Wellesley, Mass. — Jan. 15
The 2013 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 7.1 million. The 6.1 percent growth rate, although the lowest for a decade, still represents more than 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course.
“While the rate of growth in online enrollments has moderated over the past several years, it still greatly exceeds the growth in overall higher education enrollments,” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group.
“Institutions with online offerings remain as positive as ever about online learning, but there has been a retreat among leaders at institutions that do not have any online offerings,” said co-author Jeff Seaman.
“Core to growing our nation’s economy is the need to provide relevant educational opportunities that will help students meet their career goals,” said Todd Hitchcock, senior vice president, Pearson Online Learning Services. “Institutions are identifying new degree offerings and delivering these programs online due to the fact that they can be delivered more affordably and with greater flexibility.”
Key findings include:
• More than 7.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2012 term, an increase of 411,000 students over the previous year.
• Thirty-three percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
• The percentage of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face grew from 57.2 in 2003 to 77 percent last year, but fell back to 74.1 percent this year.
• The proportion of chief academic leaders who say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy dropped from 69.1 percent to 65.9 percent.
• Ninety percent of academic leaders believe that it is likely or very likely that a majority of all higher education students will be taking at least one online course in five years’ time.
• Only 5 percent of higher education institutions currently offer a massive open online course, while another 9.3 percent report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
• Fewer than one-quarter of academic leaders believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses.
Source: Babson Survey Research Group