New visual map tool helps online schools find students

A new interactive map breaks down big data in order to help online schools find the right online students for them

map-potential-studentsAs online distance education continues to grow, it has become increasingly difficult for many institutions to determine where they can find new online students in need of their services.

However, thanks to a new interactive map developed by Hanover Research, that problem can now become a thing of the past. Using the National Center for Education Statistics‘ (or NCES) recently published distance education enrollment data, the new map is the first of its kind to visually break down that big data into actionable information.

Both the need to break down big data in tangibly useful ways and the need to better identify potential new online students have been major areas in distance education that required improvement moving forward, so for those reasons especially, the new map is being touted as truly innovative.

The new map ensures that post-secondary institutions can see how well online students are being catered to both in their own states and elsewhere around the country, with the aim of allowing distance educators to determine more effective strategies for their institutions through the extrapolation of legitimate insight from the high volume of data now that it is visualized.

The ability to visualize this data greatly enhances market research, says the Hanover, as institutions can now better understand how much they are competing with other schools in their state, as well as nationwide institutions, through discovering where distance education students live. Similarly, if they now find there is a shortfall of students enrolling in online institutions within their own state or even in other states, they can redouble their marketing efforts and send representatives to under-served areas that have the most interested students.

By not taking a shot in the dark, online institutions will be able to develop better recruiting strategies as well as save time and money that can then be reallocated back into enhancing their intuitions, explains Hanover.

Aside from these sweeping improvements that the map aims to accomplish, it has also unearthed some interesting trends when it comes to leadership in online distance education.

(Next Page: Learn more about the interactive map and what it revealed)

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