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Online Education Statistics – How COVID-19 Changed the Way We Learn?

Online education statistics

Online schooling statistics show that around 6.6 million students are enrolled in some form of online learning education. Most undergraduate programs nowadays involve some portion of online learning, as institutions begin to utilize online learning or E-learning more. Even with the advancement and trends involving online learning, institutions are still far from completely shifting to exclusive online learning. 

85% of students enrolled in online programs chose to understand the importance and impact of online learning. The majority of the students felt that improvements may be necessary but online learning has become better suited in the fast-paced industry than traditional learning settings. The pandemic has caught everyone off guard that even the most equipped institutions to handle the current situations are still far from implementing a perfect online program that would cater 100 percent of their students.

General Statistics

  • More public institutions are using distance learning education systems and online learning technology than most private institutions.
  • Online education growth mostly fell on the programs from the undergraduate.
  • Online learning trends suggest that a part of the education course is to be done online with at least 32% of students in public institutions having one distance education course up to complete distance learning education.
    • Of the 4.6 million students in the public institution offering an online course, 3 million students have taken in at least one distance education course
    • With 1.6 million students in the public school programs are enrolled exclusively in distance education program
  • Online school statistics indicate that private schools in the United States of America are still transitioning to offering an online course with only 1.1 million students from a private nonprofit institution enrolled in some sort of distance learning courses.
    • 392,155 students enrolled in at least one distance education course.
    • 788,407 students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses.
  • With the current pandemic, the number of students that would choose distant learning would increase from the reason of heath scare compared to the highest reason from the previous years which is 47% chose an online course due to them being unable to attend school.
  • Many Online programs offer a unique and limited course that 21% of students enrolled in distant learning due to the fact that it cannot be found elsewhere.
  • Last year, schools increased an average of 45% of their budget to support online learning of both 4 years and 2 years programs.
  • Advancement in technology has allowed 67% of students to complete online programs using just mobile phones.

What is the Percentage of Students Taking Online Classes?

With schools getting in the trends and learning, online education success rates have been increasing in recent years, recognizing the effectiveness of online learning even compared to classroom courses. More and more schools are now offering more online programs or E-learning, about 33 percent of college students have been taking one or more online courses. With online courses becoming more convenient for both students and the institutions, the trend would most likely be continuing its upward trend. Specifically with the current pandemic, and all options have been pointed to shifting into non-contact classes. 

An online course has also allowed students the freedom to learn at their own pace and fit them in their current activities without sacrificing too much of their time. Keeping them free to do more activities that might be focused on their career or their personal learnings.

How Many Schools Offer Online Courses?

According to online classes statistics, there is about 21 percent of public institutions offering some sort of online course while private institutions have only 13 percent offering online courses within the 2017 to 2018 school year. Charter schools offered online course at a much higher percentage (30 percent) than traditional public schools (20 percent) 

Technology and education statistics show that even though advancements in technology and trends have rapidly increased the growth, development, and expansion of online learning programs. This has not convinced the majority of institutions and scholars to shift its focus on online learning. The current pandemic has shown us that the lack of faculty support, training, and preparation of institutions has been the main reason for some faculty members to be hesitant with distant learning. The faculty has accepted the value and importance of online learning but lack of preparations has prevented some to fully accept the notion that online learning is the new trend.

Growth of Online Education Facts & Figures 

Online school statistics show that the growth of online learning has shown a tremendous rise over the last decade. The improvement in technologies, internet speed, and advancement in the educational strategies have allowed the industry to grow rapidly, from a forecast of $165 billion in 2014, it is now forecasted to be around 350 billion dollars by 2025. The rise of Covid-19 has also opened up multiple opportunities to pursue online learning in most institutions. Schools still closed and prevented from having the face to face classes, preparedness for online classes has been continuous for all institutions to prevent them from being left behind. 

Online Education Enrollment Statistics

  • Around 33% or 6.6 million students among 19.7 million are enrolled in online learning education. Among those 6.6 million students are further divided into the following: 
    • 5.5 million are undergraduate students who are a part of the trend that at least one of their courses is done online with online tools such as blackboard.
    • 1.4 million are students pursuing post-baccalaureate that are working or far from the campus. Usually, post-grad students enrolled in institutions that would allow them to pursue other things such as their career or their other passion.
  • 274,211 or 9.1% of students decided to take at least one but not all of their courses online as usually some coursework is still required to visit their campus once in a while.
  • A high percentage of students (868,708 or 28.9%) are enrolled in a full-time distance learning online course.
  • Among the 3.1 million (15%) students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses are as follows:
    • 142,840 were living outside the United States
    • 1.1 million were among those who tried to enroll outside the state they were living
    • 1.7 million are pursuing the trend of taking online course regardless if they are near the institution and solely focus on online learning

Online Learning Experience (Students & faculty)

Online Learning: Faculty Experience

  • Statistics on online education growth suggest that due to the advancement in technology and necessity, at least 13 percent more faculty have experienced teaching in an online learning setting. With 46 percent of faculty stating that they have done it compared to the 39 percent from 4 years ago.
  • Last year has shown that 38% of faculty members have begun to incorporate a blended or hybrid course format that focuses on including both online learning together with its face-to-face instruction.
  • As change might have been inevitable but still 41% of instructors teaching online have only used distance learning technology for a little less than 5 years, but some (25 percent) have started to teach online courses for at least 10 years.
  • With lack of preparation for transfer to online learning just under 70% of instructors are teaching online with their original coursework, while 17% are teaching modules from instructional designer
    • 14% are among those who rely on other faculty members for their modules as maybe a part of a group or a department
    • 67% were able to design their own combination of modules that would be able to cater to both blended and online courses and have received professional development on their own.
    • 39% resulted in using modules from an instructional designer
    • Most instructors do not support the usage of external vendors for online course delivery to students
  • With time as faculty members become reliant and comfortable in incorporating technology in their teaching, the percentage of faculty that supported the increase of usage of technology in education has gradually increased from 29% in 2017 to 39% in 2019.
  • 39% of faculty members indicated they supported increased usage of technology in education, compared to 29% in 2017
  • In 2019, 60% of faculty members feel that academic dishonesty is more prevalent in online teaching vs. face-to-face settings compared to 39% who feel it occurs equally in both situations
  • As institutions continue to require the inclusion of online education in most of their programs, professional development for their faculty has been required to meet the demands of online learning.

Online Learning: Student Experience

Learning statistics online showed the most popular Learning Management Systems platforms in higher education include Moodle, Blackboard, D2L, and Canvas and mostly being used by institutions. With most coursework being carried out with the use of the following platform in which students can easily access. With learning modules being uploaded as a webinar or live zoom meetings, an instructor can freely use platforms of his liking unless a platform is recommended by an institution. It can also be utilized to assign coursework to students, report grades and outcomes, and lead discussions.

  • Since most people are focused on visual learning that modules are uploaded via Videos and Powerpoint presentations are very helpful to the majority (58%) of the students while only 3 percent of students did not bother to use them. 58% of students felt these were very helpful, compared to 3% who did not use them
  • With students doing their own learning pace, 52% of students felt that learning materials or textbooks were very helpful, compared to 3% who did not use them
  • 51% of students experience that homework is helpful to further learn the topics of their coursework.
  • Online quizzes have become interactive as such applications like Kahoot allow instructors to give some sense of excitement to students while assessing their learnings. 49% of students enjoyed the quizzes and felt it has been a major part of their learnings while 4% did not enjoy them.

In a time when earning money has become hard due to the pandemic, online learning has become sustainable with fewer expenses for students to think about, 61% of students are in support of an online learning program that less expensive than traditional courses. Even with the use of only mobile phones, 79% of students have completed their coursework only using this. It has come to the point that mobile devices have become so advanced that the most basic use of computers can be done on a mobile phone.

Distance/Online Learning: Student Satisfaction Rate

Trusting the shift to exclusive online learning is hard especially for those who do not have the capability to learn on their own. That is why 23 percent of students still have some concern regarding if the quality of education from the modules can be translated to them learning. While 32 percent showed no concerns in the shift to online learning as they trust that online learning is sustainable.  online college statistics showed the following:

    • That 18% were concerned if a degree earned online would bear the same weight as a degree earned in the traditional setting.
    • Sociable students who are about 17% are concerned about their social interaction or lack thereof from their classmates and instructor.
    • 9% were still adamant that they would be able to use the current technologies and Softwares necessary for their course work. 

Distance education statistics show the convenience for a student taking an online learning program that has an external commitment and those who are living out of state.

Both undergraduate and graduate students felt that online learning is the same or even better than the traditional setting, allowing them to pursue some activities and more learnings. With 37% of the students saying that the online learning experience was even better than the traditional face to face classes. While 48% felt that learning both online and face to face is about the same. And 15 percent said that online learning was not as effective.

Online Learning and COVID-19 Impact

The rise of the pandemic showed the importance of preparing for online learning programs. Online schooling statistics showed some institutions are still unprepared, here are some of the online degree statistics that you need to check:

  • With a lack of adequate preparation around 3,278 higher education institutions and 22.3 million students would bear the impact of COVID-19.
  • The pandemic has pushed 98% of institutions to move the majority of there face to face classes online, with the University of Washington to be the first major university to move classes and exams online 
  • COVID-19 did not only suspended 95% of institutions travel for faculty & staff, it has also pushed institutions to move 93% of its work to be done remotely.
  • It might have been late but 43% of institutions had invested in pursuing new online learning resources that would allow them to resume the classes and also continue to give the best quality of education they have.

During this pandemic, the top concerns of Higher Education Institutions are the following:

  • Students’ mental health- 92%

With students being unable to go outside, depression might kick in with students who do not have a comfortable situation during the pandemic.

  • Employees’ mental health- 88%

With recession most likely taking place because of the pandemic, earning money might have been a cause of issue for the employees, Institutions are making sure that they were able to satisfy their employees’ needs during the course of the pandemic.

  • Short-term financial costs (unbudgeted)- 87%

A sudden shift to online learning would boost the expenses of an institution that didn’t allot budgets for an unforeseen situation like this.

  • Accelerated rates of student attrition- 85%
  • Accessibility to online learning platforms/tools- 76%
  • Faculty readiness for online learning- 75%
  • Technological readiness for online learning- 57%

Longer-term issues university administrators are concerned with include:

  • Overall financial stability- 89%
  • The decline in future enrollment- 88%
  • Ability to afford/employ staff/faculty- 81%

Will online learning be able to sustain the same number of enrollees that would be able to allow institutions to hire a certain number of its employees. Some employees might be categorized as non-essential for online learning that might be left out unless the routing of positions is done by the institution.

  • Demands for facilities reimbursement-62%

With school facilities not used, demands for reimbursement of the cost of facilities in enrolments would be high. Will institutions be able to afford to pay for the facilities that would not be used for online learning.

  • Demands for tuition reimbursement- 55%

Without using the school’s facilities, students think the cost of education should be lesser than usual.

With online education, students might result in an institution with online learning and would just enroll in their own country’s institution that offers similar online learning programs.

Types of Distance/Online Learning Programs

One of the most common types of online learning programs according to online degree statistics involves the following:

  • Exclusively online: A program that completely utilizes online programs with webinars, zoom meetings, instructions, assessments, and project proposals.
  • Blended or Hybrid: Between 25-50% of instructions, assignments, and discussion takes place online
    • Students study course material outside class and utilize classroom time to reinforce learning, ask questions, and interact with their instructor
  • Face-to-Face Web Enabled: Virtual face to face with students and instructors
  • Emergency remote teaching: If sudden emergencies would arise and teachers and students cannot conduct classes in school, a remote setup is on standby for coursework to proceed.

What Are the Challenges of Online Learning?

Challenges would certainly arise in unprepared institutions and students with inadequate equipment for online courses. This could particularly affect those for-profit schools that enroll high numbers of low-income students. Courses that have low passing and completion rates whether taught online or face to face, would most likely have low retention rates of enrollees. 

  • 69% would be promoting new online programs that would cate the demands on online learning
  • 59% costing of new online programs
  • 34% return of investment for online learning programs
  • 16% how to incorporate third-party content providers/designers and choosing content`
  • The last 4% would be faculty members refusal to use new technology to support online instruction and students, that would meet the quality found in face-to-face instruction


Learning can’t stop, as there are other ways for the educational system to continue. Online schooling suggests that it may come in handy for an institution to prepare for the worst, that the 6.6 million students enrolling for online learning would be able to continue with hiccups. Even though more than 50% of students enrolled in online learning still visit a school for reports and mentoring, the current pandemic might make a blended online course as an exclusive online course. With distance learning or online learning to be the future of the educational system, it’s better to pay more attention to it now to eliminate or at least lessen the potential negative impact of unprepared institutions.

 Frequently Asked Questions
Why are online classes becoming more popular?

With the advancement in technology, it has become more appealing for every type of individual seeking for learnings. It may suit students who do not want to leave the comfort of their home to working professionals who are focused on pursuing a career but need personal development. Online classes have allowed students to have the freedom to work, study, and play without sacrificing too much that one would have an impact on the other. The flexibility of online learning has also become a big factor that with proper use of technology, one might be on the way to work and still study while commuting at the same time. 

Why do students choose online classes?

Imagine studying while on your bed, or at the comfort of your sofa or even while doing some workout. Online classes have allowed students to learn in the most convenient way they imagined. They can learn at their own pace, work on other things while studying and spend less money on transport and food. They can also balance their work, play, and study life that it would be most beneficial to them.

Is online learning effective?

The majority of students felt online learning is the same or even better than the traditional setting. With graduate students preferring it than traditional shows how effective online learning is.

How many students take online courses?

Around 33% or 6.6 million students among 19.7 million are enrolled in online learning education



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