The Online Distance Learning Series – Place


Welcome to the next instalment in our Online Distance Learning (ODL) blogs, where we’ll be looking into each part of our recent national research project. This research provides a comprehensive overview of ODL in the UK and the findings (from our panel of 3,500) highlight key areas of focus across the entirety of the student journey. Our original blog and link to white paper can be found here.

In this blog series, we’ll cover what we found and what this information means. From our national report, we mapped our research against the 7Ps of the marketing mix and each of our blogs in this series will focus on one of the Ps.

Here we’ll be focusing on Place. When it comes to the decision-making of a student interested in face-to-face learning, place is always a key factor. How far is too far from home? Are the bright lights of the big city calling or the smaller towns with the cosy atmosphere? So, when it comes to online learning, you wouldn’t think place would become a huge factor in the decision. Yet, it’s one of the top 7 most influential themes we discovered. Did you know that approximately half of online learners value the physical location of their institutions?

Perhaps it is a comfort blanket, a safety net in knowing that their university does exist, that their courses will take place, and if they have any problems, they can go in person to fix them. When a student is making the financial investment in their future, having an online provider with a physical campus can feel reassuring and give a sense of ‘realness’ to their university experience.

For some people, the joys of studying online but also being able to use the onsite facilities is an influential factor. It’s obviously a proposition that’s exclusive to more traditional universities and not online only providers. So yes, the campus locations add value to a student experience.

In terms of the learning experience whilst some students value their one-to-one meetings with tutors, most online learners are satisfied with the range of interactive digital options available.

This is a just brief snapshot of the comprehensive insight you’ll get from the rest of this series, as our report takes a thorough look at each of the 7Ps and dissects them. If you’d like to learn more about our ODL report, you can download the white paper here.