Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States

Babson Survey Research Group performed a study on online learning in U.S,  based on responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities. Since ten years Babson is monitoring online learning. Academics were asked some questions and interesting data came out of the report, that we would like to share with you.


–       Only 2.6 % of higher education institutions currently have a MOOC, another 9.4 % report MOOCs are in the planning stages. The largest schools have a higher rate of offering MOOCs (8.9%)

–       Academic believe that MOOCs provide important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy, but don’t represent a sustainable method for online courses

–       Academic leaders have concerns that credentials for MOOC completion will cause confusion about higher education degrees

 Is Online Learning Strategic?

–       In 2002, less than one-half of all higher education institutions reported online education was critical to their longterm strategy. That number is now close to 70 %.

babson2How Many Students are Learning Online?

–       The number of students taking at least one online course increased to  6.7 million.

–       The online enrollment growth rate of 9.3 % is the lowest recorded (it was 20% between 2002 and 2006).

–       The proportion of all students taking at least one online course is 32 %.

Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face?

–       In the first report of this series in 2003, 57.2 % of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face. That number is now 77 %.

Has Faculty Acceptance of Online Increased? 

–       While the number of programs and courses online continue to grow, the perception of chief academic officers of the acceptance of this learning modality by faculty has decreased in the most recent year. Only 30.2 % of chief academic officers believe their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education. This rate is lower than the rate recorded in 2004.

Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Learning 

–       The three main barriers cited are the lack of faculty acceptance and lower retention rate for online courses and lack of discipline.

Babson 2013 report is available here.


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