Online Learning Update

June 24, 2011

Colleges in Crisis

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn, Harvard Magazine

The success of online competitors and the crisis among many of higher education’s traditional institutions are far from unique. These are familiar steps in a process known as “disruptive innovation” that has occurred in many industries, from accounting and music to communications and computers. It is the process by which products and services that were once so expensive, complicated, inaccessible, and inconvenient that only a small fraction of people could access them, are transformed into simpler, more accessible and convenient forms that are also, ultimately, lower in cost. We are seeing it happen more rapidly than one could have imagined in higher education, as online learning has exploded: roughly 10 percent of students took at least one online course in 2003, 25 percent in 2008, and nearly 30 percent in the fall of 2009. What is exciting about this emerging reinvention it that it has significant potential to help address the challenges facing American higher education by creating an opportunity to rethink its value proposition—its cost and quality.

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