By: Jenny Alejandra Hernández
Ciudad de México, México
[Courtesy of EVANZA, a Blackboard Partner]
After several years of continuous decline, the Universidad Latinoamericana de México (ULA) did a complete turn around to become one of the fastest growing institutions in the country, driven by the introduction of blended education programs for adults.
Evaluating the demographics of Mexico, ULA learned that 84% of the population over 25 years had no university education, which created an opportunity for a new form of education for adults who worked and wanted continue their education while maintaining their career.
So in 2008, after the ULA was acquired by Apollo Group, owner of the University of Phoenix (USA), a leader in adult education, they began designing new processes for marketing, student recruitment, student support, and teaching and learning. These efforts focused on online education that was one hundred percent focused on this particular segment.
The programs were designed as the following: A three year program was separated into 5 week segments, focusing on one subject at a time, for a total of 30 subjects or an entire degree. Additionally, 80% of the course is online and only 20% is in person, meaning that the student only attends three hours of class one day a week-in which has the ability to share knowledge and interact with his cohort and his tutor – everything else is managed online.
One of the reasons for the programs success is that students take their classes in a location that is near home or work, as there are locations distributed throughout the city, providing more flexibility of schedules and location. Even more value is created by building programs and high quality content that can be applied at work.
The growth of this program has been interesting, because it began in Mexico City (DF), but has gradually spread to the rest of the country, which has increased the number of students that benefit from the program. It has also increased because they allow students to enroll in any month of the year.
Because of these online learning programs, the ULA has achieved significant growth in Mexico and has improved the work, personal, and social lives of their students.
According to Alberto Sancho, ex-rector ULA and who was responsible for launching this initiative, the 25 and over segment of students who work and study will continue to grow at double-digit rates over the next 10 years due to the evolution of population pyramid. “Online programs and online learning are perfect for this segment that needs flexibility to meet their diverse needs,” said the ex-rector.
*Alberto Sancho, exrector ULA and now CEO of Evanza, Digital Solutions for Education.
Photographer: Uno Castillo