Improving Higher Ed with Online Learning Platforms

Traditional education and eLearning don't have to compete — they can provide students with the best of both worlds

In the digital age, students are increasingly turning to online learning platforms to get the education they need. This has left many educational institutions scratching their heads. With so many students opting for a virtual education, how can the traditional model compete?

The answer is that institutions don’t have to compete at all. By incorporating learning platforms into their offerings, educational institutions can give students the best of all worlds. This will provide a variety of benefits for institutions and students alike.

Key Highlights

  • Learning platforms tend to save students money, help them learn more efficiently, and provide role-ready training.
  • Educators and institutions see money-saving benefits as well as new student acquisition and retention benefits.
  • Educational institutions can get the most out of learning platforms by leaning in and adopting the technology early.

Why Students Love Learning Platforms

1. eLearning costs less

Learning platforms are typically more cost-effective than a traditional education. One reason for this is that learning platforms typically have lower overhead and thus can afford to charge less. Learning platforms also offer a more precise education. Students can pay for the specific education they need without having to sign up for additional classes that aren’t central to their goals. With personalized learning on the rise, this helps meet the needs and expectations of today’s modern learners.

2. Students can customize learning paths

Educational institutions may offer certain studies that the student needs, while others are lacking. Learning platforms make it easier than ever for students to craft a custom education plan targeted to their needs. Even if a given learning platform doesn’t check every box for a student, it’s easier for them to use multiple learning platforms than to sign up for multiple schools.

3. On-demand learning is convenient

Because learning platforms operate entirely online, students can log on and pursue their education from the location of their choosing. This convenience attracts students for the same reasons employees are flocking to companies with remote-work options.

4. Scheduling is more efficient

Most learning platforms allow students to schedule their lessons however they choose. There’s no need for them to sync their calendar with an institution’s timetable. Students can also learn at their own pace without having to worry about keeping up with classmates. Plus, learning platforms allow for microlearning, which can boost lesson efficiency and retention even more.

5. Training is role-focused

The courses included on most learning platforms are developed by industry experts with ample real-world experience. These experts have the context and insights needed to help students become role-ready professionals. After completing their education, students will be able to step into their chosen careers with a greater degree of confidence.

The Benefits of Learning Platforms for Educational Institutions

1. Learning platforms reduce overhead

Learning platforms can reduce the investment required to provide quality education. This makes it easier for institutions to offer competitive fees and attract more students.

2. Platforms open doors for student acquisition

Institutions can use learning platforms as a channel for acquiring new students. While using a learning platform, students may discover that a partnered organization suits their needs and choose to enroll.

3. Technology offers adaptability

In the modern world, nothing stays static for long. Industries are constantly evolving, creating new needs and expectations in their workforces. Learning platforms can adapt to these changes more easily than traditional models can. By taking advantage of that agility, institutions can help students keep up with rapid shifts in education and professional life.

4. Educators can use platforms for targeted timing

Institutions can leverage learning platforms at ideal moments in a students’ academic careers. For example, certain courses may be especially useful close to graduation, when students are preparing to enter the job market. Other courses may make more sense earlier on. Regardless, educators and administrators can make strategic decisions about courses to surface within the platform at every step of the student journey.

5. Institutions supplement their offerings

No one institution can teach students everything. But by using learning platforms, they can do a lot more. Online courses are a great way to offer specialized training beyond the institution’s core offerings. This allows students access to a more comprehensive education.

How Institutions Can Make the Most of Learning Platforms

1. Incorporate online education

As online education grows in popularity, one thing has become clear: Learning platforms are here to stay. For traditional institutions, ignoring this rapidly building trend could mean facing a tidal wave of low-overhead, high-volume competition.

2. Become an early mover

We expect to see more and more organizations adopting learning platforms in the years ahead. The institutions that move first will likely gain a competitive advantage in the long run. This is especially true for industries with fewer options for specialized education. Institutions that offer training for niche fields could establish themselves as go-to educators for those industries.

3. View learning platforms as partners

With the right perspective, institutions and learning platforms can form mutually beneficial partnerships. For example, learning platforms can provide unprecedented, data-driven insights about educational and industry trends. Partnered institutions can use that data to optimize their own educational offerings, attracting more students. Then, those students can sign up for the institution’s associated learning platform.

4. Seize long-tail opportunities

Learning platforms open the door to new opportunities with low competition. As mentioned above, these platforms are a great way to provide specialized training for niche industries. Institutions could also offer affordable remote education options for students in underserved communities.

5. Avoid monopolies

So far, no platform has emerged as the dominant brand in the online learning space (think Amazon for e-commerce or Google for search engines). That’s good news for everyone. Markets always thrive best without monopolies, and institutions can help avoid that outcome by diversifying their partners. Rather than working with a single, one-size-fits-all learning platform, organizations should use a variety of specialized platforms. This will give students a more targeted education and prevent monopolies.

6. Cultivate long-term relationships with students

Even after graduating, many professionals use learning platforms to improve their skills and enhance their careers. By cultivating long-term relationships with alumni, institutions can remain their primary choice for professional training. For example, an institution could develop an alumni portal with personalized suggestions for which learning platforms and targeted courses will help them the most.

Learning Platforms are Central to the Future of Education

By leveraging learning platforms, educational institutions can:

  • Reduce overhead
  • Attract and retain more students
  • Adapt to evolving markets
  • Give students the well-rounded education they need
  • Improve their offerings

CFI’s University Partnership Program offers students in traditional higher education environments the opportunity to learn practical skills in finance and banking that pick up where classroom training leaves off. Learn more about becoming a CFI University Partner.

Additional Resources

Why Online Training for Finance Teams Makes Sense

Why Skills Matter More Than Degrees Do

The State of Corporate Training

See all eLearning resources

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