UCLA Higher Ed Survey: Online Classes Now Start Earlier Than Ever

online classes school
Written by Larry Press

A new UCLA survey shows incoming freshman are online learning veterans — on their own initiatives, too. Here’s what that means for the future of education.

aNewDomainlarry-press-anewdomain — An intriguing survey just out from the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute shows that an overwhelming number of high school students now are taking online classes on their own initiative.

The most recent survey polled incoming college freshman.

As a college professor and a writer covering online education, I pulled two questions from the survey to focus on. They were:

  1. Have you used an online instructional website (e.g., Khan Academy, Coursera) as assigned for a class?
  2. Have you used an online instructional website (e.g., Khan Academy, Coursera) to learn something on your own?

Check out the table below. It displays the percent of incoming freshmen who answered those questions with “occasionally” or “frequently.”

ucla survey online classes

The numbers present three striking things.

First, it’s clear students aren’t waiting for school prompts to pursue online classes. They’re doing it all by themselves in high numbers.

Second, the students that attend historically black colleges take more online courses than other schools.

Third, there’s a clear trend that online classes are increasing in popularity. Whether on their own accord or at a school’s requirement, online classes are being utilized by a large percentage of incoming freshman.

I wrote a post after the survey came out last year, and it raises many of the same questions. Will we see online classes continue to be an avenue for independent learners and in four-year institutions and high school? Why do the historically black colleges have higher numbers for online coursework?

My grandson took a break from Minecraft to complete Khan Academy algebra 2 before starting high school. But the key question here is what does this mean for the future of education?

To the right see my grandson, who took a break from his Minecrafting to complete a Khan Academy course on Algebra 2. T

hat was the summer before starting high school. I wonder how early we’ll see online courses in the future? Elementary? Preschool?

I’m betting on it.

For aNewDomain, I’m Larry Press.

Ed: A version of this story ran on Larry Press’ CIS 471Read it here.

All images courtesy Larry Press.

Featured image: Final Exams by DcJon via Flickr