Students are warming up to virtual education, but according to a new study, they still believe it’s easier to learn in a traditional classroom.
Millennial Branding, a Generation Y consulting firm, and online marketplace Internships.com, conducted an online survey in May in which they asked 1,345 college students in the United States about their views on the future of education. The study found almost 53% of students polled agree that “online colleges are a reputable form of education,” but only 43% think an online classroom can match or surpass the quality of a traditional one.
The students polled were from a random sample among Internships.com’s millions of registered users.
About 36% of students said that online learning benefits the balance between work and class. But despite their openness, almost 78% still think it’s easier to learn in traditional classrooms than through online courses and tutorials. This split perspective could perhaps be due to the presence of technology in the classroom; about 84% claim to use laptops or desktop computers, and 19% use tablets and iPhones. About half of the students sampled view technology as necessary to education, while the other half does not.
Despite millennials’ lukewarm opinions about online education, 39% still foresee education becoming more virtual. Of the students sampled, 19% predict social media will be used to engage in the classroom in the future.
“Millennials understand that the future of education is online and since they were brought up with the internet, they are prepared for that change,” said Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding, in a statement. “Education should not be a one-size-fits-all model, because everyone learns differently, regardless of age, occupation and location. More online courses should be offered to cater to those who learn better in a virtual classroom.”
But the mode of education may not be at the forefronts of students’ minds these days. Instead, they’re preoccupied with thinking about post-grad employment, since millennials are finding a tough time landing jobs.
About 52% of students polled said that more access to internships would help them better prepare for the working world. Just over two-thirds of the students said they would even participate in a virtual internship. Some students believed that having mentors and career advisor support would also prepare them better for the working world.