Online Learning Update

November 25, 2011

US: Online learning growth dwarfs overall enrolment

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

by I. Elaine Allen, University World News

I am co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group which, for the last nine years, has published a survey of online education in the United States. It has yet to see any clear indication of an overall slowdown in the growth of online education but there are changes in the differential growth of programmes and in the belief that, in some areas, online education is superior for students. The rate of growth of online enrolments was slower over the last year, but it continues to outpace the rate of growth of the total higher education student population in the US. Every year since the first report in this series in 2003, the number of students taking at least one online course has increased at a rate far in excess of the growth of the overall student body. The most recent estimate, for the autumn of 2010, shows an increase of 10% over autumn 2009 to a total of 6.1 million students taking at least one course online for that semester. This is an almost four-fold increase in students taking courses online since our first survey in 2002, and represents a compound annual growth rate of 18.3% over the nine-year period. By comparison, the overall higher education student body in the US has grown at an annual rate of just over 2% during this same period.

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