Fascinating eLearning Statistics 2022


(repost with permission from Broadband Search)

Everyone is talking about eLearning and wondering about it (you found this article, after all). Yet first off, what is eLearning? In short, eLearning is the process of education or training electronically. It could happen through an online course, online educational videos, or the use of other tools. It could be for people of any age and situation, and it could be on any topic. While people might most often talk about it these days in the context of formal education, we cannot forget certifications and adult learners, which used to be the primary eLearners.

Yet the concept of learning remotely or outside of the traditional classroom doesn’t start with eLearning or the dawn of the internet. In fact, we can trace it back to the 1700s. There was an advertisement by Caleb Phillips in the Boston Gazette for remote instruction of the “new method of shorthand” (it was new then, we suppose). It might have gotten some hits, but remote learning by mail had to wait until the relative modernization of the postal service in the 19th century for it to take off. Again, we saw more shorthand courses. Isaac Pitman was one of the pioneers. He would send assignments to students by mail. Then the students would mail back their work for assessment. It was a simple system, but it worked.

A brief history of eLearning

It expanded from there. Remote instructors got cleverer about teaching methods. More subjects were taught remotely by mail, often with a variety of additional materials. Programming lessons by mail were quite popular in the early years of computers and programming. It was a huge new opportunity. It also wasn’t always taught in schools. How else, but with these types of courses, would the average person learn?

Meanwhile, while these more formal courses were developing, we saw the birth of technologies that had used education potential: the radio and the television, and related devices such as VHS and records. Remote courses often implemented these types of materials, and educational channels were created for classrooms and home use. There were books by tape. Why not courses by tape?

Then came the dawn of the internet as we know it. Everything changed. Not immediately, mind you. Only so much can be done with basic HMTL. Yet email and a few other basic technologies allowed for remote instruction and complimentary materials to be used. We saw the birth of the learning management system (LMS) that universities could use to help universities manage students, courses, and a variety of related information. The LMS was later used to provide remote educational services. At this point, companies such as Blackboard lead the pack.

However, while it was a novelty decades ago to most people and something optional and potentially sub-optimal in the last two decades, we got a wake-up call about the importance of remote learning methods with the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only was there a rise in remote work, but there was a rise in remote learning as well. Schools had no choice but to shut down. Educators and institutions of all types had to adapt and adapt quickly. And while it was certainly better than nothing, many lessons were learned, and flaws were discovered that we’re still analyzing today. We’ll be talking about what we learned shortly.

This is an interesting history lesson that provides context. Yet what do things look like today? In this piece, we’ll be talking about the industry of eLearning and how it has impacted all forms of education. There are also discussions on the effectiveness of eLearning across the board and how education might change permanently as a result. We also cannot forget about eLearning in the workplace and on different platforms such as smartphones. We know it’s a lot, so put on your (e)learning hat and let’s get to it!

eLearning Market Size and Industry Growth Statistics

The eLearning industry can be profitable. In fact, it can be very profitable, which is why many of us see a deluge of online courses if we show interest in learning something new or expanding our skillset for work. Yet just how profitable has it become over the years? Is there a course online that will teach you the stats about this? We haven’t found it yet, but we here will talk about the eLearning market size, industry growth, forecasts, projections, and more.

  • The global eLearning industry in 2022 is expected to be a bit more than $243 billion. Globally, the eLearning market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025. It can be hard to predict things like this due to the effects of the pandemic and a greater reliance on eLearning during that time, but searches for eLearning are up, more people have access to the technology and internet connections required than ever before, and the world is becoming more competitive from an educational perspective.
  • Note that different segments of the total eLearning market are worth looking at. Global corporate eLearning marketing, for example, is expected to reach $44.6 billion in value by 2028, compared to the relatively current value of $22.5 billion as of 2021. Companies will rely more on eLearning sources for training, reducing expenses overall but increasing the eLearning market size.
  • The eLearning industry globally currently has a compound annual growth rate of 5.08 percent, signifying much more to come for the industry.
  • Since the birth of the internet as we know it, eLearning has taken off considerably. Online learning has experienced a 900 percent growth rate since 2000.
  • In addition to the general and corporate markets, which we will reference more in future sections, we cannot downplay the importance of mobile to the eLearning market or any market. We’ll go into more detail on it in a later section, but mobile eLearning represents a huge portion of the industry and is growing more rapidly than general eLearning.
  • In addition to the United States markets, other regional markets are also to consider.
  • The European eLearning market is predicted to grow by $28 billion over the next five years. It is expected to increase by about 14% annually. This is more than the average for the rest of the world. We aren’t fully certain why this is the case, but more developed nations in Europe do generally have better internet access. 
  • What about India? By 2026, their eLearning industry is expected to reach a size of $8.6 billion. The country is seeing 4G and occasionally even 5G access available. This makes eLearning more available across the country, even if everyone has a smartphone to work with.
  • The Asia Pacific region generally displays the most growth, however. Revenues for eLearning are expected to increase by 20 percent each year in the near future.
  • While the above is impressive, it should still be noted that 70 percent of the eLearning industry worldwide is located in the United States and Europe.
  • And where does all the money come from? To some degree, it comes from everyone. More than 60 percent of all internet users have used eLearning courses to some extent. While some people obviously spend more than others, it is not just a select few who are interested in learning online.
  • Budgets for eLearning options and training are increasing. About 37 percent of learning and development professionals are expecting to increase their budget soon. Most of these professionals are planning on spending more on online learning.
  • We are seeing quite a bit of investment in the eLearning space, with exact numbers varying depending on the source.
  • In one example, venture capital investments into educational technology companies in Europe increased 540 percent from 2014 to 2018. This trend has not generally changed and likely only increased due to the pandemic.
  • While the exact numbers are not available, there are also heavy investments and hopes for the future of eLearning when it comes to integration with AR and VR technologies. While they might be a niche for some time, the virtual classroom might look very different from what we see today next decade.
  • In many cases, eLearning seems to be a good investment that keeps on giving. About 77 percent of the industry uses self-paced models that use preexisting materials. While professionals do provide support and maintenance is required, the overhead is far less than having consistent instructors on payroll attending students (notes on effectiveness later in the article). This leads to a cheaper training program, leading to more organizations trying out and continuing with eLearning programs.

eLearning and COVID-19 Statistics

Among many other effects, COVID-19 shut down most of the schools in the United States at one time or another, and the classroom shifted to virtual settings. This allowed learning to continue, if imperfectly, while students and educators alike could remain relatively safe at home. Before COVID, eLearning was seen as something of an alternative or a niche option, perhaps reserved as a method for supplementary instruction. During the pandemic, it was necessary and indispensable, and companies that provided services that allowed for it quickly had to ramp up their offerings and scale their businesses appropriately.

And it wasn’t just schools that needed these resources. People all around the world rely on the internet and eLearning resources to keep themselves informed. People had to learn many new skills, whether it was information on COVID itself, how to do more things at home, or even how to set up a decent remote working environment. The existing eLearning infrastructure and the internet were indispensable to the overall effort.

So, with this context in mind, let us take a look at some statistics relating to the pandemic and eLearning, relating to before, during, and after it:

  • Worldwide, in 186 countries, more than 1.2 billion children could not use the classrooms they had always used. This is most of the children on the planet. The exact time they spent out of the classroom varied by country, region, and even school system. Nonetheless, it was impactful on all.
  • Parents, educators, and students themselves had to quickly adapt and supplement their efforts through the usage or recommendation of apps. For example, the “Think and Learning” app saw a 200 percent increase in the number of new students using it.
  • eLearning didn’t just see a boost when it came to the more formal subjects. Udemy saw a 1000 percent increase in enrollment for health and wellness courses during the pandemic compared to the same time period the previous year.
  • It wasn’t just high schools and lower grades that were affected by the shutdowns. Universities were also heavily affected, with most of them having to transition online. More on this sector later, but it is important to note at the moment the heavy financial strain this caused and the disruption to previously existing systems. Many universities started offering many more online courses as a result, with DINGTalk ZJU responsible for more than 5000 online courses.
  • We’ll talk more about this challenge later, but there was a gap in what was available to people depending on their access to devices, an internet connection, and a few other things. In Norway and Switzerland, 95 percent of students had access to a device that allowed them to participate in eLearning. About 34 percent are so lucky in Indonesia. You’ll see the same trends across the world between richer and poorer nations.
  • More specifically, in the United States, 25 percent of 15-year-olds from unprivileged backgrounds did not have access to a device that would allow them to utilize eLearning.
  • Connectivity issues were also a major problem. About 48 percent of students had them in some form, leading to disrupted learning.
  • Out of all countries that shut down in some way due to the pandemic and suspended in-person classes, 83 percent of them used online platforms to continue educational programs.
  • Then there is the matter of how universities, which are much larger and more diverse in strategies than the standard school in the United States, responded. More than 1200 institutions were affected. Out of these:
  • About 44 percent of them moved fully to an online setup with tools and online platforms. For the most part, they become fully online universities for a time.
  • About 21 percent of them adopted a hybrid model of teaching.
  • About 27 percent of them continued completely with in-person learning.
  • At the beginning of the pandemic, about 52 percent of university students were enrolled in an online class of some sort.
  • The pandemic caused a huge upsurge in the necessity for servers and platforms for online learning to occur. For example, Alibaba Cloud had to bring online 100,000 new servers to deal with the influx of new people. Similar enterprises had to scale just as much, and we all know just how much Zoom stock exploded as a result of everyone signing up. The pandemic was a loss for most people, but a few companies benefited from a lot of new attention.
  • How school systems reacted wasn’t the best in the eyes of students. About 41 percent of students say that their opinion of their current school has worsened since the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • Demand for eLearning has risen about 400 percent since the start of the pandemic. We are still waiting to see where that will stabilize as lockdowns are over, and most people are returning to their normal lives.
  • The pandemic caused about 59 percent of respondents to a survey to consider enrolling in an eLearning program.
  • While we are still waiting for the numbers (if they ever come in), the country that has been the most reliant on eLearning overall since the start of the pandemic is China. Some areas are still experiencing lockdowns, and students are relying on eLearning and additional online resources as a result.
  • Exams were heavily affected by the pandemic. At least at one point, 98 percent of exams worldwide were conducted online.
  • The pandemic changed the minds of many instructors and educators as they had no choice but to turn to online learning. In May 2020, 31 percent of them thought online learning wasn’t effective. In three months, this number decreased to 21 percent. Similarly, 39 percent believed in its effectiveness in May 2020, increasing to 49 percent in August of that year.
  • That being said, many still had issues with how things were set up during the pandemic. About 71 percent of instructors saw engagement as an issue and made it a priority when planning future lessons.

Now that we are living in a post-COVID world (though COVID is still very much with us), eLearning has gone back to being in the background, but only in the sense that it isn’t constantly on the news like before. It is, in most forms, still a heavy part of the educational system and a way for people all around the world to get information relating to nearly any topic (including public health).

Additionally, the pandemic will likely not be the last crisis that forces schools to close down for an extended period of time. There will likely be plans and programs underway to ensure that the next time something of this nature happens, educational systems will be better prepared and able to get the ball rolling on remote learning without so many hiccups. The following years will also be a period of learning more about remote learning and the right and not-so-right practices when conducting it.

eLearning Statistics Around the World

As we’ve alluded to, eLearning is a global trend, quickly catching wind worldwide. The internet was created and grew with globalization and the exchange of ideas in mind, and there is little better evidence of that than the spread of eLearning. While eLearning practices and methods can change from country to country, some platforms are used worldwide, and models frequently borrow from one another to improve. 

We already know that eLearning is huge globally, but how so, and in what places? Let’s take a look at some of the key statistics for eLearning globally and in specific countries:

  • On a global level, searches for eLearning and related topics have risen heavily since the start of the pandemic. This comes as no surprise. Yet what is interesting is that such searches continue to be higher than their pre-pandemic levels.
  • Growth worldwide seems to set at a steady 7.6 percent for the eLearning market.
  • Looking at just the EU, 27 percent of its citizens took an online class or used some form of online learning material in 2021. Yet, among all of the countries of the EU, there was quite a range. Ireland had the highest percentage of people, at 46 percent. On the other end, in Romania, only 10 percent of people use online learning.
  • Like most other regions and countries, the market for eLearning in Europe is growing to the tune of $28 billion over the next five years.
  • Overall, the biggest country when it comes to eLearning in the EU is Germany, which has the largest market share in Europe overall. Their eLearning market is growing by about 8.5 percent each year.
  • As we touched upon, Asia is a heavily growing market for eLearning. While it’s hard to predict future revenues more than a few years ahead, currently, eLearning growth puts Asia on track to have an eLearning market reaching 162.15 billion in 2030.
  • The online learning market in China has grown 20 percent since 2017. This is at once a huge leap given the overall size of China’s market and a little surprising given world events (one would think it might be higher).
  • Looking at Coursera’s platform, the two leading countries in terms of remote learners are India and the United States.
  • The market for eLearning in India is expected to reach $8.6 billion by 2026. This is assuming the expansion of internet access and services continues as planned. A more optimistic prediction shows India’s online education market will reach $14.33 billion by 2024.

eLearning Statistics in the U.S.

eLearning makes its home in the United States for all intents and purposes. While there is worldwide growth, the United States is responsible for a huge portion of eLearning spending, and much of the infrastructure used in eLearning is based in the United States. Many of the lessons and instructions are in English, and one can see American methods of teaching prove dominant over many of the courses one would find online.

It also makes sense, given that much of the world’s tech sector is based in the United States in one place or another (though it’s realistically centralized in a few cities). As the United States develops in other areas and utilizes mobile technologies, we’ll see further growth and innovation in eLearning. In the meanwhile, however, let’s look at how things are:

  • As of 2020, the United States accounts for about 35 percent of all eLearning revenues. And that’s not all. It is expected that the CAGR for eLearning in the United States for the next five years is going to be 12.5 percent, which is huge for the industry, given how established it already is.
  • According to Business Wire, the United States eLearning industry is expected to reach $120.67 billion by 2027. Given the multiple sectors involved in eLearning in the United States, this is no surprise.
  • Online learning tends to stay in the United States, at least where college degrees are concerned. Out of students taking US online degree programs, 99 percent of them are physically located somewhere in the United States.
  • And there seem to be plenty of online courses rolling overall. At least 30 percent of United States students enroll in at least one online program. On top of that, about 39 percent of undergrads in the United States think online learning at the college level is superior to classroom learning. Additionally, 52 percent of graduate students in the United States considered online-based education to be better than classroom learning. Whether they think this because they might find the courses more convenient or whether they learn more is uncertain.
  • Online student enrollment has increased for 14 years in a row, despite world events, economic disruptions, and more. Contrast this with general college enrollment, which has been down for the past decade.
  • eLearning in the United States isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. A total of 45 percent of American elementary school students will use digital learning tools on a daily basis. This rises to 64 percent if you look at middle school students and 63 percent of high school students. While there is still room to grow when it comes to the use of digital learning tools and eLearning in general, most children and teenagers in the United States are quite familiar with it.
  • Overall, it seems like the United States Government has some confidence in eLearning. It spent about $1.2 billion on training civilian government employees and an additional $9.8 billion on training state and local government workers. Given what we know, there are likely great variances from state to state on philosophy and spending.
  • While the United States tops the charts when it comes to eLearners in general on platforms such as Coursera, it isn’t the country that is growing the most when it comes to new learners. Smaller and developing countries are more likely to take that role, given that some degree of market saturation has already occurred in the United States. 

There is plenty more to talk about when it comes to eLearning in the United States, but the statistics and trends are relegated to more niche topics, and as such, we thought it best to place and talk about those statistics in their respective sections.

eLearning Statistics Among Adult Learners

Adult learners are a heavy part of what makes eLearning so successful and prominent. Children and teenagers have the existing education system, which may or may not incorporate eLearning. If they want to learn something new, then they have options open to them (perhaps with parental help). Adult learners in the past didn’t have it so easily. There might have been community classes nearby, or there might have been private teaching options. These options were inconvenient and expensive, often out of the average person’s reach.

eLearning and the internet have changed everything in that regard. Courses on every topic are now no further than a smartphone for adult learners, which means they’re no further than a few feet away. Additionally, adult learners have the opportunity to gain certifications and degrees online that they might not have available in person in their immediate area. And while some programs might not be fully completable online or through current eLearning options, a heavy portion of them can be, making it easy for adult learners to make huge changes, at least from a logistics perspective (the coursework can still be demanding).

With all of that in mind, let’s consider some of the key facts and trends considering remote learning, eLearning, and how they relate to adult learners:

  • Online college is the perfect option for many adult learners who cannot make the huge life changes required to go to university in person. Half of the online college students are millennials (age 28-38). About 33 percent of them are from generation X (ages 39-54). About half of the remaining online college students are from Gen Z (ages 18-22), and half are baby boomers.
  • Why do people enroll in online classes? There is a mixture of reasons, and many people have more than one. Many (61 percent) will enroll because of the convenience of online courses being able to fit into their schedule. Instead, others (59 percent) will focus on a clearer goal in the form of a guaranteed employer outcome, such as a wage increase or promotion. And 44 percent of people find quality online and distance learning opportunities and want to take advantage of them.
  • Adult learners, who by definition do not need to be interested in eLearning, are still interested. About eight in ten adult learners are interested in looking at online learning options.
  • Interestingly, older adult learners will be more interested in learning online than younger ones. Those over the age of 35 were more than five times as likely than those under 26 to express that online classes were always their preferred option.
  • Most adults express at least some interest in going back to school. About three-quarters of them consider the quality of online learning to be good or better.
  • This trends with much of what else we are seeing. Students over the age of 25 are the fastest-growing segment when it comes to higher education. It might be that opportunities are more plentiful when it comes to eLearning, and it could also be the result of a desire to change careers or improve the situation that more people are feeling now.
  • Of all of the postsecondary students in the United States, 3.9 million are parents. eLearning allows them to spend more time with their children while furthering their education.
  • Similarly, 70 percent of college students work while they are enrolled in classes. Not all jobs are alike, but eLearning can provide the flexibility required to complete everything satisfactorily.
  • While many adult learners are happy with online learning, that doesn’t mean one size fits all when it comes to adult learners with eLearning courses and platforms. Adult learners prefer hands-on experience, so there will be a need to create more interactive content and virtual programs that allow for practice beyond just looking at videos and text posts.

eLearning Statistics in Academica

Academia has always been on the cutting edge of eLearning (at least some institutions), and now eLearning and Academia are intertwined in ways that we cannot come back from. Academia is also where many students start their eLearning journey, and it’s been shown that eLearning is a great option for many students who would otherwise find it difficult to attend classes in person full-time. eLearning also remains an option for people who are hoping to continue their education.

How to motivate online learners

And yet eLearning is not just about getting information anymore. It is also becoming a way for people to connect around the world, share thoughts and different cultural ideas, and so much more. It is becoming a way for educators to improve as they see other options.

Therefore, let’s look at some of the different classroom categories and settings and see how eLearning is affecting them:

eLearning vs. Traditional Classrooms

The debate between sticking more to traditional classrooms or diving more deeply into the realm of online learning is quite a large one. There is a long line of tradition in how things are done in the classroom at a base level, and eLearning tipped that on its head. The pandemic further spurred things along, and now we are in a situation where we are in an in-between state depending on where someone is. There are comparisons to be made, and they should be made in order to ensure the best possible education for people of all ages.

Here’s what we can find out when we compare the two:

  • When it comes to information retention, traditional learning seems to be losing out to eLearning. Traditional learning retention rates are between eight and ten percent, while eLearning increases retention rates are between 25 and 60 percent. This is a huge difference, but it also remains clear that we need to study eLearning retention rates more to better understand how effective it is and what makes it more effective.
  • One theory why this is the case is that online learning generally allows students to move at their own pace, and that 
  • Out of all learners that could speak to the matter, 85 percent say that the online learning experience was better or equal to standard classes. However, it should be noted that these were people who could speak to both, and they would be the ones who would be more open to online learning in the first place.
  • Yet there is strong evidence on the other side of the fence. A survey by Edweek polled K12 educators and leaders, and the results found that 95 percent of them found virtual or remote learning less effective, 80 percent found student behavior was negatively affected, and 88 percent found that there were significant learning difficulties that were increased by remote learning. Further research is required, and we also need to consider the circumstances in which eLearning is used.
  • There are clear differences between adult learners and younger learners alike. The two biggest motivators for adult learners to give online learning a shot are a fact that online learning allows for a personalized learning pace and the reduction in travel compared to in-person classes. Despite the pedigree of in-person education and a stigma against online learning in some cases, the practicality of the matter causes many people to at least give it a try.
  • When IBM tried teaching their employees using online methods, they found that their employees learned five times as much material. However, it should be said that IBM employees are likely to be well-connected and technologically savvy and, as such, would experience few of the disadvantages of online learning.
  • We’ll go more into corporate eLearning later on, but in direct comparison, online learning takes 40-60 percent less time than standard face-to-face learning, when all is considered. It might be less time traveling and organizing. Regardless, employees can spend more time being productive and trying out new skills instead of just hearing about them.
  • Instructors are spending more time with online learning. About 57 percent of L&D professionals are spending more time with online learning than they did three years prior to today. We can expect this number to go up further as time goes on.
  • When looking at some of the disparities shown above and how eLearning might work for some and not for others, it could very well be who wants to be there, who might be the most familiar with the technologies, and the subjects involved. For example, according to one source, about 80 percent of online course learners have a Bachelor’s degree or better.

eLearning and K12

eLearning is associated with many things, and while there is much experimentation in the eLearning world, one thing we cannot forget is that education is vital to the young. That means ensuring they can keep up with their studies no matter what happens (and a lot has happened). It also means that they deserve the best K-12 education that we can give them with the help of technology. Yet, at the same time, eLearning and remote learning need to be properly assessed and judged before we can completely dive into them and make them a part of the modern classroom. It will have generational effects if something goes wrong, and many students will never recover. That makes it vital to know all we can.

Here are some of the most vital things to know about eLearning in the K12 sector:

  • As we talked about, growth is expected for eLearning across the board and across the world. But for the K-12 online tutoring market specifically, there is an expected annual growth of 12 percent until 2025.
  • For the K-8 online education market, we can expect a growth rate of 8 percent through 2023.
  • “Zoom school” became something of both a meme and reality for kids around the world. About 90,000 schools used Zoom during the pandemic, and many of them still use Zoom to hold classes. It is a basic tool compared to some eLearning platforms, but it is accessible and improving for those purposes.
  • In the years 2019-2020, about 300,000 students in K-12 enrolled in online learning. This is a huge step up from the past when in 2014, 26 states offered virtual learning options.
  • Currently, about 48 percent of K-12 students have the option to take courses online.
  • About 4.8 percent of schools offer all courses online, though many more will offer some courses or enough courses to move forward well enough.
  • There is something of an income divine when it comes to the availability of online learning. About 68 percent of schools in high-income districts had offerings. This number goes down to 36 percent of schools in low-income districts.
  • Whatever the misgivings about complete remote eLearning, teachers and education professionals do like the tools on offer. About 71 percent of principals state that digital learning tools help facilitate real-world problem-solving skills. A total of 35 percent of teachers and admins think that eLearning systems can help provide more personalized instructions that help with learning. And 70 percent of teachers think eLearning tools help students when students are studying on their own.
  • While many might think eLearning is effective, only 27 percent of teachers say they have evidence that what they use provides results. It might be a good idea for more tools to have metrics available or more tracking to become available to the teachers who would like it. Otherwise, people will be justifiably skeptical.
  • When do K-12 teachers think eLearning tools are best used? 90 percent say it’s for doing research or looking for information in the context of an assignment. Such tools allow students to build important research skills they’ll use in college or for weeding out misinformation in the future.
  • About 45 percent of elementary school students say that digital learning games and videos are their favorite way to learn. Given that kids today grow up in an environment filled with games and videos, this is no surprise.
  • Similarly, one survey puts collaboration using technology as the favorite method of learning for 50 percent of elementary school students.
  • Of K-12 students, 61 percent of them are interested in using mobile apps to learn online.
  • Online tutoring is also a rising option that many kids show interest in. 52 percent of K-12 students consider it to be part of an ideal learning setup.
  • Who teaches the teachers after they leave school? About 50 percent of teachers for K-12 take professional training classes online.
  • Regardless of the debates surrounding remote learning, it is clear to educators and educational institutions that more and newer technology is needed to help kids keep up. About 80 percent of K-12 schools are planning to purchase additional technology for students or are planning to do so.

eLearning and Higher Education

And what can we say of eLearning and higher education that hasn’t been said already? Online courses used to be primarily associated with colleges, at least in the common academic space. There is an online course for almost every university subject, and most universities have embraced online learning as a means to provide for students and bring in extra income. While the quality can differ, the results are popular among the more well-known universities. This is for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Let’s look at the most important trends and stats for this sector of the eLearning industry:

  • In total, there are at least three million undergraduate students doing their studying entirely online. This simply wouldn’t be possible even a decade ago when online courses were well underway and popular.
  • College students are generally optimistic about online learning. About 81 percent of them say that online learning helps their grades. And this was a few years back when online learning was a few steps behind where it is today.
  • If a college student is set on online learning, what factors do they consider when picking a school? Affordability was the most common top three choices, with 55 percent of students considering it heavily. The second most common answer was accreditation, though many students might consider it a must-have for an online program and not even consider it an option to choose a school that doesn’t have it.
  • What are the highest-rated schools in the United States for eLearning? As of 2021, these were the top-ranking institutions:
  • University of Florida
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Florida State University.
  • Something interesting is that most of the top-ranking schools, at least in the above listing, are located in Florida and Georgia. Naturally, there might be other metrics that one can use for ranking as opposed to those about, but enrollment is high in online learning programs in most of the above schools, and there is a lot to dig through. We will be on the lookout for whether in competitions between schools, online programs, and primarily online universities will try to rank and compete among all universities or whether they will try to form their own rankings and market, so to speak.
  • Some subjects are more popular than others among online-only learners in undergraduate programs. Among all undergraduate students, 17 percent study business, 16.1 percent study computer science, and 13 percent study health.
  • Out of the undergraduate students taking online-only degrees, 24.9 percent are 30 years of age or older.
  • Graduate students are quite pleased with the degree they are getting. Out of all online degree graduates, 86 percent said they felt the value they gained from their degree was worth the price.
  • Out of the graduate students taking fully online degrees, about 41.6 percent are 30 years of age or older.
  • Most people in fully online graduate programs seem to complete their degrees, despite worries to the contrary. In the UK, the completion rate is between 70 and 80 percent.

eLearning and LMS Statistics

The LMS, or learning management system, is one of the biggest topics and products when it comes to eLearning. Most of the things you associate with eLearning today likely came from or debuted on some form of LMS in the past.

Yet what is an LMS? Technically speaking, it is a piece of software or software as a service that provides support to institutions related to the automation and administration of educational courses or other forms of training. It allows for easy delivery of learning materials to people and keeps track of things such as grades, attendance, and more (if desired and applicable). There are differences between different LMS options, of course, but the better options have enough flexibility to deliver just about whatever is desired.

The evolution of learning management systems

As for how they came about and how they got to be so popular, we have to go back to the 90s and earlier for that. Early on, some schools were created with being online only in mind, and some still operate today. Yet they need organization, and running a school isn’t easy, even when it’s all condensed into a physical space. Blackboard was the first company to get the ball rolling on this, providing various services to academic professionals and companies alike. They only grew from there, and now there are plenty of different options and huge companies dedicated to keeping the eLearning wheels greased. 

Here are some key stats relating to eLearning and LMS:

  • Between professionals, users, and administrators, nearly 74 million people use learning management systems in some capacity. And as more people enroll in online learning programs, the number is only going to go up.
  • Where’s the money? The LMS industry is quite lucrative, to the degree that the market will be worth $29 billion by 2026. This means that it has an expected annual growth of about 19.1 percent.
  • Not all learning management systems are made equally. They can get outdated quickly, and the competition is always there. The two biggest factors that made people want to seek out a new LMS were poor usability (53 percent of people) and high cost (44 percent). These are subjective metrics, but improvements can clearly be made in many cases.
  • A demo is important for a potential customer when picking out an LMS to use. Only three percent of buyers sign up for an LMS without demoing it. Though 51 percent of people only will demo one or two products before making a choice.
  • What do people care about when picking an LMS? The most important factor was functionality at 39 percent. Other main factors include reliability (20 percent), training support (17 percent), and price (12 percent). However, every decision maker will prioritize these things differently and likely have some special needs for their LMS as well. It’s important for learning management systems to stay versatile for this reason.
  • The vast majority of businesses that use LMS will use them to develop live online learning in their programs. Most also plan to introduce enterprise social learning networks (58 percent) and include open resources for their learning programs (64 percent).
  • Using LMS, about 68 percent of employees prefer to learn at work, and 58 percent want to learn at their own pace.
  • Out of all learning and development departments in North America, about 70 percent use a learning management system.
  • Capterra reports that about 74 percent of learners think LMS had a positive impact during COVID-19.
  • Nearly every learning and development professional (93 percent) wants to bring live online learning into their LMS as an option. It might be a virtual classroom or another form, but experts want that available to them.

eLearning and Online Learning Platform Statistics

With the rise of the internet and eLearning came the rise of the online learning platform (sometimes referred to as an eLearning platform), which is a major part of the current eLearning industry. The online learning platform can help create courses and make them available to the public, while that public doesn’t need to belong to any given organization. And an online learning platform is focused mostly on courses.

You might also wonder what’s the difference between an online learning platform and an LMS. An online learning platform generally means more to the public, and one can find more regularly available courses. An LMS is usually dedicated to schools and universities and manages the logistics of education, such as attendance, grades, and other things, in addition, to providing help with lessons. An online learning platform isn’t interested in that, it’s just meant to help convey information and host courses for the most part.

Yet what else can we learn about online learning platforms? Here are some key statistics:

  • The best way to showcase how important they are to eLearning is to give a few examples. There are 50 million students are registered with Udemy alone, and it is one of the most popular online learning platforms as of this writing.
  • The number of content creators on Udemy is also impressive, with more than 20,000. This is growing every day, and more subjects are being added regularly. The same trends for practically every learning platform that is well put together and has good technical support.
  • In the past few years, eLearning platforms have become extremely popular. In 2021, Coursera has 20 million new student registrations. This is an increase of 91 million students from 71 million the previous year (there was a spike due to COVID).
  • The courses on Coursera are quite popular and well-received by the students who review them. About 81 percent of Coursera learners give their courses a five-star rating.
  • There is money to be made from instructing on an eLearning platform, though it heavily depends on your popularity. Skillshare teachers get paid per minute watched by students each month. The top teachers can earn about $3,000 a month per class. 
  • Masterclass has a slightly different model, though it is more apt to use celebrity instructors for certain topics (famous actors and authors, etc.). One article reports that these celebrity instructors can get an up-front payment of about $100,000 and then get 30 percent of the revenue from the class from then on.
  • And overall, course creators and teachers have earned a great deal. Course creators have earned more than $1 billion on Thinkable and Teachable.
  • Course creators on eLearning platforms do put in a lot of time to earn what they do (and some would debate they should be earning more). About 53 percent of course creators will spend three months or more creating a course. This is a much larger percentage than those on the extreme ends, such as the four percent that took a week or less and the seven percent that took two years or more to make their courses.
  • Independent eLearning is most popular on online learning platforms, but what categories are most popular? Currently, the most popular categories on Teachable are marketing, food and drink, and self-habits.
  • The average price of a course sold on one platform, Podia, was $137. That’s affordable to a lot of people, given the contents of a full course.
  • And given the sunk cost, participants are more likely to complete a paid course than a free one. People who start a free course might be interested to see what it’s about.

eLearning and Micro Learning Statistics

What is micro learning, and what does it have to do with eLearning? Essentially, micro learning is learning a subject in small chunks, often when one has the time or needs to kill five minutes while waiting in line. Other people might make a micro lesson a part of their morning or evening routine. This type of learning wasn’t so possible in the past unless one wanted to take a reference book everywhere or make flashcards on the regular. Yet thanks to the smartphone, micro learning is a viable strategy for many online learning platforms and learning apps to give a try.

Micro learning vs. Macro learning

Some apps rely almost exclusively on micro learning and are among the most successful apps one can find. The theory is that people might not be able to dedicate hours regularly to classes, but if someone spends a few minutes a day learning a language, for example, then they’ll eventually make a lot of progress on their goal.

Macro learning, on the other hand, is the learning you might be familiar with, such as classes, lectures, and textbooks. While it may be necessary for some subjects with bigger concepts and more hands-on learning methods that require setup, people with attention issues or who frequently have a few minutes to spare sing the praises of micro learning.

They each can have their place, but for the moment, let’s look at some stats on micro learning and eLearning:

  • Schools are finding that micro learning has its place in the education of children. Studies have found that micro learning improves learning transfer by 18 percent compared to traditional methods of teaching. Engagement also increases by 50 percent, which is incredibly important for retention and teaching in general. A 300 percent increase in development speed and a 50 percent decrease in development cost round out the benefits found from one source.
  • How much does retention improve? It can vary from person to person, but it is estimated at 20 percent.
  • Long-term retention is improved even more. Using micro learning methods, long-term retention is improved by 80 percent.
  • Employees also prefer to learn in smaller chunks and more manageable sections of time. 58 percent of employees would be more likely to online training if the information was broken into smaller chunks. Rarely do people want to sit down for huge marathon training sessions for their work, and rarely is all the information retained when such methods are used.
  • Micro learning truly is huge in the eLearning space. It is responsible for more than 60 percent of online learning experiences, and this number is still liable to grow as micro learning catches on more.
  • The time spent on micro learning apps adds up once people get a habit going. In one example, Fortune 500 customers of one app had a target to have people spend 20 minutes a month on the app. The end result was an average of two hours and 23 minutes per month.
  • Learning and development professionals overall prefer to use micro learning (80 percent of them). This is because learners prefer it, increasing engagement and making their jobs a lot easier for it.
  • Most micro learning apps try to match their users’ learning speeds and attention spans. And studies have shown that for most humans, three to seven minutes is the ideal amount of time to be paying full attention to something.

eLearning and MOOC Statistics

One of the biggest terms you will see related to eLearning is MOOC, which stands for a massive open online course. They are generally free courses that a university or other organization makes available to the public or a large group of people for free. It usually involves filming lectures, making them publicly available, and then making class materials available so students can keep track and learn at their own pace. While it might not be as in-depth or hands-on as enrolling in such a class, it is a huge benefit to people who might be interested in a subject or are less concerned with grades and degrees and just want to learn.

A guide to MOOC and its types

It is one of the most important options when it comes to eLearning, and it is how many adult learners expand their horizons and decide whether a subject is worth pursuing in a more formal context. There has been a huge rise in MOOCs since the 2000s. You might have heard of the OpenCourseWare project, which was an initiative from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that had 50 courses available with materials such as video lectures and assignments, all from professors at the institution. At the end of the decade, Udemy was founded, leading to a massive rise in both instructors and students engaging in MOOCs.

The future of MOOCs looks bright, and there is still more to learn about them. Here are a few more notes and statistics on the subject:

  • While many MOOCs are free, that doesn’t mean all of them are, and it doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made with them. The total MOOC market is worth about $5.16 billion as of this writing, and it is expected that it will be worth $63 billion by 2027. This is an aggressive estimate, but it is possible, given the overall growth of eLearning.
  • Out of the expected $63 billion, more than a third of that is expected to come from the United States.
  • Which platforms or companies are the top MOOC providers? They are Coursera with 97 million learners, edX with 42 million, Swayam with 22 million, and FutureLearn with 17 million. Numbers may vary with other statistics depending on who counts as a learner versus a member and the time the data was collected.
  • While MOOCs are incredibly popular, only about 47 percent of students are aware of them.
  • On a related note, just because courses are popular and many people sign up for them doesn’t mean people always engage with them. About 52 percent of people who sign up for an eLearning course do not participate in course material whatsoever. They sign up and then don’t think about it ever again. And in the UK, the completion rate for MOOCs is about 13 percent.
  • Among the top free online courses, technology is the most popular subject. This is fitting, given the medium of teaching.
  • Though this is not for lack of other topics. There are at least 13,500 MOOCs to be found online, with more coming out every day.
  • More than 50 MOOC-based, fully online Master’s degree programs are available currently.
  • Of the top 25 universities in the United States, 22 offer free online courses of some type.
  • Who uses MOOCs? Many people who already have degrees use them. More than half of MOOC users have a degree already, and 44 percent of MOOC learners have a postgraduate degree.
  • However, it is expected that the Asia-Pacific market will be a quickly growing one for MOOCs for at least the next few years until 2025.

eLearning and Gamification Statistics

We all know of the popularity of video games and games in general, even if we don’t play them. It’s an industry larger than practically the rest of media combined, and it’s still growing (especially on mobile). Yet gaming also has a lot to teach us and offer when it comes to eLearning and engagement. Gamification is the use of games or gamelike elements to encourage participation in something. It can turn the mundane into fun and add a sense of reward to learning tasks and assignments. Gamification should be related to a serious or productive task, or else you just have a video game (perhaps a fun one, but just a game nonetheless).

Dos and Don'ts of Gamification in eLearning

There are some clear benefits to gamification when it is done well. It can fight boredom, encourage people to learn more and stay engaged with an app, and teach people things in creative and unique ways. It can even teach problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which traditional learning methods might have difficulty with.

Here are some of the key things to know about gamification in the eLearning space:

  • In general, gamification motivates 72 percent of employees to work harder.
  • Rewards do help. Learners will complete 26 percent more games when extrinsic motivation is added.
  • However, real-life rewards are best, with 35 percent of employees saying that they would be the best motivator to work with a company’s LMS.
  • If there’s a leaderboard, learners will, on average, check it three times a day. This can vary greatly depending on how competitive the learner is.
  • Out of new hires, more than half reported being very motivated after using a gamified training program.
  • About 30 percent of learning and development leaders want to incorporate gamification of some sort into their training programs.
  • Gamification can increase learner engagement up to 60 percent from the norm.
  • About 89 percent of employees think that they would be more productive or otherwise get better results if their work were more gamified. This includes training programs and learning for work.
  • By the end of 2020, the gamified eLearning market will be worth $1.5 billion.

Mobile eLearning Statistics

We’ve already alluded to the size of the mobile eLearning market. Yet there’s so much more to it than that. Mobile is where much of the cutting edge of the market is getting tried out. What we learn from other types of apps is getting applied to eLearning apps. You might use eLearning apps on mobile and barely notice it. The number of people on mobile outnumbers desktop users, and many people are now mobile-only. This means that eLearning platforms have to go where the people are. And since everyone is on-the-go anyhow, those that can make the most of mobile platforms will have the advantage.

Benefits of mobile learning over traditional learning

Much of what can be said about mobile eLearning has already been said to some degree in other sections. Nonetheless, there is still more to say about it and its potential in a more focused context below:

  • The average mobile learning session will last anywhere from three to ten minutes, depending on the situation and the design of the app.
  • Compared to learners using computers, learners using mobile devices will complete their tasks and course materials 45 percent faster.
  • People feel more motivated on their phones. 70 percent of learners felt more motivated when they used a mobile device for training when compared to a computer.
  • About half of the global student population does not have a traditional computer. That means for eLearning to grow, it must go mobile.
  • On EdApp, 60 percent of all activity happens on mobile devices.
  • Interestingly, 60 percent of people prefer vertical orientation for their smartphone when learning.
  • The average completion rate for a mobile eLearning course is about 82 percent. This can vary depending on the course and the course provider.
  • The majority of learning and development professionals find personalization is key. eLearning, regardless of platform, should not be cookie-cutter.
  • People are more apt to listen to notifications on mobile devices. And sending notifications to a user makes them more likely to complete a micro assignment or keep learning.
  • About 14 percent of students use their smartphones for instructional purposes daily. 20 percent use it weekly.
  • The average person will spend two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. How much of that time could be spent on eLearning with the right app?

eLearning in Businesses and the Workplace Statistics

Learning is by no means limited to academia and schools. To keep up in a competitive world and economy, employees cannot simply take what they learned in school and run with it for the rest of their lives. They need to be able to build upon those skills with extra training. They also need to learn how to best utilize new tools developed for their profession. 

And eLearning has allowed businesses and managers access to materials that would be extremely hard to find a few decades ago. The latest studies, techniques, and tools are now just a click away. Training related to those things is usually just a few clicks further. And on top of that, eLearning makes training easier than ever. It is more appealing to employees who would be less than happy about a series of training days.

Here are some statistics about businesses, eLearning, and the workplace:

  • For the years 2017 to 2026, corporate eLearning is expected to grow 250 percent or more.
  • It is estimated that eLearning courses improve a team member’s productivity by 15 to 25 percent and improve the engagement of a team member by 18 percent.
  • Businesses believe in eLearning if nothing else. 72 percent of organizations think that using eLearning gives them a competitive advantage. Though if everyone is doing it, how much of an advantage does it bring?
  • Going back to even 2018, 90 percent of corporations offered eLearning opportunities to employees.
  • Learners gain in their careers from eLearning. 94 percent of learners reported seeing career benefits after giving themselves more time to spend on learning.
  • The corporate eLearning industry is expected to be worth $50 billion by 2026.
  • At least 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use eLearning for training purposes, and 41.7 percent use some form of technology for training.
  • More Fortune 500 companies likely use eLearning, but we are still waiting for more data on the matter.
  • When it comes to eLearning for employee training purposes, some methods work better than others. 82 percent of enterprise employees state that interactive videos work better and hold their attention better than non-interactive ones. Otherwise, 72 percent of employees report not giving a video their full attention.
  • Among corporate eLearning campaigns, the main goal for most of them is closing the skills gap. Other goals include improving engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational growth.
  • And there is a skills gap in both the eyes of experts and employees. 83 percent of employees worldwide state there is a gap, and 62 percent say they are affected by it personally.
  • Among small businesses, 98 percent will use video-based training programs for eLearning purposes.
  • One source states that for every $1 invested in eLearning, employees will deliver $30 of increased productivity.
  • On average, 42 percent of businesses that utilize eLearning in some way generate more income.

Benefits of eLearning

If eLearning didn’t have benefits, there wouldn’t be so many people and businesses interested in it. Yet eLearning is such a big thing that sometimes we can’t be certain exactly what the benefits are or to what extent eLearning is helping us. We can look at how it helps information retention among children and adults. We can look at increased productivity in the workplace. We can also talk about the social factor and how people are connected worldwide.

Benefits of eLearning

Interestingly, eLearning isn’t just good for education and training. It can be good for the environment as well. It can cut 85 percent of related carbon dioxide emissions. And studies seem to show that related energy consumption can lessen by 90 percent via eLearning. It takes a lot of power to get people to schools and universities and then keep the lights on.

We talked about many benefits and overall pluses of eLearning in other sections. Yet here are some of the other main benefits of eLearning:

  • Students can retain up to 65 percent more information when they are using eLearning.
  • It also doesn’t take as long for students to learn. eLearning can reduce necessary learning time for material by up to 60 percent. It might be related to the fact that eLearning can allow students to set their own pace with the material compared to the classroom or other traditional methods of learning.
  • Students generally like the tools they get to play with when it comes to eLearning. About 96 percent of students say that eLearning tools are fun to use when they want to learn things on their own.
  • One of the unspoken benefits of eLearning is that materials can be updated at any time. Is there a typo or minor error in an assignment? An instructor can upload changes or make notes as needed. Courses can be updated to reflect the latest data.
  • In addition to the environmental benefits listed in the opening, there is also the fact that eLearning tools and materials replace literal tons of paper waste. In the next few decades, handouts and physical textbooks might be things of the past.
  • When used properly, eLearning platforms and LMSs can reduce the paperwork and menial work required of teachers and administrators. While mission creep can be a factor in such circumstances, less time administrating can mean more time focusing on what matters to students and educators alike.

Challenges of eLearning

Much of what we have said and reported about eLearning has been positive. Yet unfortunately, not everything is perfect about eLearning, and there are still major challenges to tackle. Some of these are social problems, others are rooted in technology (or lack of access), and others still relate to the training of educators who have never worked with eLearning tools before. Computer literacy is required to get the most out of eLearning, and computer literacy is not 100 percent, despite the efforts of eLearning itself. The world is reacting quickly to changing times, and there are lots of roadblocks and speedbumps along the way when it comes to these new technologies

These challenges will not go away overnight, and they can show some deeper problems that we need to look at. With that in mind, here are some related statistics:

  • While retention rates can benefit from eLearning in many cases, the great experiment that was remote learning during the pandemic led to some poor grades. Middle school students got up to 30 percent more D and F grades with online learning. Some regions had 70 percent more failing grades with online learning. While the exact reasons for this need to be studied further, there is still work to be done in schools to ensure some students don’t get left behind.
  • Similarly, it is estimated that the average student loses one-third of a year in the reading process and three-fourths of a year in math, which is something that will be felt in the educational system for the next decade and a half at least.
  • Teachers do not always feel prepared when they have to create online learning lessons. One in three teachers feels that they are significantly less prepared for work at the grade level. Additionally, the hybrid model used by some schools that involve both in-classroom learning and remote learning leads to some teachers having to create and administrate two different lesson plans. This is not sustainable with current systems in most regions.
  • The elephant in the room when it comes to eLearning is that not all students have access to the devices and connections they need to learn properly. Alternatively, many homes do not have a good space for learning. Problems include:
  • About 33 percent of homes do not have a good space for learning.
  • About 25 percent of Black and 23 percent of Hispanic households do not have access to high-speed internet, practically required for eLearning.
  • About 25 percent of 15-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have access to a computer.
  • Schools in low-income and rural areas are 50 percent more likely to lack access to high-speed internet. This makes using eLearning tools in the school difficult, and it also makes it hard for Learning to take place based in the school. Add on top of this the fact that 45 percent of schools overall have a slow WiFi connection.
  • Educators have concerns about eLearning. About 33 percent of professors say they’ll need to redesign course materials for eLearning. The vast majority of them say they’re concerned about engagement in online classes. And a third of professors say they lack support for eLearning.
  • One of the major problems of the past few years is that we have the technology, but few schools and teachers believe they have the training to make the most of it.
  • About 18 percent of schools think that teachers aren’t trained enough to use technology for teaching purposes.
  • About 34 percent of schools are worried about technical support for eLearning technology.
  • About 14 percent of schools think other priorities limit the use of technology in the classroom.

The Bottom Line: eLearning is the Future

eLearning is a way for people of all backgrounds to improve their life. Some educators are embracing eLearning more than others. Yet the fact remains that eLearning methods increase retention in many people. They allow people of all backgrounds and interests to improve themselves. And they’ve changed how companies train and improve their employees. Most people are aware of online learning. Not only that, but it is a multibillion-dollar global industry.

There will be further debates about the future of eLearning and its place in our society. However, it has become indispensable and significantly impacted our academic sector. People now turn to eLearning for every subject. Whether it is a micro learning app or an online course for a future degree, it is a part of everyday life.

What can we expect from eLearning in the future? Growth, for starters. This is an engine that has turned on and will not stop even if people want it to. The spread of information is underway. The world is becoming more educated about it. Similarly, we will see the business of eLearning grow. We will likely see more people employed directly and indirectly by the eLearning industry. And most excitingly, for some, we will see the use of new technologies (perhaps AR and VR) in eLearning. This opens up new methods of teaching and other exciting possibilities. Perhaps the fully virtual classroom is not as far away as some people think.

We hope that this piece gave you all the information you need or want about eLearning, and we encourage you to do more research into the topic. We thank you for reading, and wish you the best in your future learning endeavors!

David Hudson


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