OCLC, the computer library service and research organization, today released At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries, the latest in a series of OCLC Membership Reports designed to explore emerging trends that impact libraries and librarianship. The report is available for download at http://www.oclc.org/
“OCLC market research has tracked the perceptions of information consumers for more than a decade. Much has changed in the environment over that time. We have seen Google change search habits and Amazon change buying habits. We are now watching online learning services and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) change the landscape and expectations for education and learning,” said Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing, and principal contributor to OCLC Membership Reports.
At a Tipping Point looks at the views of online learners—their concerns about the cost of higher education, their experiences with online learning, and their expectations for more convenient, life-based education models in the future.
“The pressure is mounting on traditional models of learning. We see evidence in the research that we may be reaching a tipping point in how consumers think about and would like to manage their education,” said Ms. De Rosa. “Students and parents are eager for more convenience and more options in how they learn—they favor convenience over structure, self-service over predefined options. Students of all ages are having success with online learning and, like most services that have moved onto the Web, consumers expect these new services to continue to improve in quality and increase in popularity.”
Changes to education and online learning have implications and opportunities for libraries. “The same digital forces reshaping education will reshape library users’ expectations, on our campuses and across our communities,”
At a Tipping Point provides data on consumer attitudes and perceptions about online learning and MOOCs. The report also includes data about parents’ and students’ perceptions of campus life and their use of libraries—both at the library and online.
The report concludes with some thoughts for strategic consideration and action for libraries.
“As consumers’ needs and preferences shift, libraries have new opportunities to deliver both services and convenience that will increase impact and grow relevance to online learners,” said Ms. De Rosa.