Navigating Higher Education’s Shifting Landscape: Trends and Strategies

by Dan Janick


The higher education landscape is changing rapidly, with more and more students choosing to learn online. This trend is fueled by several factors, including the convenience and flexibility of online learning, the increasing affordability of online programs, and the growing demand for skills that can be learned online. According to the EduVentures CHLOE 8: 2023 Online Enrollment Report, 71% of respondents reported an increase in online enrollment in 2022, while 56% reported an increase in hybrid program enrollment.1 Students with diverse needs and busy lives are looking to universities to provide them with the means to pursue their education on their own terms.


Institutions are not only recognizing this growing demand but are also taking action to align their strategic priorities accordingly to support the growing online student demand. The CHLOE survey findings confirm that universities are adapting to this new reality by realigning their strategies, stating that 83% of Chief Online Officers at US universities believe that online education is a key strategic priority for their institution.

A recent survey by the American Council on Education (ACE) also found that 93% of colleges and universities plan to offer more online programs in the next five years.2 Additionally, recent research conducted by Deloitte indicates that online education is essential to the future success of higher education institutions.3 This adaptability is a testament to higher education’s commitment to providing accessible and flexible learning pathways.

Students with diverse needs and busy lives are looking to universities to provide them with the means to pursue their education on their own terms.

Driving Institutional and Student Success

Based on Elsmere’s experience helping universities launch and grow online programs since 2012, we know firsthand the operational challenges that exist between identifying the online opportunity and delivering successful online student outcomes. These challenges begin with engaging students when they initiate their search for education opportunities and continue all the way to graduation.In our experience, technology, along with well-structured processes and an agile orientation, play an equally important role in engaging students during their educational research and application phase and in supporting their needs throughout their program. In addition, ensuring successful student outcomes involves more than interacting directly with students. Enabling staff to perform their duties effectively and efficiently is also essential to student success and fulfillment of the institutional mission.We see the following operational elements as critical to driving success for students and institutions in the online realm:
  • Omnichannel marketing and modern prospective student journeys adapted to changing technologies and student expectations, including digital engagement, personalization, and various communication channels based on students’ preferences.
  • Seamlessly integrated software solutions, allowing staff to work within a single platform and eliminating the need for time-consuming manual data downloads and compilations. We utilize Salesforce as the hub of our curated technology ecosystem, which we integrate with numerous communications tools and on-campus systems (ATS, SIS, LMS).
  • Structured business processes aligned with the chosen software platforms, generate consistently high-quality data and boost staff productivity through automation.
  • Most importantly, a data-centric orientation and a culture of transparency together improve decision-making.
We’re the first to admit we don’t have all the answers. The marketplace will continue to change based on the needs of students, the desires of employers, and the responsiveness of institutions. We will continue to learn from our own experience and through interactions with leaders across the higher ed spectrum. Unlike the frustrations we hear from our on-campus colleagues, we’re energized by these ever-changing dynamics and highly motivated to continue our pursuit of unlocking the power of learning to transform lives.For more information on how Elsmere Education can assist your institution in driving innovation and making a lasting impact, please explore our services here. Together, we can navigate the evolving higher education landscape and drive meaningful change for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Dan Janick is the Chief Executive Officer of Elsmere Education. Having served in various executive, board, and advisory roles over his 30-year career, Dan is an experienced leader who aligns people and resources with mission and values to bring about organizational success.

Through his prior leadership experience at Academic Analytics, LLC and SignalPath, LLC, Dan has helped technology companies scale effectively and positively impact the higher education and research communities.


  • 1EduVentures CHLOE 8: 2023 Online Enrollment Report
  • 2American Council on Education (ACE): Digital Learning Imperative: Driving Innovation in Higher Education
  • 3Deloitte Insights: The Future of Online Education (2023)


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