New infographic reveals interesting comparisons between traditional and online learning

online-learning-infographicWhen talking about higher education, it’s hard not to run into a discussion on what’s really better for student learning: online learning or offline learning? Of course, the key is to offer both, and potentially emphasize blended learning as the less polarizing option, but if we were to look at bare bones facts about the two modes of learning, how are they the same? Different?

According to a new infographic provided by Get a Real Degree, a website dedicated to helping potential students find an online degree from a “real” school, there are more similarities between offline and online learning than you may think.

“Some argue that traditional learning is better because is the only way to maintain a fluid and solid learning process,” said the website. “However, students seem to prefer the online learning model and in most cases obtain better results (when comparing the same courses online vs. offline models). The cost is another important factor. Online degrees can be up to 80 times less expensive than traditional degrees. This is a universal rule, but this can be a decisive point for the student’s choice.”

Sources for these facts come from The New York Times, College Data, Business Insider, the U.S. Department of Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and more.

(Next page: 6 facts about online vs. offline learning)

[Listed in no particular order]

1. 51% of college administrators said there was “no difference” between online education and traditional classroom education. However, only 16.5% said online education was “superior.”

2. On average, online students test almost 10 percentiles lower than traditional classroom students. Online students test at the 59th, while classroom students test at the 50th.

3. Online degrees can be 80 times less expensive than traditional degrees. The average total cost of an online degree is $30k, compared to the average traditional degree at $85k.

4. One of the most widely held belief is that online learning attracts students more interested in skill-based degrees. However, the most popular bachelor degrees are extremely similar between online and offline learners. Both online and traditional students choose the most degrees in business, psychology, elementary education, and nursing. The only degrees that differ are accounting for traditional degrees and health administration for online degrees.

5. In 2003, there were only 1.8 million online students. In 2011, there were 6.1 million students. The infographic speculates that this may be due to the problems associated with commuting: 55% of students in the U.S. who skip traditional class say they do so because of a “lengthy commute.”

6. The problem of retention isn’t just an online one: 59% of traditional students claim that lectures are becoming increasingly “unengaging.”

(Next page: Infographic)

Link to the original infographic and its embed code:


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