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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases whitepaper on worker perceptions of online education

By Sharla Hooper

Insights by Dr. Andrew Lawlor draws on data from 2022 Career Optimism Index® study

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies announces the release of a whitepaper exploring online education as a method for meeting workers’ desire for reskilling or upskilling: “Online Education and American Workers’ Perceptions.”

Drawing upon data from the 2022 University of Phoenix Career Institute® Career Optimism Index® study, Andrew Lawlor, Ph.D., faculty with the University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies and Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR), discusses how American workers, despite the desire and a variety of opportunities present for reskilling or upskilling, have challenges with an online format for professional development. Lawlor provides a brief review of technology-mediated education, along with current modes of online instruction. In the paper, Lawlor explores the benefits and disadvantages of online education for employees and employers, as well as the barriers for employees in participation and skill attainment.

“American workers want educational opportunities for reskilling and upskilling,” states Lawlor. “Online education is appealing to employers and employees due to the cost containment, flexibility and convenience, and can meet that need, but there needs to be awareness of potential barriers as well as the ability to address and support workers in their access and success with education and upskilling opportunities.”

Lawlor's career has encompassed K-16 education, educational technology services, academic program management, institutional research support, and the role of Chief Information Officer. Currently, he is a consultant for CampusWorks, Inc., and most recently served as the Chief Information Officer at an eastern community college. Previously, he was vice president for Information Technology Services & CIO at Bucks County Community College. Prior to that, he served in several capacities at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, culminating as the Chief IT Officer.

Lawlor has focused his scholarly activity on student and faculty use of technology, the application of technology for improving institutional processes, and leadership development, and has been a faculty member with the University of Phoenix since 2004.

The full whitepaper is available at the Career Institute® webpage or as a direct link here.

About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program puts students in the center of an effective ecosystem of experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.

About the Career Optimism Index®

The Career Optimism Index® study is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans’ personal career perceptions to date. The University of Phoenix Career Institute® will conduct this research annually to provide insights on current workforce trends and to help identify solutions to support and enhance American careers and create equity in the workplace. For the second annual study, more than 5,000 U.S. adults were surveyed about how they feel about their careers at this moment in time, including their concerns, their challenges, and the degree to which they are optimistic about core aspects of their careers and their future. The study was conducted among a diverse, nationally representative, sample of U.S. adults among a robust sample to allow for gender, generational, racial, and socioeconomic differences and includes additional analysis of workers in the top twenty media markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances. This year, the study also explored insights from 500 U.S. employers who are influential or play a critical role in hiring and workplace decisions within a range of departments, company sizes and industries to provide comparison between the workforce and those who hire, train and retain them.

About University of Phoenix 

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit