Crown College: An Emerging Leader in Online Education
Crown College recently collaborated with an independent research firm, Aslanian Market Research, to assess the behavior of adult learners and their use of online degree programs. The findings, published in an article titled “The New Classroom” in the Fall 2011 issue of The Bridge alumni magazine show that as online learning formats go, Crown’s Adult & Graduate Studies (AGS) Program has a bright future at the forefront of online education.
Over the past 20 years, the delivery of higher education has changed dramatically. According to Carol Aslanian and Susan Baer who co-authored the article, today, nearly 30 percent of college and university students take at least one online course and 10 percent take courses entirely online. Moreover, the growth rate of online programs is far outpacing the overall growth rate of higher education in general. For example, college and university enrollment overall is projected to grow at a rate of two percent, while online only programs are projected to grow 21 percent in the same time period.
The article goes on to present how adult learners seem to be seizing online learning opportunities more rapidly than any other segment. Approximately 45 percent of graduate students and 60 percent of undergraduates, age 24 and older, take at least one online course. Quite simply this is because adult students require the flexibility and convenience online programs provide to balance work, families and other commitments with earning a degree or credential. In fact, Aslanian and Baer report, that 60 percent of adult online learners are working full time and 23 percent have part-time jobs. Women make up a majority of the population at nearly 70 percent, with a median age of 37, and many have one or more children under the age of 18 living with them.
Adult learners are not only attracted to the convenience of not having to travel but they are also interested in shorter terms. According to the study, of the adult learners polled, close to 50 percent of undergraduate adults and more than half of those pursuing graduate study seek programs that last eight weeks or less, like Crown’s online MBA or the BS in Psychology/Counseling, both offered through Crown’s AGS online programs.
Aslanian has been following the online education trend for many years and notes that the majority of adult students view an undergraduate or graduate degree as a critical step for their careers. This is also evident in the choice of subjects that undergraduate and graduate are seeking online. For example, business, health professions and education combined, top the list at 69 percent of the total online degrees being pursued.
And finally, the article touches on the benefits of online education for the military, siting that more than 32,000 U.S. soldiers from 50 countries, four U.S. territories, and all 50 states, participate in the eArmyU program launched in 2001.
By studying current trends, Crown is able to offer quality online programs that adult learners seek and garner recognition for doing so, as evidenced by a recent national ranking in the Top 10 Online Christian Colleges & Universities of 2011 by TheBestColleges.org. The AGS programs are characterized by “exemplary student satisfaction indicators, a low student-to-faculty ratio and relatively competitive admissions [which helps] Crown College stand out from the crowd of online Christian colleges.”
Carol Aslanian is the Executive Vice President of Aslanian Market Research and has conducted market research studies for hundreds of universities.
Susan Baer is a research project manager at Aslanian Market Research.