Gallup has just released it first poll done on American attitudes toward online education: http://www.gallup.com/poll/165425/online-education-rated-best-value-options.aspx. And, while some of the results may be in line with expectations for those of us in the field, others are surprising.
Overall, Gallup found that online education rated higher when compared to bricks-and-mortar schools for value and a broad range of learning options/opportunities. And, the survey found that that online education rated lower for respondents in “quality of instruction” and individualization of instruction.
To me, the interesting thing is that even in the fields where the general public perceives online education (overall) as a lower quality option, large percentages of Americans viewed online education more positively — 11-23%, depending on the question — and even larger numbers viewed them to “be the same” — 31-42%.
Both of these are higher than I was expecting. To have pluralities of Americans say, for each question asked, that online education is better or the same seems to be a radical shift of perceptions, and might signal greater acceptance and growth with a “mainstream” audience.
My hope is that Gallup continues this survey on an annual basis so that we can see how attitudes truly shift.