Themacforums – Analyzing the Return on Investment for Online Education. In their new book, Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education, Kathleen Ives and Deborah Seymour contend that while higher education has historically been a dependable economic engine for people and the economy, college Themacforums have long struggled to explain the value of the sector to students, parents, employers, and policymakers who are unsure about the investment.
Online education offers the ability to give students with the time, location, or medical restrictions access to the best course material and pacing. But many people still look at it critically.
In the meantime, the change from pandemic-era emergency remote teaching to innovation and investment in online teaching and learning has taken place. Since then, many people have developed an interest in comprehending the ROI of online education.
Ives and Seymour were recently questioned by Themacforums Higher Ed about why return on investment analysis is uncomfortable for many in higher education, the understanding of return on investment that exists between students and college leaders, and how ed-tech companies are helping college leaders to focus on the concept of return on investment. A corrected and condensed version of this email exchange is provided below.
Q#1: Kathleen, you claim that executing a return-on-investment analysis will necessitate making considerable changes to culture, policy, and procedures. What are some of these adjustments that must be made, and how will we gauge success?
Answer: Historically, colleges have viewed themselves as mission-driven, so it might be awkward for them to measure return on investment. The values of colleges may be threatened by a business perspective, which could cause them to become degree mills.
Colleges are concurrently dealing with rising competition from both within and outside of academia. It will take a cultural shift in which students are viewed as clients to reverse this mission-driven mindset. In order to survive, a business must satisfy its customers, or they will go elsewhere.
Policymakers and others are challenging higher education’s role in generating the workforce needed to support the economy as higher education costs and student debt soar. At the same time, companies are dubious about whether college graduates have the necessary skill sets, college enrollments are decreasing, and state governments are providing less support.
According to the presidents we spoke with for our book, policymakers might assist schools in protecting students, promoting access, and enhancing institutional and student return on investment without enacting rules that stifle innovation.
With limited resources, colleges must navigate complex technical landscapes. Typically, they lack the operational framework and ingrained skill sets necessary to institutionalize return on investment. Online college administrators can assess efforts and work toward attaining their financial and social goals by analyzing and modifying return-on-investment metrics to guide decision-making.
When online colleges adopt a return-on-investment mindset, they will advance. Many people would be unfamiliar with such a mindset, and some people might not be used to accepting or even asking for such an analysis. However, the authors of this book contend that they ought to travel with us.
They require training on best practices and language so that return on investment becomes a cornerstone of projects moving ahead. Engagement in the decision-making process will rise with a return-on-investment mindset.