentage points.