A few lessons of history have proven harder to learn than others, but effective organizations, large and small, public and private, frequently attribute their success to a methodical focus on the slightest of details. These organizations demand and achieve excellence through their unparalleled commitment to a high quality buying experience in increasingly consumer-driven environments.

In 2016, when students are taking online courses more than ever before, the move to online learning is an undeniable development in the field of higher education. Today’s online education marketplace, driven by the demands of 5.8 million students* taking their courses at a distance, requires institutions to be always vigilant in their approach to appealing to and serving students, adopting an everything-matters, nothing-is-neutral philosophy and implementing it across all aspects of their online programs.

Marketing, recruitment, retention, instructional design, faculty and student support, and learning management systems all frame the student experience. As perceptions too quickly become facts in our rapid-pace, media-driven (traditional and social) world, it’s important for online education providers to realize that a student’s entire journey from lead to graduate can only be made pleasant through managing and attending to details in each of these functional areas. Remember, too, that customers are not always solely turned off by the major and all-too-very obvious process failures that lead to unpleasant consumer experiences. It’s often the overall lack of attention to minute but critical details that can easily become so very apparent and unbearable for prospective students.

Achieving and exceeding enrollment goals is not a chance occurrence or simply good fortune but instead it is a result of hard work and dedication to detail. As the world watched the Olympics in Rio last month, we witnessed the athletic accomplishments of perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time in Michael Phelps. Had you been paying attention, you would also be aware of his great commitment to detail in his preparation for winning his twenty-eighth Olympic medal. Phelps, though unequalled in his accomplishments, was aided by the wisdom of his coaches and the experience of those who came before him. To build his endurance and strength and ensure his success, he reportedly swam in practice regularly using parachutes, fins and surgical tubing attached to his body. He was old enough and wise enough to appreciate that, though he had come far with his own body, he needed help to refine the details of his technique that would lead him to reach the goals he had set for himself.

The Babson Survey Research Group’s Online Report Card Tracking Online Education in the United States, released earlier this year, documents a total 5.8 million fall 2014 distance education students, composed of 2.85 million taking all of their courses at a distance and 2.97 million taking some, but not all, courses at a distance. More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 5,828,826 students and a 2014‐to‐2015 increase of 217,275). Is your institution focused and prepared to navigate the details and challenges that are surely around the corner as online enrollments continue their upward trend?

Click here to read a few case studies about Emerge Education’s successful clients and here for a list of all our online program management and other client partnerships.


G. Scott McQuinn
Vice President for Business Operations and Client Success

Scott works in collaboration with our clients and our own knowledgeable teams to design and implement successful partnerships. He draws from 25-years of broad professional experience and a solid reputation for building strong client relationships.

*Online Report Card Tracking Online Education in the United States, I. Elaine Allen, Ph.D. Professor of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, UCSF Co-Director, Babson Survey Research Group; and Jeff Seaman, Ph.D. Co-Director, Babson Survey Research Group Copyright ©2016 by Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC.

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