Study conducted by Babson Survey Research Group, and sponsored by Pearson, highlights opportunities and challenges of on-line learning.

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More than 60 percent of academic leaders at private-sector colleges and universities say that online learning is critical to their long-term strategies and have included it in their formal strategic plans, according to a new study conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and sponsored by Pearson Learning Solutions.

The report, "Online Learning Trends in Private-Sector Colleges and Universities," is a new analysis of the data collected for the annual Sloan Survey of Online Learning. 

"The study's findings highlight the unique opportunities and challenges that higher education leaders are currently facing. The continued growth of online learning, coupled with the federal goal of increasing the number of college graduates, underscores the need for innovative learning tools and strategies that will help all institutions implement successful, effective online programs," said Don Kilburn, CEO of Pearson Learning Solutions.

The study reveals that the perception among private-sector leaders of online learning and its impact on learning outcomes has grown more positive over time, with the majority saying online learning is the same or superior to face-to-face learning, a trend that has improved steadily since initially measured by the Sloan Survey in 2003. Three-quarters of private-sector respondents say the quality of an education at a for-profit institution is as good as at a not-for-profit institution. 

About half of private-sector institutions report increased demand for face-to-face courses and programs, and 70 percent say there is even greater demand for online courses and programs, the result of the economic downturn. Nearly three-quarters of private-sector respondents report increases in applications for financial aid. 

"Online student enrollments continue to be the fastest growing sector in higher education. Private sector colleges and universities are meeting these students' unique needs by virtue of their ability to enact rapid deployment and take full advantage of innovations and new technologies," said Dr. Anthony Pina, Dean of Online Studies for the Sullivan University System.

About Pearson
Pearson, the world's leading learning company, has global-reach and market leading businesses in education, business and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO). 

Media contact: Susan Aspey, or (800) 745-8489

About Babson Survey Research Group
The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit

By Michael Chmura,, 781-239-4549 | 04/19/2011 06:00