CHLOE 8: Student Demand Moves Higher Ed Toward a Multi-Modal Future


Student demand for online and hybrid learning continues to grow, and institutions are working hard to find their footing in this post-pandemic environment.

The eighth installment of the Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE) report, produced by Quality Matters™ and Eduventures®, offers an overview of the current state of online learning in higher education as well as insights into its future development. The report was compiled by surveying chief online officers (COOs) — the professionals best situated to assess the current state of this ever-developing field — at U.S. two- and four-year colleges and universities.

The majority of survey participants report increased student demand for online and hybrid learning juxtaposed with decreased demand for face-to-face courses and programs. Most participants also say that their institutions are aligning or working to align their strategic priorities to meet this demand. Notable findings from the 50+-page report include:

  • Face-to-Face enrollment is stagnant or declining. Fifty-seven percent of COOs report stagnant enrollment of traditional undergraduates in face-to-face programs, and another 24% report declining or sharply declining face-to-face numbers. Adult undergraduate and graduate student face-to-face enrollment show even greater declines.
  • Online and hybrid enrollment is growing. COOs report either growth or strong growth for fully online and hybrid programs (36% and 20%, respectively).
  • Institutions are quickly aligning their strategic priorities to meet online/hybrid student demand. Approximately 50% of COOs confirm that their present strategic plans and resource allocations support a greater emphasis on online and multi-modal learning but that many face resource constraints. Another 36% indicate that a reconsideration of strategic priorities is currently underway.
  • “Quiet” quality assurance. While 60% of COOs report that their institutions do QA benchmarking for online courses and programs, and 64% say they do QA for online teaching and technical support for students, less than 15% communicate to students that they are doing so, potentially missing valuable opportunities to improve student success and enrollment/retention rates.

The report was made possible through the support of the CHLOE Advisory Panel; Platinum sponsor iDesign; Gold sponsors Archer, and JoVE; and Affiliate Sponsor the Online Learning Consortium.

The principal authors of the report are Richard Garrett (Encoura Eduventures Research) and Dr. Bethany Simunich (Quality Matters) with Senior Editor Dr. Ron Legon (Quality Matters) and Contributing Editor Dr. Eric Fredericksen (University of Rochester).  

Download CHLOE 8: Student Demand Moves Higher Ed Toward a Multi-Modal Future