Online education statistics show that this type of learning was becoming increasingly popular even before the recent COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now, as schools around the world have begun closing their doors, this sometimes is the only way for students to further their education. Equally, it’s the only way for many educators to still do their job.
As nobody can really tell when things will go back to normal, we’ve compiled a list of the relevant and telling statistics and facts on the subject. These are meant to serve as a guide to those looking to better understand the world of online learning and puzzle out if this could be a way to organize their education in the future.
Key Distance Learning Statistics and Useful Facts
- 46% of K12 students were getting only online instruction towards the end of 2020.
- 23% of learners spent the last part of 2020 in hybrid learning.
- 75% of colleges in the US now offer online courses
- Students attending online courses spend between $100 and $400 per credit hour.
- Great Basin College is the least expensive online college in the US, with a tuition of $3,128.
- The online education industry is set to be worth around $350 billion by 2025, online education market statistics suggest.
- 72% of organizations in the US believe the incorporation of online learning delivers a competitive advantage.
- E-learning can reduce training time for employees by up to 60%.
- Today, some 78% of the institutions offering online education use efficient learning management systems or digital asset management providers.
- China and the US are the leading countries in online education.
Online Learning Statistics for 2020 Onwards During COVID-19
In this section, we’ll be looking at online education during the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19.
1. 46% of K12 students were getting only online instruction towards the end of 2020.
(Pew Research Center)
On the other hand, 20% of students were attending school in-person.
2. 23% of learners spent the last part of 2020 in hybrid learning.
(Pew Research Center)
This means that they attended school online and in-person. Furthermore, K-12 online education statistics show that 32% of parents whose children were getting at least some online instruction were very concerned about them falling behind in school.
3. Universities only allocated around 5% of their budget towards IT prior to the pandemic.
(Harvard Business Review)
This is why it was so difficult for higher learning institutions to switch from in-person lectures and teaching to an online model. This greatly affected the statistics of online learning vs. classroom experience and success.
Important Online Education Statistics and Facts
Here, we‘ll be looking at the most popular online learning platforms, costs of online colleges, and other important stats and facts to do with online education.
4. US student loan debt for 2020 is nearly $1.6 trillion.
With the average student loan debt at around $32,731, this category now surpasses both car loans and credit card debt, with only mortgage debt sitting at the top. Hence, the introduction of more affordable online college courses, which cost less than what you’d get at a standard brick-and-mortar school, only reinforces the appeal of online education.
5. 75% of colleges in the US now offer online courses, statistics on distance learning indicate.
Western Governors University had the highest number of students enrolled in online courses, showing a growth of 23% in 2018. In fact, in total, 34.7% of students in the US took online courses in the autumn of 2018.
6. Students attending online courses spend between $100 and $400 per credit hour.
(Best Value Schools)
When it comes to online vs. traditional education, statistics show that students attending traditional colleges spend between $30,000–$50,000 on tuition alone. Naturally, other expenses, such as living costs and books, need to be calculated into the overall total.
7. Not all online college courses are cheaper than brick-and-mortar colleges.
Students still need to do thorough research since tuition at a public online college can be as high as $79,800, distance learning facts indicate. On the other hand, the average total cost (for in-state students) at some of the least expensive online public universities is around $12,168.
8. Great Basin College is the least expensive online college in the US, with a tuition of $3,128.
Brigham Young University in Idaho ($4,118), Western Governors University in Utah ($6,070), UT Permian Basin in Texas ($6,260), and American Public University in West Virginia ($6,880) are the following four most affordable online education providers in the US, online education statistics for 2020 indicate.
9. Business Administration and Criminal Justice are among the 10 most popular online degrees.
Other popular online degrees include Psychology, Nursing, Education, Accounting, Computer Science, Human Services, Healthcare Administration, and Engineering.
10. Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera are among the most popular online learning platforms in 2020.
Evaluating the available online education markets, statistics and data indicate that Udemy leads in terms of content. It offers an amazing variety of studies ranging from marketing, IT, business, design, photography, gardening, etc.—with 12 million students in more than 200 countries taking part in its courses. However, other platforms like Lynda.com, Udacity.com, EDX.org, and Futurelearn.com are very popular as well.
11. Machine Learning is one of the most popular online courses on Coursera.
With more than 2.7 million students attending, machine learning sits at the top of the pyramid of the most popular online subjects, according to online education enrollment statistics. New skills and concepts like those of neural networks, deep learning, and programming in Python, not to mention the various marketing courses, are also among the most popular online classes on Coursera.
12. 45% of COOs (chief online officers) say that online learning is a revenue generator.
Another 18% of COOs found distance learning to be a net cost. However, tellingly, 59% of the biggest online enrollment institutions say that e-learning generates revenue.
Distance Learning Statistics in the Corporate World
Here, we’ll be looking at online education in relation to the corporate world.
13. 72% of organizations in the US believe the incorporation of online learning delivers a competitive advantage.
Some 40% of Fortune 500 companies use online learning. Meanwhile, professionals working in industries like medicine, public safety, and law now use webinars and online lectures rather than travel to attend conferences and courses.
14. The online education market is set to be worth around $350 billion by 2025.
When it comes to the future of online education, statistics show that this growth is happening because the corporate and education sectors recognize the utility of introducing flexible learning techniques.
15. E-learning can reduce training time for employees by up to 60%.
Time is money, and there’s nothing companies like more than saving time and still getting the desired results. When you compare an online education vs. traditional education, statistics provide clear results: the decision to embrace online learning is a savvy business move.
16. 75% of professionals would rather acquire a new skill by using e-learning training videos.
(Digital Marketing Institute)
Also, 68% of them find online learning platforms trustworthy. Since 76% of professionals in the corporate world say that lack of time is the biggest obstacle in proceeding with additional education, corporations have embraced the benefits of e-learning with gusto.
17. The online education facts show that companies like Dow Chemical and IBM are saving millions by switching to e-learning.
By switching to online education, Dow Chemical has reportedly saved $34 million, taking expenses down from $95 per learner for each course to only $11. By opting to use online corporate training, IBM managed to save $200 million, and PayPal managed to reduce corporate training costs by 25%, online education statistics indicate.
18. For every dollar spent on e-learning, a company gains $30 in employee productivity.
According to a study conducted by IBM, e-learning not only increases productivity, but it also helps employees to build skills to further their careers.
19. Online education enables corporations to precisely measure the impact of training programs.
Tracking the ROI from educational programs and courses, as well as their utility and effectiveness, is much easier via online platforms. In turn, this provides companies with precise data when planning future learning initiatives.
Online Education Statistics and Facts for Trivia Enthusiasts
In this section, you’ll find out some interesting facts about the history of distance learning. Plus, learn more about VR-based classes and other fun facts about online education.
20. The idea behind “online” education is actually 170 years old.
It all began in the form of a correspondence course available in Great Britain. A teacher would send materials and assignments via mail to students, and they would return them when finished. The advanced technology we’re lucky to have today made this form of education almost ruthlessly elegant and fast, facts about online education processes indicate.
21. Today, some 78% of the institutions offering online education use efficient learning management systems or digital asset management providers.
By using an efficient LMS or DAM, online education has become an elegant, time-saving, and cost-effective solution for those seeking further education. In fact, DAM companies like MediaAMP, Canto, and Extensis count prominent universities such as Arizona State University, the University of Washington, and the University of California among their clients.
22. Online learning benefits the environment.
According to a study by Open University, online courses, on average, produce 85% less CO2 emissions per student and use 90% less energy, which is another benefit when you compare online education vs. classroom education statistics.
23. Millennials prefer online learning.
The so-called “lost generation,” millennials, as digital natives, understand and utilize the benefits of online education since it provides them with greater mobility and flexibility. There are also benefits from the interactivity provided in the form of videos, chat rooms, forums, audio recordings, and voice recognition. Additionally, online learning has the added bonus of updating materials relatively quickly, which is not the case in traditional learning.
24. According to distance learning statistics, China and the US are the leading countries in online education.
The US and China are leading players in the e-learning market due to the sheer number of available online courses, the rising disposable income per capita, and rising internet penetration.
25. The learning experience platform (LXP) and AI are among the expected trends in online education in 2020.
Additionally, user-generated content, augmented and virtual reality technologies, and big data analytics are also predicted to be among these trends.
26. There are already certain VR-based lessons available to students.
Some 6 million students have already reaped the benefits of VR-based lessons—such as taking a walk around historical locations like the Roman Colosseum—which will likely serve to propel the growth of online education, statistics show, in a positive direction. A Danish company called Lobster is collaborating with Google on developing VR products for science students, which would enable them to do virtual experiments. Other projects could be used to train forensic students by allowing them to inspect a virtual crime scene. Smart devices in the home are becoming more used in education as time goes by.
27. Shorter videos help students learn course content better.
A study on online teaching conducted by MIT utilized information from 6.9 million video sessions, evaluating the length of the videos and the type of material. When it comes to a video online education, statistics from MIT show that videos lasting around six minutes that had a personal touch and in which instructors talked relatively fast and with enthusiasm worked best for students.
28. Popular online learning platforms offer plenty of free online classes.
As millions of people around the world sit in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online e-platforms like Coursera provide plenty of free online courses that people can finish in under eight hours. From courses like child nutrition to global diplomacy and feminism and social justice, there’s really something for everybody, so long as one is willing to learn.
COVID-19 has increased the number of people learning from home, just as it has seen an increase in working from home. Online learning facts confirm that this type of education is a great option (even outside of a pandemic) for those who are working on a budget or those who wish to continue their education but have jobs and families. After all, even if you simply have no desire to relocate or keep to the tight schedule traditional education dictates, or you just wish to enjoy lessons in the comfort of your home with a beloved pet curled up in your lap, online learning is an alluring solution.
These online education statistics leading up to 2021 should offer a holistic overview of the phenomenon that is e-learning and help many who are struggling with taking that final step either in the direction of a traditional education or an online one.
The fact remains that online learning has already served as a lifeline for millions of students and teachers as the world fights the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
What is the percentage of students taking online classes?
In 2018, over 30% of college and university students took one online class or more. According to a study conducted in 2017, some 48% of the students taking online classes were solely enrolled in online courses. Another study from 2019 found that online students tend to be more diverse, meaning that there’s an increase in online learners who have disabilities, are not native English speakers, are minorities, and are low-income students.
(Best Colleges, Inside)
Is online education growing?
Considering predictions that e-learning is likely to reach some $350 billion by 2025, the answer is a resounding yes! In fact, if not for online college courses, the drop in student enrollment in universities and colleges would have been even steeper than 2017’s 0.5% drop (90,000 students).
Is an online education better than a classroom education?
In fact, both online learning and traditional learning have their advantages and disadvantages. Online learning is not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, with a noted drop in the number of newly enrolled students across universities and colleges, online courses and blended learning (a combination of both traditional and online learning) will probably be a reality for many educational institutions if they’re to survive.
Why are online classes becoming more popular?
A mixture of availability, flexibility, and quality are major reasons why online learning is gaining popularity among students from all over the world, according to online education statistics. The fact that plenty of online courses are more affordable also plays a role for many who wish to continue their education.
- Airport Colledge.com
- Best Colleges
- Best Value Schools
- Business Insider
- Digital Marketing Institute
- eLearning Industry
- Harvard Business Review
- IMHO Reviews
- Inside Higher Ed
- Inside Higher Ed
- Pew Research Center
- Successful Student
- The Evolllution