The 2 biggest considerations for going online

COVID-19 has put online learning in the spotlight. As more students need to turn to virtual settings to stay on track with their education, institutions pivoted to provide their courses online.
So how should your institution prepare beyond the moment to launch and grow online? Ask yourself the following questions about investment money and strategic opportunities.
How should you fund your online learning strategy?
As you prepare to launch your college’s online offerings, you’ll need to find a source of funding. Tuition streams will only gradually grow to contribute, so where can you acquire these funds? Institutions have several options:
Tap internal resources — If you have discretionary funds to use to establish online learning programs, this may be a great way to go. Much of the online program investment is needed upfront.
Leverage fundraising — Some institutions have received generous donations from forward-thinking alumni to expand favored online programs.
Borrow funds — Many institutions have pursued this path, but in today’s market securing financing may be more difficult than before.
Use partner investments — Investments from an outside educational provider like an online program management (OPM) company may fund your launch. They can work with you in multiple ways to help you meet your online goals.
Launching a meaningful online presence can require significant start-up capital and ongoing investments as you evolve and scale.
How to assess the market for your online learning programs?
Once you make the decision to launch online and find the money to do so, the next consideration becomes making sure there’s a viable market for your “product.”
46.9% of distance students now attend 5% of institutions.
You’ll want to be strategic in how you assess your opportunities and set up your programs. Here’s how:
Conduct market research — Professional market research can objectively assess student demand and shifting labor markets.
Evaluate your brand — Does your brand stand out in the market? You’ll want a solid understanding of your differentiators, strengths, reputation, culture, and ability to deliver.
Name and price your program — This attention to detail will help you establish yourself in the market and leap ahead of the competition.
To grow online you’ll want to identify niches, clarify and extend your differentiators, and invest more heavily in branding and outreach beyond traditional markets.
Explore our resources for more insights to help build your online program.

Leading students through a changing career landscape

A generation ago a career path that included playing video games was unimaginable. People didn’t own personal computers, didn’t carry connected devices wherever they went. Now the billion-dollar-a-year esports industry is no laughing matter. Some universities offer majors and courses in esports. Life has changed, and so too have the career opportunities that come with it.

Preparing students for careers of the future
The US workforce has transformed from an agricultural to a manufacturing to a services-based economy. The forces that brought about those changes disrupted lives and upended expectations about the future. While change is not a new phenomenon, how we prepare students now for twenty-first century jobs gives institutions a chance to make a positive impact.

Postsecondary education is the key to the future for high-school graduates and mid-career professionals alike. Whether learners enroll in full-time degree programs or continuing education courses, academic institutions can be leaders in the career development process by equipping their students with strong, transferrable job skills that are in demand by employers.

– Dr. Jonathan Reichental, CEO of Human Future10
What career skills will job seekers of the future need to master?
The workplace of the future will not only require job-specific skills like coding, but will require strong competence in other areas, including:
Adaptability. Because the world of work is changing, job seekers have to change with it. They’ll have to learn new skills, fill different roles, and switch jobs throughout their careers. The ability to pivot may give certain workers an edge as they are better able to take advantage of opportunities.
Life-long learning. Students need to see their education as a life-long journey and embrace learning as a necessary pursuit. Because of the changing nature of work, the skills workers begin their careers with won’t serve them until retirement. And according to researchers, today’s students can expect to have more years in the workplace than previous generations.
21st century skills. Problem solving. Critical thinking. Emotional self-regulation. These are all soft skills that help workers survive and thrive in the workplace.
By giving learners a foundation in these transferable skills — skills that are portable from industry to industry — workers will be better prepared to take advantage of opportunities in emerging careers.
Higher education that guides career development
While some types of jobs will disappear, others will take off. Postsecondary education can help students chart a career path that leads to fulfilling work over the course of their lifetimes. It can also equip students to compete in the job market by providing upskilling, certification, degrees, and training to keep students’ skills relevant and updated.
The responsibility of preparing students for the future is urgent as changes to the career landscape accelerate. Access to many of the best careers will be through postsecondary education, bringing learners at every stage — from recent high-school graduates to experienced professionals — to institutions for assistance.
Read our whitepaper, The Evolving Landscape of Career Readiness, for a deeper dive on preparing learners for careers of the future.