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Recruiting Intelligence

Classroom Instruction: Who Needs It?

Ask Borders Books If You Can Ignore the Growth of Online Instruction
“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” as the quote goes by Yogi Barra & Niels Bohr. We appreciate Ambient Insights' bold predictions and global perspectives on future developments in the education sector. The company provides a rich library of research reports and we have reviewed the publicly available reports. The presented data is based on a report 2012 Learning Technology Research Taxonomy, updated in August 2012.

In a two-part series, Intead Insights is going to look at Ambient's predicted long-term shifts in physical teaching locations and teaching methods over the next decade. We are starting by looking at the PreK-12 segment since we believe that the adoption in this age group will have signficant implications for future college environments and student and parent expectations. Students, who are comfortable and experienced using online teaching and learning, will be much more willing to accept and adopt that learning environment in the future.

Graph 1 describes the overall drivers of adopting new learning technologies. The researchers are making the point that internationally a country's educational policies are of more important than a country's technical readiness when it comes to the adoption of learning technology. Here are two examples from a long list of country examples in the report: the Chinese government's goal is to have their entire population of 200 million students online by 2020. The Korean government mandated that instructional content in all primary and secondary schools must be digital by 2015.

Graph 1: International Catalysts Driving Adoption of Learning Technology in the Global PreK-12 Segment

According to Abient, "100 % of the U.S. schools have access to internet-enabled computers with a computer-to-student ratio fo 3 to 1. Essentially, every student in the US uses at least one PC-based product every year inside the classroom. Language learning and math are the dominant topics." Physical classroom instruction will continue to be the dominant instructional location, but the number of home schooled children is expected to grow to 5 million or almost 10 % of all PreK-12 students. Even more more dramatic, the number of PreK-12 students expectd to attend at least one online class within the existing school system will grow to more than 6 million. The report points out that almost 20% of all US students will be taking one or more online classes by 2016. See Table 1 below for a few other significant predictions for your rising college students.

Source: Ambient Insight. Extrapolated from US Department of Education's National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) – 12 month unduplicated headcount in Title IV in millions

The implication is that online learning will be rapidly evolving into an accepted learning style, putting pressure on existing college and university business models within the next decade. From our perspective, shifting 10 to 20 percent of potential students to alternative learning channels will have signficant implications for existing institutions of higher education. Amazon didn't kill ALL the book stores by taking 50% of their customers. The bookstores still standing are fewer and have had to shift how and where they make their money.

What we've seen throughout history: businesses, including educational institutions, are threatened by small shifts since revenue declines often start a dangerous spiral of savings measures which then reduce necessary investments in the future. The result is a less competitive institution.

Clearly finding operational efficiencies (cost savings) is important to any business. However, these continual savings measures are the beginning of decline for those unable to find a way to invest and grow in other areas. Again, think about the bookstores. Is that a threat for your institution?

Next week, we will be looking at these same trends in higher education institutions.


Topics: Insights