Babson Study: Over 7.1 Million Higher Ed Students Learning Online

      Babson Study: Over 7.1 Million Higher Ed Students Learning Online

PR Newswire

WELLESLEY, Mass., Jan. 15, 2014

Online enrollment growth, while still substantial, is slowing.

WELLESLEY, Mass., Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --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 over 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," added co-author Jeff

"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, SVP, 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. Our goal is to equip our partners with the services and solutions
they need to help more students graduate and become workforce ready."

"The 2013 survey findings reinforce the first-hand experience of our members,
who continue to demonstrate that online learning has become a fundamental
component of today's higher education environment," said Joel Hartman, Sloan-C
Board President and Vice Provost and CIO, of the University of Central
Florida. "Sloan-C is privileged to continue our 11-year partnership with the
Babson Survey Research Group, and with Pearson, in bringing this important
research to our members and the higher education community. These surveys have
become recognized as a primary resource for tracking and understanding the
growth of online learning and its impact on higher education."

Key report findings include:

  oOver 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
  oThe online enrollment growth rate of 6.1 percent is the lowest recorded
    for this report series.
  oThirty-three percent of higher education students now take at least one
    course online.
  oThe percent 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 77.0 percent last year, but fell back to 74.1 percent this
  oThe proportion of chief academic leaders that say online learning is
    critical to their long-term strategy dropped from 69.1 percent to 65.9
  oNinety 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 year's time.
  oOnly 5.0 percent of higher education institutions currently offer a MOOC
    (Massive Open Online Course), another 9.3 percent report MOOCs are in the
    planning stages.
  oLess than one-quarter of academic leaders believe that MOOCs represent a
    sustainable method for offering online courses.

The eleventh annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey
Research Group and the College Board, is the leading barometer of online
learning in the United States. Based on responses from over 2,800 academic
leaders, the complete survey report, "Grade Change" is available at

Previously underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the report has been
able to remain independent through the generous support of Pearson and the
Sloan Consortium.

Pearson, the world's leading learning company, has global reach and
market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer
publishing (NYSE: PSO). Pearson helps people and institutions break through to
improved outcomes by providing innovative print and digital education
materials, including personalized learning products such as MyLab and
Mastering, education services including custom publishing, content-independent
platforms including the EQUELLA digital repository, and the Pearson
LearningStudio online learning platform and OpenClass online learning

The Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership
organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of
higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the
quality, scale, and breadth of education. Sloan-C is a non-profit,
member-sustained organization.

The Babson Survey Research Group in the Arthur M. Blank Center for
Entrepreneurial Research at Babson College conducts regional, national, and
international research projects, including survey design, sampling
methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

SOURCE Babson Survey Research Group

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