It’s no secret that online learning is becoming more and more popular, with the global elearning industry expected to reach $1 trillion in valuation by 2027. More and more students are transitioning to online learning platforms, whether it’s graduate students or adult learners looking to upskill and further their career. Enrollment in online learning platforms has risen consistently every year in the last decade, and saw a huge increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All these elearning statistics seem to indicate that it’s here to stay, so read on below for everything you need to know about e-learning in 2023.
Key Online Learning Statistics & Trends in 2023
The number of online learning users is expected to reach 57 million by 2027(Source: Prosperityforamerica)
Global E-learning Market to reach USD $457.8 billion by 2026(Source: Reportlinker.com)
2 out of every 5 Fortune 500 companies take advantage of E-learning (Source: Findstack.com)
The corporate elearning industry is expected to be worth nearly $50 billion by 2026(Source: Business Wire)
What is Online Learning?
Online learning is a form of learning that is delivered over the internet, it’s a convenient and flexible way to acquire new skills and knowledge as opposed to a traditional classroom setting. Courses and learning programs can range from academic subjects, to professional training or for the fun of learning a new skill or hobby. A wide variety of learning formats are used from video lectures, interactive quizzes, discussion forums, peer assessment and even live classes. What makes online learning so appealing for many is that you can learn at your own pace, anytime and anywhere on your preferred device.
Online Learning Statistics & Trends in 2023 in detail
Let’s look in more detail about the top elearning statistics and trends to give you a better and more in-depth understanding of how the online learning industry is really booming.
1. The number of online learning platform users is expected to reach 57 million by 2027
Online learning is one of the most important parts of the modern educational system. The global elearning market is growing at a rapid rate in every corner of the world. So whether you are an elementary student, a K 12 student, in higher education or part of a company training, it is very likely you have been introduced to online learning.
3. Since 2020, 98% of Universities moved its classes online
(Source: Higher Ed Partners)
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, higher education was quickly moved online and remote learning has now become the norm. This education revolution was already starting well before the pandemic due to technology changes and student behavior, but the pandemic accelerated this change, and it’s here to stay.
4. 2 out of every 5 Fortune 500 companies take advantage of E-learning
Nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies have acknowledged the importance of incorporating e-learning into their business models. They have seen a correlation between company success and an upskilling of their employees.
5. 70% of students agree that online classes are better than traditional classroom settings
A report from the University of Potomac has found a large percentage of its students prefer online learning over a traditional learning setting. This preferred way of learning is based on advantages like reduced expenses, time-saving allowing learning to fit around your schedule and by using technology, you become more tech-savvy than ever.
6. 95% of online students said they would recommend online education to others
The rates of retaining information have increased with online learning because learners have more control over their learning experience with access to go back and revisit video classes or course material at a touch of a button.
8. By 2020, 98% of US corporations have incorporated online learning into their organization
Online learning can help reduce the use of raw materials like plastic, wood and metals as there is no need to construct schools and educational institutions. As well as that, it reduces the food waste and disposable lunch products of students and teachers. So, it’s a no-brainer really that online learning is more sustainable and helps generate less carbon dioxide as a whole.
10. Elearning has helped to increase income for 42% of US organizations
Nearly half of companies have reported an increase in revenue by switching from traditional learning methods. Elearning has benefited company revenue due to the fact it is convenient and budget friendly.
11. Elearning improves employee performance by 15-25%
Since e-learning improves company efficiency, it follows that employee productivity also improves, with studies showing this can be up to 25%. This increase in productivity improves employee morale, creating a healthy and happy working environment for all.
12. The corporate elearning industry is expected to be worth nearly USD$50 billion by 2026
As the corporate world has adopted online learning for its employees, the elearning industry is expected to grow by 15% annually. The key factors which contribute to this increased growth are the elearning employee training programs and microlearning to keep employees up to date with new skills and technologies.
13. Approximately 62% of students taking online courses are female
A report from Pew Research Center found that school-age children in lower-income households are less likely to have broadband access at home, which naturally leads to students in these households having a disadvantage.
18. Americans with lower incomes have lower levels of technology adoption
A report by Pew Research Center comparing household incomes and the technology devices they owned. Found that 23% of lower income households (who earn less than $30K) didn’t have the following: Smartphone, Desktop, Tablet or Home Broadband.
E-Learning Statistics for Business 2023
Businesses and Companies aren’t missing out on using Online Learning to upskill and train its employees. Check out the latest Online Learning Statistics for Businesses below.
93% of Companies Globally, Plan to Adopt Online Learning (Source: Finances Online)
On Average, 42% of Companies who use elearning generate more income(Source: TechJury)
Corporate e-learning is expected to grow by over 250% between 2017 and 2026(Source: Business Wire)
IBM saved approximately $200 million after switching to e-learning (Source: SH!FT)
With elearning, Employee Engagement can increase by up to 18%(Source: PapersOwl)
19. 93% of Companies Globally, Plan to Adopt Online Learning
Nearly half of companies who use online learning platforms generate more income, which has a positive impact on company revenue. Over 4 in 10 companies that use elearning produce higher returns than companies that don’t.
21. Corporate e-learning is expected to grow by over 250% between 2017 and 2026
In 2017, the corporate e-learning market was valued at $14.23 billion, it is expected to hit $50 billion in 2026. The key factors in this acceleration of market growth are flexibility in learning, low cost, easy accessibility, and an escalation in the number of internet users.
22. IBM saved approximately USD $200 million after switching to e-learning
Companies are able to reduce costs arising from travel, hotel stays, rental apartments, equipment, instructors and so on. When you add all these expenses together, you get a clearer picture of how a company or organization like IBM can save such a significant amount of money.
23. With elearning, Employee Engagement can increase by up to 18%
By offering your employees professional development with elearning courses, it helps them to feel valued, plus it opens up opportunities for promotions and career development. This improvement in employee engagement results in lower employee turnover and better workplace morale.
24. 58% of Employees Globally Prefer to Learn at their own pace
The global corporate e-learning market accounted for $14.23 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $49.87 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period.
Online Learning Stats by Country in 2023
We thought it would be interesting to see how Online Learning is having an impact globally and which parts of the world are taking full advantage of the phenomenon. Check out the latest Online learning statistics by country below.
The Majority of the Global eLearning Industry is in the US and Europe(Source: elearningindustry)
Asia Pacific E-Learning Market size is expected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2026 (Source: Graphical Research)
Asia Pacific E-Learning Market will exceed USD$90 billion by 2026(Source: edventuresgba)
In 2021, the highest number of remote learners on Coursera’s platform are from the US and India(Source: Coursera)
In 2021, the number of EU citizens and residents taking online courses increases with Ireland coming out on top(Source: Schengenvisainfo.com)
27. The Majority of the Global eLearning Industry is in the US and Europe
The combination of smartphones and high-speed internet connectivity in several countries in Asia Pacific will drive growth in the e-learning market. In particular, mobile e-learning technology is gaining high momentum in Asia Pacific with popularity growing in China, South Korea and Australia.
29. Asia Pacific E-Learning Market will exceed USD$90 billion by 2026
The momentum of the growing Asia Pacific E-learning Market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Factors like the Covid-19 pandemic, mobile e-learning and the shift of online learning over traditional learning have all played a part in this predicted market increase.
30. In 2021, the highest number of remote learners on Coursera’s platform are from the US and India
The US tops the charts with 17.3 million learners enrolling in an online course with Coursera, this is followed by India with 13.6 million learners. Then there is Mexico with almost 5 million, followed by Brazil and China taking 4th and 5th place.
31. In 2021, the number of EU citizens taking online courses increases with Ireland out on top
India is one of the leading countries in online learning, and has become an integral part of schooling and in the workplace. Matched with the face the internet is cheaper and more accessible, rural Indian communities are getting online.
33. The European elearning market is expected to grow by $28 billion in the next 5 years.
According to Global Market Insights, the German e-learning market is growing at a rapid rate due to its increase in technology in the education sector. In February 2021, the Berlin Senate Department for Education signed an agreement to use LMS platforms in Schools in Berlin.
In 2016, 21 million students registered to Coursera’s online courses, this number increased annually by close to 7 million in 2018. When the pandemic hit, it triggered three times the amount of registration making it 71 million in 2020 and then by 2021 it was 91 million.
40. Udemy is the most popular elearning platform, with over 50 million students
Udemy was founded in 2009, and it has grown in popularity with its latest numbers as of December 2021 at over 52 million learners with no signs of slowing down. It offers close to 200k elearning courses in categories like Business, Music, Health & Fitness and much more.
41. Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation is the most popular MasterClass on its platform
Grand Canyon University analyzed three engagement metrics of MasterClass trailer videos that included: number of video views, number of likes and number of comments. It found that Chris Voss’ MasterClass had over 22,000,000 views and close to 2,000 likes. You may not have expected that to be the case from a former FBI hostage negotiator, but it’s an interesting insight into what learners are engaged by.
42. 81% of Coursera learners gave their course a 5-star rating
According to Coursera’s 2021 impact report, over 80% of learners would give their course a 5-star rating, which is pretty positive feedback. The average course rating is 4.7 and 94% of learners would recommend Coursera to a friend.
43. Udacity and AWS collaborated to offer 425 Scholarships to women and underrepresented groups
In 2021, Udacity and the AWS partner together to offer scholarships for the AWS Machine Learning Program. Application for the scholarship is open to students over 18 and who are interested in machine learning. In recent years, Udacity has been seen to collaborate with its partners to create scholarship opportunities.
44. Top teachers at Skillshare earn around $3K per month on average
In partnership with Lewis Hamilton the 200,000 free annual MasterClass memberships will go to underserved UK communities focusing on organizations serving black youth and STEAM programming. The hope is to offer new ways of learning and boost students’ opportunities to advance their knowledge and their futures.
48. Mindvalley has a 50.16% demographic of females compared to males
Industry & Academic Experts: As most online learning courses rely on recorded lectures instead of live ones, you can be taught by industry and academic experts at the top of their fields who otherwise wouldn’t have time to teach a class to potentially thousands of students.
Affordable: Since providing online learning doesn’t require the physical resources that a university or other in-person classes does, it can be offered at a fraction of the price, with many online classes available for under $15 or even completely free!
Self-Paced: University classes or similar educational courses often can’t slow down or speed up for learners with different needs, but in this way, online learning is much more versatile. Elearning platforms let you take a course step-by-step however quickly you want.
Flexible: Online learning is a great option for adults who already have a full-time job but are wanting to change careers or take the next step in their career. Not having to show up to classes at a specified time means you can finish your coursework whenever it’s convenient with your schedule.
Variety: The wide range of online courses and programs available is really endless, when you compare it to courses offered in a traditional campus college or university.
Community: Many online learning platforms have forums and resources where you can interact with a community of other people who are studying the same things as you. This can help you build professional and personal connections with other people who share your passions and work in your field.
Online Learning Cons
No in-person lectures: One disadvantage of online learning is that recorded lectures don’t always give you the opportunity to ask questions while you’re being taught. While some online learning platforms have resources for getting help with your questions, you typically won’t be able to ask your questions on the spot.
Hard to focus: Some people have difficulty staying focused when using technology, which can make online learning tricky. Elearning platforms don’t give you the same accountability for paying attention that in-person classes do.
Lack of interaction: At times, online learning may feel isolating, and some may feel they are missing out on social interaction and networking opportunities you get in a traditional classroom setting.
Technical difficulties: Due to the nature of online education, you need to have access to the internet to be able to participate. If you don’t have a computer or other device, or if you have an inconsistent or weak internet connection, online learning may be difficult for you.
Self-discipline: While being able to work at your own pace can be a benefit of online learning, it also means that nobody is making sure you stay on track to finish your course. Online learning requires a high level of self-discipline and motivation.
Impact of Covid-19 for Online Learning
While online learning has been gaining popularity for more than a decade, the Covid-19 pandemic forced many learners and educational institutions to switch to online, making the change happen much quicker than it was previously.
During the height of the pandemic, over 1.6 billion primary, secondary, and graduate students in countries all over the world were unable to attend school. But thanks to advances in online education, many of these students were able to transition to virtual learning.
Some schools were closed for as much as 71 weeks. In the early months of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, almost 52% of university students reported that they were taking at least one online class, and many more enrolled in hybrid courses with limited lectures combined with online work.
Online Learning Statistics: Last Thoughts
The elearning statistics are clear: online learning is the future. More and more businesses and educational institutions are transitioning to online learning all the time, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, you have the facts and stats to prove it.
Some key benefits of online learning as opposed to traditional learning:
Versatile for any kind of lifestyle
Much more affordable than a traditional university education
Lessons taught by experts in the field
Lets you study at your own pace
Gives access to a community of mentors and like-minded peers
Whether you’re a recent high school graduate looking for an option other than traditional education or an employed professional wanting to prepare for the next steps of your career, online learning can be a perfect option for you.
How effective is online learning?
Online learning is not just effective for learners, but it also has a positive impact on our environment. Online courses consume 90% less energy and release 85% less CO2 per student compared to face-to-face classes.
How many people are using e-learning?
In the US, 63% of high school students are using digital learning tools daily and 45% of elementary school students make use of at least one digital learning tool every day. There are 52% of graduates and 39% of undergraduates using online learning platforms and 80% of companies have integrated online learning into its organization.
How much money do students save online compared to traditional learning?
On average, an undergraduate degree at a US-based public university costs almost $23,000, and at a private one it can be over $38,000 (Source: usnews.com). In addition to the tuition costs, community college students typically spend between $11,000 and $12,000 per year in accommodation and living costs (Source: usaadmission.com).
By contrast, online learning certificates are available in all price ranges – starting as little as $10 per course with platforms like Udemy. Some online platforms’ fees are much higher, like Udacity and Coursera who offer Nanodegrees and Degree Programs that start around $1,000, but it’s still a fraction of a traditional University Degree. Potentially, distance education could save you thousands of dollars, not to mention the added income from being able to become employed far quicker than you’d be able to with a four-year degree.
Is getting a degree more affordable online than in-person?
Even for students who are wanting to take on a full-time course load through a university, distance learning can be far more affordable than traditional learning. Taking online classes through a private university can often save online students up to $20,000 per year compared to in-person courses through the same university.
The average university graduate leaves school with over $37,000 worth of student debt, whereas those who choose to learn online are often able to pay for their course upfront or over the duration of the program. Starting a career with no debt can make a huge financial difference over a lifetime. Online classes instead of in-person ones can be significantly more affordable. The average cost per credit hour of online university courses in the US is $282, where it can be up to and more than $1,000 for in-person classes after course fees.
Is online learning quicker than traditional learning?
Getting a bachelor’s degree typically takes at least four years, and can be as much as six years for some difficult programs. By contrast, many e-learning courses can be less than six months long and even as short as a month, helping learners find employment much quicker than traditional education.
Do learners complete online learning programs?
The significant downside to online learning is low completion rates, with one U.S. News study estimating that only between 15% and 35% of online learners actually complete their courses. This doesn’t mean distance learning isn’t right for you, however. First of all, many of these elearning statistics may not be accurate, especially if the learner has just missed a module or didn’t complete a part of the online course. Additionally, completing an online course isn’t always necessary to get value out of it. The extreme affordability of e learning courses means that some learners will sign up for one just to do part of the course and don’t need to finish the whole course.
What are the most popular subjects/topics studied online?
According to Bay Atlantic University (BAU) based on its learners, 30% have graduated from online Business courses, 19% Computers & IT, 14% Health & Medicine and so on. So whether you’re interested in an online course to further your career or just for the fun of it, there’s sure to be an online course that you’ll love. To check out just the vast majority of online courses out there, you can take a look at platforms like MasterClass or Skillshare.
Do future employers take online learning seriously?
As online learning becomes an increasingly more common option, employers are hiring more and more graduates of elearning programs. This is especially common in technical fields such as computer science, where almost 70% of developers have studied online or on their own instead of getting a college degree. Some online learning platforms even boast higher job placement rates than many universities. Udacity, for example, has over 100,000 program graduates and over 7 out of every 10 Udacity graduates finds themself in a favorable career outcome after completing their program.
How many companies provide online learning for their employees?
It’s become common for companies to provide online learning for their employees. This is a great way for employers to help their workers gain the skills they need to provide more value to the company, at a fraction of the cost of sending employees to conferences and professional development seminars. As of January 2022, a whopping 90% of companies provide online learning options for their employees; only 5% of companies did so 25 years ago. It’s clear that online learning has expanded rapidly and seems to be the future.
Can learners without access to a computer still take e-learning courses?
Absolutely! While an internet connection is needed to take an online learning course, learners don’t necessarily need to have a laptop or desktop computer to study. Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Masterclass, and many more, offer apps that can be accessed on anything from a smartphone to even a Roku TV or Apple TV. In fact, 67% of online learning students regularly use mobile devices to finish their coursework
Has online learning peaked? Or will it continue to grow?
The boom in online learning over the last few years has certainly been significant, but data indicates it’s not done growing yet. The portion of online learning that’s growing the quickest is MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs are able to grow rapidly and scale up indefinitely to more online students due to the recorded lectures and automatic project grading many of them have. The market for MOOCs is expected to grow by an average of 29% annually for the next five years, and should continue to grow after that.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.
10/09/23 – What is Online Learning – Added
07/20/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics
06/26/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
05/19/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
04/27/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
03/06/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Business
03/06/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
02/24/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
02/03/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
01/27/23 – Added Online Learning Statistics for Online Learning Platforms
Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.