Americans Have Mixed Feelings About Online Education

It's rated highly for value, less so for rigor and quality

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Americans are on the fence about online education, with positive feelings about its value but skepticism about overall quality.

Roughly a third of Americans think online education provides a wider range of curriculum options and good value for the money compared to classroom-based learning, according to a new Gallup poll. But when it comes to quality of instruction and rigorous testing, more than 40 percent of those surveyed said that online learning is worse than classroom-based instruction.

The worst category for online education was “Providing a degree that will be viewed positively by employers,” where only 13 percent see online as a better option and 49 percent see it as worse.

Overall, about a third of Americans rate online programs as “excellent” or “good” compared to 68 percent rating four-year colleges and universities in the same category.