In the 1990s alone, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent by the government, educational institutions and corporate America on distance education or other information technology designed to promote open learning. Of the $275 billion yearly government budget for kindergarten through high-school, $2.4 billion is spent annually on educational technology, in comparison with the $70 billion spent by higher education institutions (in the 1990s) and $90-$100 billion by corporations per year. There is a driving force behind the vast amounts being spent on education technology by all three of the above, "all are facing budget pressures and are looking for ways to improve education's return on investment" (Reinhardt 2). One such method is to provide greater flexibility and access for students via open learning.
There are many factors that help push the drive for open learning. There seem to be two main goals of most 2-year and 4-year institutions in offering open learning education technology programs. On the one hand is the desire to meet student (consumer) demand, students who are technologically savvy to a greater degree all the time and who want to enjoy the advantages of saving time, effort and costs which technology allows, "Increasing student access was an important goal for most open learning technology programs, with making courses available at convenient locations rated as very important by 82 percent of institutions, and reducing time constraints for course taking rated as very important by 63 percent of institutions. Making educational opportunities more affordable to students, another aspect of student access, was rated as very important by about half of the institutions" in a national survey (Distance Education Inů2).
Open learning philosophy is also being fueled by the desire on behalf of educational institutions to achieve a higher return on educational investment. Opening up educational product to wider ma...
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