Program Insight Case Study: Purdue Online | Burning Glass Technologies

Cut in Half

Purdue Reduces Program Review Time by 50%

The Client

Purdue University is a Top 10 public university with online and hybrid programs. Purdue Online offers over 175 programs, including accelerated degree options and a range of concentrations to provide flexible, affordable online education for both traditional and working learners.  


The Challenge

Purdue noticed that a higher percentage of students in its online programs were from out of state, opposite to the findings of the 2019 Online Education Trends Report, which found that about 56% of students enroll in online programs at institutions in the same state they reside in. Having such a large, national audience challenged Purdue Online to create a diverse course offering to attract students and prove the return on investment for their programs.  

The problem was that Purdue’s end-to-end program development process took three years to create an online program, and sometimes even longer. Faculty were forced to navigate the lengthy and cumbersome process and how to answer a range of questions, such as:  

  • Is there a market for this program?  
  • What kind of jobs can students get after studying this program? Will those jobs still be there in five years? How about 10 years?  
  • Where is there demand for these jobs?  
  • Who else is already teaching this program? Is the market saturated?  
  • What kind of jobs will graduates get?  


To answer these questions, Purdue and faculty would often work with consultants to answer these questions but the process proved to be costly and time-consuming. Purdue Online administrators realized they needed to improve their program development process.  

The Solution

In order to plan more effectively about new programs, Purdue Online administrators used Burning Glass’s Program Insight™ to create a program development plan centered on labor market projections and data. 

Using Program Insight™ dashboards, Purdue faculty and administrators could glean valuable information on the skills required to do a job, the salary a graduate could expect, and industry projections relevant to the job. Based on this information, Purdue faculty could determine if the new programs they were proposing were aligned to the labor market in if they were suited to bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, or certificate programs. 

With insights into competition rates and labor market needs, program proposals could now define career pathways for graduates and validate demand for the skills they would gain upon completing a proposed program. Using the Program Insight™ workflow, Purdue Online shortened the program development process from three years to just 14 months. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Use of Career Pathways: Using real-time labor market data, Purdue was able to identify the market needs for graduates and show that their programs taught skills that would qualify students for jobs which makes Purdue a smart choice for people looking for online learning.  
  • Understand the Demand: Purdue looked at the nation to see where the demand is while also looking at Indiana and neighboring states to ensure that their online programs would be useful to students across the country. Purdue could reach more students this way and provide ample, inclusive programs on their online platform. 
  • Identify the Competition: Purdue’s programs were strategically created and updated to provide a cutting-edge education to stay ahead of competitors. The university was able to identify who was already teaching the program and use that data to build a more comprehensive program. This way, the market wasn’t oversaturated with graduates and their students could fill the in-demand roles. 


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