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La eficiencia económica del e-learning en la educación superior: Un enfoque industrial

Economic efficiency of e-learning in higher education: An industrial approach

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doi: 10.3926/ic.2008.v4n3.p191-211

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Abstract (2. Language): 
Little work has been yet done to analyse if e-learning is an efficiency way in economic terms to produce higher education, especially because there are not available data in official statistics. Despite of these important constrains, this paper aims to contribute to the study of economic efficiency of e-learning through the analysis of a sample of e-learning universities during a period of time (1997-2002). We have wanted to obtain some empirical evidence to understand if e-learning is a feasible model of providing education for universities and which are the variables that allow for feasibility attainment. The main findings are: 1) that the rise of the number of students enrolled is consistent with increasing labour productivity rates; 2) that cost labour savings are explained by the improvement of universities’ economic efficiency (or total factor productivity); and 3) that improvement of total factor productivity in e-learning production is due to the attainment of scale economies, but also to two organisational innovations: outsourcing processes that leads to the increase of variable costs consistent with decreasing marginal costs, and the sharing of assets’ control and use that allow for a rise in assets rotation.
Abstract (Original Language): 
Existe poca literatura que haya analizado en términos económicos la eficiencia del e-learning en la enseñanza universitaria, principalmente debido a la no disponibilidad de estadísticas oficiales. A pesar de estas importantes limitaciones, el presente artículo tiene como objetivo contribuir al estudio de la eficiencia económica del e-learning, a través del análisis de una muestra de universidades durante un período de tiempo (1997-2002). Se han obtenido algunos datos empíricos para tratar de comprender si el e-learning es un modelo viable de educación superior, y qué variables permiten alcanzar dicha viabilidad. Las principales conclusiones son: 1) que el aumento del número de estudiantes matriculados es coherente con el aumento de las tasas de productividad laborales, 2) que el ahorro de costes laborales se explica por la mejora de la eficiencia económica de las universidades (o productividad total de los factores), y 3) que la mejora de la productividad total de los factores en el e-learning no solamente se debe a la consecución de economías de escala, sino también a dos innovaciones organizativas: los procesos de externalización que conducen al aumento de los costes variables en consonancia con una disminución de los costes marginales, y el hecho de compartir el control y la utilización de los activos, que permiten incrementar la rotación.



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