EAIE2014 (VI). Should your institution join the online exodus?

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Should your institution join the online exodus?
Chair: Carl Holmberg, ICDE – International Council for Open and Distance Education, Norway

Technology disrupted education in general, but most especially distance education, which embraced ICTs to enhance interaction, delivering content, etc.

On the other hand, campus-based universities began to extend their action by using e-learning, virtual campuses, etc. thus creating blended learning.

The pervasive and increasingly intensive usage of ICTs of the new generations of students is creating a new type of student that learns from home —distance learner— or from anywhere —mobile learner—, somehow forcing universities to bring together distance education and traditional education. Thus, blended learning is becoming the norm.

Chripa Schneller, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, Germany

“Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning“ project.

71% of higher education organizations already provide some kind of distance education, plus a 9% of organizations that are 100% distance education universities. Distance education is not a marginal activity, and it has been adopted for many reasons, many of them related with pedagogical purposes like providing better methodologies, leveraging the potential of technology, etc.

Distance education is mainly provided at the masters level (56%) or in single courses (26%), and just rarely at the bachelors level (12%).

  • Why do institutions deliver distance education?
  • To provide more flexible learning opportunities (83%).
  • Demand from (potential) students (43%).
  • To attract adult learners (40%).
  • To experiment with innovative pedagogy (34%).
  • To reduce costs (11%).

Barriers to online teaching and learning:

  • Additional effort
  • Lack of acceptance by academic staff.
  • More discipline to succeed (students).

Joran van Aart, StudyPortals, Netherlands

What is the profile of online learners?

Employment: 50% full time, 19% part time, 31% none. Main reason: combine with job or family.

Completed & current degree level: 35% have a bachelors degree and 64% are studing a/another bachelor degree.

Age is higher than on-campus universities. Only 7-8% are younger than 24y.o.

Should you join the online exodus?

  • Higher Education student numbers expected to grow fast.
  • People are looking for flexible, lifelong learning.
  • Distance Education offers flexible learning an can facilitate HE growth.
  • Many DE programmes provided by "traditional" campus-based universities.
  • University leadeship across Euopre believes DE will grow significantly.


Ismael Peña-López: will this online exodus be led by universities… or other actors? Carl Holmberg: It is very likely that this online exodus will also be populated by new actors. Their success or level of competition will depend on the conditions of the market: whether other actors have a supply that fills the demand, what is the price policy (e.g. free public education), etc.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2014) “EAIE2014 (VI). Should your institution join the online exodus?” In ICTlogy, #132, September 2014. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=4256

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