Online education gaining credibility in labour market: Survey

Ability to work full-time while studying key benefit
||Last Updated: 08/12/2011

Online education programs from post-secondary institutions are gaining credibility in the labour market, according to a survey by DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary.

"From a recruitment perspective, online degree programs and courses offered by post-secondary institutions have come a long way in the last five years," said Greg Quinn, vice-president of retail distribution and a hiring manager at TD Canada Trust's prairie region. "Today, technology allows for increased two-way communication, interaction and collaboration, similar to the blended learning approach that employees experience in the workplace."

Seven in 10 survey respondents believe employers see value in online education, with 49 per cent ranking online education moderately valuable and 21 per cent ranking it as highly valuable, found the survey which polled more than 500 Canadians in Alberta.

As online courses have developed over the years, employers have taken notice. Almost one-half of survey respondents (47 per cent) believe online education has become more credible over the last five years. Furthermore, 76 per cent believe current online education offerings are moderately (46 per cent) or highly credible (31 per cent).

"The findings of this survey seem to confirm that online course delivery has evolved into a critical, if not required, component of a quality post-secondary education," said Ranil Herath, DeVry Institute of Technology president.

With 23 per cent of survey respondents already having taken online courses, employers envision this percentage will increase given the advantages that online education provides over the traditional campus-only model. For example, when asked about the benefits of online education, 39 per cent said being able to work full-time while studying is a key benefit and 24 per cent said online courses are more conveniant.

"We appreciate the convenience and flexibility that online education offers our employees," said Quinn. "It means they can choose the best program for their development that fits into their personal and working life."

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