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What’s the future of online learning?

According to college students, pursuing higher education is easier in some ways – and harder in others – than it was just a decade ago.

And that’s largely due, to the evolution and growth in online learning. A new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bellevue University – The Classroom: An Online Learning Forecast – found that eight in 10 people think currently enrolled college students have access to more resources than those in the past did.

Over half pointed specifically to the greater flexibility that’s possible today thanks to online learning delivered via hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Online access to support services is really important

Online classes aren’t the only change. The survey found 54% of people said there are more resources online today, too, which help students navigate college and earn their degree.

Integrated support delivered online plays an important role. Things like online writing centers, 24/7 library and librarian services, tutoring centers, disability accommodations centers, and access to a dedicated student coach, all make a difference in whether students succeed.

It’s also important for students to be able to meet easily with faculty and instructors, as well as with other students.

Online learning helps students overcome challenges

Access to support was definitely on the minds of many survey respondents. Forty-three percent reported difficulties balancing obligations outside of their studies, 36% said they struggled finding effective ways to study and 26% encountered challenges related to being a parent or caretaker while enrolled.

In fact, 48% of people admitted there was a time when they felt they wouldn’t graduate. (See the full list of top challenges in college below.)

The reasons people like online learning

The survey data shows that online learning can work for both first-time students balancing various obligations, as well as those seeking their next career promotion or considering a career change altogether.

Among the reasons that people like online learning:

  • Easier to balance class with other obligations (54%)
  • They can study from their preferred location (53%)
  • They can learn at their own pace (49%)

Regardless of their current level of education, the top two factors that inspire people to enroll in virtual college courses are cost (39%) and availability of courses they’re interested in (38%).

People are prioritizing online learning

People’s top three factors in selecting a college originally were the programs or classes offered (29%), the cost of the school (27%) and how highly ranked the school was (27%).

One in five (21%) also prioritized colleges with a remote/online learning option.

However, two in five of respondents (41%) would use different criteria if they were to go back to school, and more than a quarter of that group (26%) said an online learning option would be top of mind.

Today, 52% percent have already taken an online class, whether for college, further education through work, or another purpose. If they were to enroll in a college course now, 45% would prefer a hybrid class, while 20% would want one fully online.

What to consider when choosing an online learning partner

People who are considering getting a degree or learning a new skill through a certificate program online should take several factors into consideration. Ask yourself:

  • Is the program affordable?
  • Does the university or school have expertise in online learning?
  • Does the institution provide integrated, comprehensive online support services?
  • Is the college or university fully accredited?
  • Is the college of university recognized by top employers across the country?


Data in this article came from a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bellevue University from Aug. 29 to Sept. 6, 2023, with a sample of 1,000 general population Americans and 1,000 college students.

People's Top Challenges in College

●     Balancing school and other obligations

●     Financing my education

●     Staying on top of my schoolwork

●     Finding effective ways to study

●     Deciding which classes to take

●     Commuting to and from class

●     Budgeting

●     Deciding a major

●     Relationship issues

●     Relationship issues with roommates

●     Being a parent/caretaker

●     Managing my physical health

●     Managing my mental health

●     Homesickness















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