Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education In the United States

Online Report Card Booklet Icon

The 2015 Survey of Online Learning conducted by Babson Survey Research Group has been released.  This is their 13th annual report on online learning.  This year’s survey and report was co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, StudyPortals, WCET, and Tyton Partners.  Babson’s reports have become known as the “leading barometer of online learning in the United States.” (Previous reports are available here for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007)

The key findings of the report include:

  • A year-to-year 3.9% increase in the number of distance education students, up from the 3.7% rate recorded last year.
  • More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education course (a  total of 5,828,826 students, a year‐to‐year increase of 217,275).
  • The total of 5.8 million fall 2014 distance education students is composed of 2.85 million taking all of their courses at a distance and 2.97 million taking some, but not all, distance courses.
  • Public institutions command the largest portion of distance education students, with 72.7%  of all undergraduate and 38.7% of all graduate‐level distance students.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders that say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy fell from 70.8% last year to 63.3% this year.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the  same or superior to those in face‐to‐face instruction is now at 71.4%.
  • Only 29.1% of academic leaders report that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”  Among schools with the largest distance enrollments, 60.1% report faculty acceptance while only 11.6% of the schools with no distance enrollments do so.

The full report is available here.

Or, here: onlinereportcard

The press release is available here.

An infographic of the findings is available here.

An interactive data site with all of the enrollment data used for the report is available here.

WCET’s companion report with additional IPEDS distance enrollment summaries is available here.