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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Is Online Learning a Disruptive Innovation?

Journal Cover
From Volume 39 Number 4 | July–September 2011
By Katrina Meyer

This article applies Clayton Christensen’s definition of disruptive technologies in business to the question of whether online learning is a disruptive technology in higher education. Four examples are discussed that focus on the higher education market, learning object repositories, course redesign, and course management systems, and each is evaluated for evidence of disruption. Tentative support for disruption was found in the marketplace and course redesign, but other factors (such as faculty time, institutional resources, and choice of pedagogy) are proposed as reasons for why online learning may not disrupt as proposed.

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