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Be a Trendsetter

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Be a TrendsetterI listened in on a recent Webinar about online learning. What I found interesting was the shared belief amongst the experts that the line between online and traditional education was blurring. In fact, one expert stated that traditional universities are adopting the online learning model as a way to enhance the educational benefits it provides their students. In a way, online learning is a trendsetter for education in general. This got me thinking about online learning trends I’ve been noticing and why it’s becoming such a popular choice for adults and working professionals.

Try Before You Buy

People who don’t have the time or want to fully commit to a university, at first, are instead taking education for a “test drive.” With online learning, students can enroll for one course at a time–they’re not required to take a full-time block like many traditional colleges require. Students are using this opportunity to test out a class and see if online learning is the right fit. Since top online universities like American Public University are affordable and offer flexible tuition adjustment policies; students don’t have to worry about breaking the bank to take a course to see if online learning meets their needs.

Accelerated Learning

With high unemployment and a sputtering economy, people are looking for ways to gain a competitive edge in the workplace. They’re turning to education to fill development gaps and seeking degrees, which they can complete in months, not semesters. American Public University offers students the flexibility to take courses in 16 or even 8 weeks. This flexibility is perfect for those who don’t have time for a traditional semester.

Social Media

As more people gravitate to online learning, more are also connecting to a network of students and faculty through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and more. This connectivity is creating a stronger sense of community amongst peers who share the same academic interests and career goals.

Unique Learning Needs

I talked recently to Robert Garrison who earned his undergraduate degree from American Public University and also happens to have a physical disability. He said online learning is opening more-and-more doors for students who might have otherwise experienced obstacles in traditional learning environments. Robert mentioned that online learning balances the playing field because the discussion boards allow all students an equal forum for collaboration and asking questions. Oh, and by the way, he’s also going for his master’s.


Many corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations are turning to online universities to help them develop their workforce. This in turn can help employers attract and retain top talent. Many organizations used to implement and manage their own learning management systems. Today, there’s a growing trend to instead partner with top online universities so employees can achieve their own professional development goals while adding value to the organization. It’s a win-win for everyone.

By J. Thompson
Online Learning Tips Staff

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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