15 Online Education Statistics to Help You Understand the Industry

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With digital technology shaping the future of education, it should be no surprise to learn that online education is on the rise. The days where classes were restricted to lectures and textbooks have passed, and opportunities for lessons to be designed more creatively with a digital toolbox are here to stay. 

If online education is something you’re interested in, either as a teacher, student, or administrator, we’ve put together 15 different statistics to emphasize how large this change in learning really is.

Online Teaching Statistics

Over a third of higher education students have taken an online class

The number of students learning online has increased each year, with figures from last year indicating that 35.3% of students took at least one online education course.

Figures also suggest that 16.6% of higher education students were exclusively taking online distance learning courses.

(Source: Statistica)

The average age of online students is 32

Contrary to what you might think, it’s not just the younger generations taking advantage of online education. In fact, it’s the slightly older population, those aged 30 and over, who make up the average population of online learners. 

(Source: US News)

On average, students retain 25 – 60% more material when learning online

With the right technology in place, evidence shows that learning online can be more effective than learning in a classroom, especially for older children and adults. This is said to be related to the faster pace of online learning where students have the freedom to re-read, skip and accelerate through the concepts as needed. 

(Source: Shift)

Digital learning is the quickest growing market in the education industry

Since the year 2000, online learning has grown by an astonishing 900%, making it the fastest growing market in education.

(Source: KPMG)

By 2025, the online education market is expected to reach $325 billion

Following on from the previous stat about the whopping growth of the online learning market, it’s estimated that by 2022 the industry will surpass £243 billion, and by 2025 it will hit the $325 billion mark.

(Source: Forbes)

43% of US college students find digital technology beneficial to their learning

Faced with a high college dropout rate (some figures suggest this is as high as 50 – 60%), digital learning in America has helped tip the scales in the other direction.

Experts say that online learning helps students learn in more manageable chunks, as well as delivering a more effective learning experience than a typical course textbook. 

(Source: eLearning Industry)

97% of online institutions maintain a 25:1 student to professor ratio

Even though the online education demand is ever-increasing, nearly all online institutions are able to maintain an enviable student-to-teacher ratio. 

If you think of the typical huge lecture hall-style classes, where you have one professor and hundreds of students, you can see why online learning can be advantageous in terms of more individual support, instruction and feedback.

(Source: University of the Potomac)

41% of US teachers feel stumped by their lack of training in educational tech

While we have seen plenty of positive stats, many participants fail to fully embrace online learning. For teachers, especially those whose teacher training occurred before the tech boom, a big barrier is lack of training and confidence in using the technology. 

(Source: Statistica)

Online learning courses are more environmentally friendly than face-to-face courses

The Open University in the UK found that the production and provision of online learning courses used 90% less energy and produced 85% fewer CO2 emissions per person when compared to in person classes. At a time when climate change is a global concern, it’s good to see that online education is leading by example. 

(Source: Shift)

90% of corporations use online learning

Compared to 1995, when only 4% of corporations used online learning, it’s easy to see how popular online education has become within the corporal world over the past 25 years.

(Source: KPMG)

Online learning saves employees 40 – 60% more time

One of the reasons online learning has grown in popularity within the corporate world is due to how time-effective it is. Typically, online classes require less time than learning within a classroom which can impact how much time employees have for work.

(Source: Brandon-Hall Group)

42% of US organizations have increased income due to online learning

Not only has the use of online learning seen a dramatic increase within corporations, these stats show that nearly half of US companies have benefited financially from doing so. 

(Source: eLearning Industry)

Covid-19 online education stats

The first version of this post was written during the Covid-19 pandemic so we thought it would be interesting to add in some online learning stats from around the world that have arisen during this unprecedented time. 

In February, the largest “online movement” in the history of education occurred in China

Back in February, a quarter of a billion full-time students were ordered to continue their studies via online platforms by the Chinese government. As a result, around 81% of K-12 students began learning through platforms like Tencent K-12 Online School.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

On the 23rd March, the video conferencing app Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times

The day lockdown was announced in the UK, Zoom was downloaded over 2 million times worldwide, up from 56,000 a day two months earlier. The video conferencing app has been a vital online tool for virtual classrooms, as well as for companies whose employees are working from home during the pandemic. Even blind dates and weddings have benefited from this Zoom boom!

(Source: The Guardian)

By the March 24th, over 1.1 million people were enrolled in an online Yale course designed to “increase happiness”, making it their most popular course in the school’s history

The course, entitled “The Science of Well Being”, was created prior to the pandemic. However, stats show that the number of learners enrolled in the course from the US increased by 295% during the pandemic! 

And it’s not just US – students from all over the world, including Canada, the UK and India, have also signed up for the course. Today, the course has over 2.5 million enrolled students.

(Source: Yale News)

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