Woman taking a real estate course on a laptop computer

The Future of Online Real Estate Education

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

Online learning platforms have revolutionized professional education, including real estate licensing and continuing education. Students are attracted to the convenience of an online learning platform that allows them to complete their education anywhere they have a connection, on a much less rigid schedule than classroom training allows for. Meanwhile, schools are able to forego many of the overhead expenses and burdens that come from offering 100% of their education in a traditional classroom.

As part of Dearborn’s 2017 State of the Real Estate Education Industry research report, we reached out to real estate educators to gauge their opinions on the role online learning plays in today’s real estate education marketplace, as well as how they see that role changing in the future.

Online vs. Live Today and in the Future

To establish some baseline metrics, we asked our 318 real estate educators a few questions about their current online product offering. What we learned suggests that online education has been widely adopted among real estate educators, and it is expected that this adoption will grow in the future:

  • 61% of the schools we surveyed currently offer at least some of their education online.

  • 17% of educators surveyed say their school currently offers at least 75% of their education in an online learning platform.

  • On average, respondents currently offer 28% of their education online. But five years from now, schools collectively anticipate 44% of their course offering will be online.
  • Even among schools that currently offer no online education, there is a belief that 24% of their education will be offered via the web in five years.

Varieties of Online Courses Offered

We then wanted to understand what type of online education schools were offering, and what factors affect a real estate school’s likelihood to offer specific types of online courses to students.

  • 89% of all schools surveyed, regardless of the number of students served annually, offer live in-person classes or review sessions. But those numbers shift when you start to talk about online education.

  • 72% of schools that serve 500 or more students annually offer text-based online courses, while just 31% of schools that serve less than 100 students per year offer online text-based courses.

  • The parity gets even more extreme when we look at video-based online education. 32% of schools serving 500 or more students annually offer on-demand video courses, compared to just 10% of schools serving less than 100 students annually.

  • Interestingly, with regards to live online or virtual real-time classes, the gap narrows a bit. Similar to on-demand video courses, 32% of the schools serving 500 or more students offer live online courses. But 15% of schools serving less than 100 students report offering this hybrid type of course.

Challenges Associated with Adopting an Online Offering

Later in the survey, we asked real estate educators to detail the biggest challenges they’re facing today as a real estate school, and the challenges they think they will be facing five years from now. The answers to these questions illuminate the reasons some schools have historically been slow to adopt online education, and the potential issues they see with it in the future.  

  • 10% of the survey respondents say two key hurdles keeping them from adopting online education are (1) the rapidly changing landscape of technology; and (2) students’ high and evolving expectations for an online education experience.

  • On a related note, 69% of respondents report that offering online materials that are interactive enough to engage students so they retain key concepts is at least somewhat challenging.

  • 22% of respondents feel that the gap between the students’ needs or expectations from an online learning experience and what they are conceivably able to offer will continue to be a major issue in the future.

Free Download: 2017 State of the Real Estate Education Industry Report

We talked to over 300 real estate educators across the country to get learn more about what and how you are teaching, where you see the industry going, how you’re spending your marketing budget, and what challenges you’re facing. We compiled the results in this free report.

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