Why Students Like Online Learning

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

While "brick and mortar" mode of learning will never be eliminated, students are attracted to the online environment for many reasons:

  • Students can attend a course anytime, from anywhere.
  • Online can be less intimidating.
  • Course material is accessible 24/7.
  • Online learning can facilitate team learning.
  • Online course development allows for a broad spectrum of content/diversity of course material.
  • Online environment makes instructors more approachable.
  • Online learning enables student-centered teaching approaches.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics Distance Education at Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07.

  1. There were 12.2 million distance education enrollments at two-year and four-year institutions of which 9.8 million were undergraduate and 2.4 million were graduate or first-professional. Of the 12.2 million, 9.39 million were for online courses, 1.46 million were for blended courses (online/campus based), and 1.22 million enrollments were for correspondence courses.
  2. Two-thirds of all institutions offered college level, credit-granting distance education.
  3. One-third of all institutions provided degree or certificate programs that could be completed totally online.
  4. One-third of all institutions offered non-credit distance education courses.

Top 5 Factors Affecting Institutions' Decision to Offer Distance Education:

  1. Meeting student demand for flexible schedules.
  2. Providing access to college.
  3. Making more courses available.
  4. Seeking to increase student enrollment.
  5. Responding to the needs of employers/business. 

According to Steve Kolowich of The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Both public universities and two-year colleges did agree that online courses were 'critical' to their long-term strategies, while baccalaureate institutions generally refrained from ascribing them such dramatic importance.  Still, 58 percent of all colleges surveyed agreed that online courses were strategically critical."