Students have growing curiosity about online education and the role that technology can play in improving schooling. But when it comes to their day-to-day experience, they still prefer the traditional classroom model. A recent survey from the Generation Y consulting firm and the online marketplace Internships.com found that younger people still believe that the classical classroom environment is better for learning than being taught by a teacher over the internet.
Mashable.com reports that this finding doesn't mean that today's students are leery of online education. Quite the contrary. Over 40% believed that an online institution of higher learning could provide education of the same quality as a traditional school, and the majority expressed their belief that online colleges could be just as reputable as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
About 36% of students said that online learning benefits the balance between work and class. But despite their openness, almost 78% still think it's easier to learn in traditional classrooms than through online courses and tutorials. This split perspective could perhaps be due to the presence of technology in the classroom; about 84% claim to use laptops or desktop computers, and 19% use tablets and iPhones. About half of the students sampled view technology as necessary to education, while the other half does not.
Mashable characterizes the millenials' opinion on online education as "lukewarm," but be it as it may, nearly 40% believe that the future of higher education and even K-12 education is online. Nearly 20% believe that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will come to play a role in education in the coming years.
Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding, isn't surprised by the findings. It would instead be surprising if the generation that was brought up with technology surrounding every facet of their life was not willing to embrace its deeper penetration into the education sphere.
But the mode of education may not be at the forefronts of students' minds these days. Instead, they're preoccupied with thinking about post-grad employment, since millennials are finding a tough time landing jobs.
About 52% of students polled said that more access to internships would help them better prepare for the working world. Just over two-thirds of the students said they would even participate in a virtual internship. Some students believed that having mentors and career advisor support would also prepare them better for the working world.