Published on 2013/04/03

Enrollment Strategies for Hybrid Graduate Programs: A Base Model for Efficiency

Enrollment Strategies for Hybrid Graduate Programs: A Base Model for Efficiency
Traditional, in-class programming does not afford students the opportunity to use their learning into real-life settings. Hybrid programs may well be the answer.

Graduate distance learners have chosen their educational path based on many factors, including quality of experience offered, future plans, feasibility, flexibility and overall program structure. Be it that their backgrounds are distinct from online programs or that they need a change in the particular educational requirements, they have noted all opportunities and made a choice.

A Comparative Model

Students are increasingly looking for “the best bang for their buck.” Many schools are now offering new studies and degrees in fields that have never been offered before. Since this is the case, why don’t all schools offer these new programs at the same cost? Now, this seems very simple for admissions departments to implement, but it is a complex undertaking.

For instance, students who desire to work in a more tech-savvy industry will look for programs that enhance their networking and technological skills through virtual learning. Students who look to enhance their international relations will look for programs that may include study abroad trips and discussions of political views. Students who look for the online capability, but with physical meetings, will look into hybrid programs. These programs are essential for all institutions since they help create new learning environments for students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn such topics. They also help build skills and performance metrics for students seeking employment in the professional world.

A Change in Platform, An Increase in Enrollment

More than ever, there has been a dire need for students with interdisciplinary backgrounds in the workforce. This is mainly because most jobs need professionals with advanced skills in multiple fields.

To assist individuals seeking these careers, institutions will need to keep up to date on content that enhances skills and performance. Virtual and hybrid programs are not being offered in every institution; thus, their implementation in an institution could help to increase its reputation. The feasibility and financial cost to implement these programs is minimal while the gain or return on investment is large. This change is needed for institutions, since employers are increasingly expecting potential employees to have these skills on hand when they apply for work.

Institutions need to have the capability to offer many programs at once, both virtually and physically, in order to maintain and sustain the student body they currently have. To create this, institutions need to have an “Action Based Research Plan” that incorporates both the academic and the working side of careers. The hybrid model is a proven plan that works in both environments and can be used in various locations for any institution.

The Findings

Hybrid programs help introduce students to new studies and incorporate real-life studies into academic settings, while bringing the mentor or professor closer to the student. These new standards assist in many ways and can help increase the student retention and enrollment for any institution that seeks to use technological changes.

Hybrid programs are what some call a “new creation” or “an adaptation” to the educational world. These programs are currently underutilized, which brings a meaningful doubt to institutions that currently use them. When there is doubt in a particular program, there is also a leading thought that the platform is underutilized and there is low enrollment. A change can be adapted so that enrollment for institutions can be higher and so that they can attract students to studies that will assist them academically and professionally.

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Readers Comments

Stacy Hexner 2013/04/03 at 11:50 am

Another interesting aspect to consider is whether higher education institutions should be solely responsible for all elements of a hybrid program.

Are there, perhaps, components that could be meted out to third-party providers or delivered through innovative private-public partnerships? If so, this might encourage greater up-take of hybrid programming among smaller institutions that may not feel they have the resources and/or expertise to transition by themselves to a hybrid model.

    Dustin Bessette 2013/04/10 at 11:00 am

    Stacy,

    I agree with you. When it comes to third party advocates, it is simply a matter of what organization the institution wants to add into their core curriculum. With this being said, institutions need to add in and see what specific metrics they can use to record performance for this hybrid model. It is only when positive results are obtained that metrics resulting in increasing enrollment can be sustained. This end result will help power the programs within the institution, create a justification for enrollment, and also assist with career development for students.

Jim Buccelli 2013/04/03 at 1:38 pm

Employers are increasingly looking for employees who have tangible skills, backed by theoretical knowledge, and who can “hit the ground running.” Universities that are quick to adapt their programs to deliver on these objectives will benefit in this new economy. We’re already seeing this with smaller institutions that put an emphasis on technical skills-based programming, and demand is certain to grow.

    Dustin Bessette 2013/04/10 at 11:12 am

    Jim,

    This makes perfect sense. There are many universities who are starting to imply a new demand for professionals who have various tangible skills. These professionals have an upper hand on those who don’t posses these skills based that many current and new jobs are beginning to require new knowledge and skills.

    Even community colleges are beginning to use these hybrid models to suffice new students into their programs. Looking at this from the students perspective, they are obtaining new skills and tangible results at a low cost. Its a good choice for anyone looking to hone in their skills for new employment.

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