When it comes to education, more programs than ever are taking place online. According to the National Center for Education statistics, over 20 percent of students are taking some form of distance education course. Students need training but they also have demanding schedules. Sometimes, they have powerful reasons they can’t move to a traditional campus. This requires colleges and universities to offer more of their programming online, tapping into a growing global online education marketplace.
But how do employers value online education as opposed to a traditional campus program? Students often wonder whether their degree or diploma will “count,” or whether they will be seen as second-rate.
The good news is that the respectability of online education is growing, which is great for students, employers, and educational institutions. Students no longer need to worry about whether their program will be taken seriously, as online education continues to become more mainstream.
Employers Realize the Worth of Online Learning
Workplaces are changing as quickly as schools. More work is taking place online, and more managers are managing entire projects in the digital world. Online education is in many ways more relevant to today’s business environment than a traditional degree or diploma program. As the quality of online education increases, the number of employers who are interested in these graduates will also increase.
As high-profile institutions rush to set up more online education offerings, the overall online education space is becoming more advantageous to employers. Digital learning is an increasingly prominent part of workplace training and professional development. Over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using some form of educational technology. This helps managers and employers understand that online education can be as inspiring and rewarding as sitting in a classroom.
New tools for interaction and evaluation also add value to online learning that lectures and seminars can’t. In most cases, outdated offices are the workplaces that value traditional degrees over new programs.
Students Are More Motivated
Employers know that students who go back to school are more motivated to gain skills and prepare for their re-entry into the workforce. When students complete their first degrees, they can easily get side-tracked by the social side of college. Many are away from home for the first time and don’t have the maturity to level up their skills.
Students who go to school online are often returning for a second degree or diploma. Most are motivated by a desire to change careers or advance in their current one. They are often more inspired to gain skills than they were the first time around. Employers know that students who are motivated enough to find time and funding for additional education are serious about taking the next step in their career.
Recruiting and Technology
Employers are increasingly using online and social tools to recruit talented candidates. Social media is an established part of how companies construct their image. Online recruitment strategies complement a college’s growing interest in online education. Online courses are even tailored specifically towards job market priorities — this means that companies can be confident knowing candidates will be well-prepared for the task ahead.
Online Learning, Real Life Earning
Online degree programs can provide training for lucrative careers in areas like business and skilled trades. As North America experiences shortages of workers in the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC industries, students are increasingly turning to online programs to prepare them for these fields. Employers value online education’s ability to train candidates for these sorts of jobs.
The U.S. economy is also experiencing structural shifts that move away from traditional careers toward more flexible job environments in new industries. Online education is filling the gap and positioning itself toward these new economic realities. Students who take courses from their home can work and take care of family — while preparing for new job opportunities. Employers know that job candidates must juggle priorities in a fast-paced world, and online education helps them do that.
In a detailed depiction of online education published in the New York Times, authors Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn write that “traditional colleges are currently on their hybrid voyage across the ocean.” Students have so many new educational options that traditional colleges are forced to adapt — providing more online options focused on real life earnings for their students.
Online education is disrupting the previous status quo, which forces colleges and employers to recognize the value of new teaching and learning methods. Students can rest assured knowing that the old stereotypes about online education are fading away. More than ever before, employers recognize the value of online degree and diploma programs.
CC Photo by Israel Byrne