Hybrid Education For Collegiate Aviation

Technology is changing at a rapid pace, which is pushing many other industries to adapt or face the growing threat of new innovative alternatives.  One of those industries ripe for innovation is higher education. 

In a recent survey done by Pew Internet & American Life Project on the state of higher education, 60% of respondents believed that by 2020 higher education would be drastically different from the way it is today.  The study included over 1,000 education experts and stakeholders, the majority of which believed we would see an adoption of teleconferencing, distance learning and just-in-time learning strategies.  

Last week we held our own event at the AABI semi-annual conference to discuss the disruption happening in higher education.  Out of the many topics discussed (see the full list of topics and discussions from the dinner), the movement towards online education was widely debated amongst our dinner participants  In attendance we had representatives from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kent State, Western Michigan University, Auburn University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott, CAE and Mark Nemec, the President & CEO of Adventures

Many of these educators and academic experts have been seeing an increase in the number of students fulfilling their general education requirements either online or in a more affordable setting like a community college.  With the cost of education where it is today, and the growing use of technology in the education market, students and professors have realized both the financial value and convenience of taking a portion of their education online.  

That being said, can a degree program like aviation which is so reliant on hands-on experience, adapt to the demand for online education?  Is an education facilitated online just an excuse for students to get their degree in their pajamas?  The video below provides some insight into what was debated. 

The hybrid teaching model is going to become the new norm in nearly every program discipline in higher education.  At some level there will be a mix of online learning for courses that can be taught virtually and classroom/flight time for those that have a hands-on learning componenet. This shift may seem unnatural for traditional education but it is going to be demanded by students in the market.  In reality, technology has made it possible for universities to reach a larger base of students, have a greater impact on their learning appetite, and lower the cost of higher education all while providing the same if not greater value as traditional education methods.