As colleges implement alternative forms of education delivery, prospective students must consider the method of instruction when choosing a post‐secondary institution. The purpose of this research paper is to assess the search criteria considered most important to prospective undergraduate students and to evaluate their preference for online versus on‐campus instruction.
This paper reviews a selection of literature on college choice behavior, with special reference to on‐campus (high‐tech) versus online (high‐touch) delivery. A pilot study together with a conjoint methodology is used to measure the importance students place on method of instruction, relative to several traditional criteria.
The conjoint results identify two unique student segments (risk‐sensitive and cost‐sensitive) based on attitudes toward high‐tech versus high‐touch delivery. While the risk sensitive segment expresses strong preference for high‐touch delivery, the cost sensitive segment is open to high‐tech delivery, if the price is right.
Many studies have concluded that online education may be more suited for mature, graduate students. This study, however, identifies an undergraduate student segment with a propensity toward high‐tech education. As online technology continues to diffuse through society, prospective undergraduates are expected to become less averse to alternate means of instruction.
Although many studies have compared online versus on‐campus learning, few, if any, have examined the attitudes of prospective students applying to a post‐secondary program, having no experience with distance education. This study focuses on the needs of prospective undergraduate students, highlighting differences in attitude toward cost and risk.
Kulchitsky, J.D. (2008), "High‐tech versus high‐touch education: perceptions of risk in distance learning", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 151-167. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540810853558Download as .RIS
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