E-learning Statistics for 2021

Highlights:

  • The online learning industry is forecasted to grow at an annual 21% rate until 2027.
  • The e-learning market is now about 10 years old.
  • April 2020 shows the biggest increase in traffic on e-learning platforms.
  • Mobile learning is forecasted to maintain an annual growth rate of 36.3% down to 2025.
  • 9 out of 10 companies used an e-learning route to teach their employees new skills.

The industry of e-learning is a young one, but each year it grows rapidly. Especially, this rising trend can be seen during and after 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this article is aimed at revealing the main online learning trends of 2021 and then, it focuses mainly on important statistics broken down by subtopics.

Online Learning Trends of 2021

Let’s start by briefly figuring out the main trends of the e-learning industry.

Data-based improvements

Gathering more relevant data and analyzing it properly allows e-learning providers to offer more personalized content and better learning formats for their students. This helps to maximize the ROI of such companies.

Mobile learning (M-learning)

The average growth rate of mobile learning has been nearly 20% over the last year and because this format allows more flexibility, it continues to grow. This also leads to the new approach – creating courses for mobile devices first and then adapting it for a desktop version. 

Microlearning

Microlearning is a short-interaction form of courses that requires shorter attention spans and thus, helps not to lose the engagement of learners. This is also related to rising of m-learning where students spend up to 10 min on one interaction compared to 30 mins during desktop-based learning.

Use of AI

The use of AI gets two main ways, personalized tutors and AI-based chatbots. AI-based instructors will be built on data gathered on each student (like assessing students’ progress) and thus will be able to provide a personalized learning experience. AI-powered chatbots will help with learning support like providing 24/7 feedback by means of FAQ chat interfaces.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

This is a way of creating content for e-learning companies when online students share their knowledge and help solve others students’ problems. This shows a movement to a more open learning environment and a need for classmates’ cooperation.

Gamified content

This kind of content (games, quests, and quizzes) helps to keep students involved while they are gaining new skills. This is aimed to solve the problem of the rising phenomena in online learning when a student is easily interrupted with other online activities during the e-learning.

Online Learning Stats of 2021

General Industry Stats

  • The online learning industry is forecasted to grow at an annual 21% rate until 2027.
  • The global education technology market size was valued at USD 89.49 billion in 2020 and is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9% from 2021 to 2028.  
  • By the end of 2022, the EdTech industry is projected to surpass $243B in revenue.
  • In 2019, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) market was valued at $5.16 billion. This figure is expected to reach as high as $21.14 billion by 2025.
  • According to a research report by Global Market Insights, AI in the education market will surpass $6 billion by 2024.
  • The U.S. and Europe account for over 70% of the global eLearning industry.
  • North America dominated the EdTech market in 2020 and held over 37% share of the global revenue.
  • The fastest-growing market is the Asia Pacific, with eLearning revenues expected to grow at an annual rate of 20%.
  • The e-learning market is now 10 years old, when first online learning courses were released.

Summary

The industry of e-learning is growing quickly as this type of learning provides more flexibility and is focused on gaining practical knowledge and skills. The U.S. and European markets are leaders by revenue, while the Asia Pacific shows the fastest speed of growth.

E-learning History

In 1994, the first accredited wholly online high school, CompuHigh, was established.

The term “e-learning” was first utilized in a professional context by Elliott Masie during TechLearn and was referred to as learning using the web or any other electronic medium. However, the term “online learning” is older and is originated from the University of Illinois in 1960.

The term “MOOC” appeared in 2008 by Dave Cormier from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada.

The first MOOC was the course “Artificial Intelligence” by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig from Stanford University in the fall of 2011. 

2012 is the year of the MOOCs as many top players were born in this year. Coursera, Udacity, and edX were founded in 2012.

Summary

While the industry’s indirect beginning can be traced back to the end of the 60s, its actual beginning is dated after 2011 with a real beginning after the first huge MOOCs company such as Coursera were born. 

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Stats

Universities that offer the highest number of open online courses:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 361 courses
  2. University of Michigan – 351 courses
  3. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur – 295 courses
  4. Stanford University – 265 courses
  5. Indian Institute of Technology Madras – 238 courses

Top MOOCs providers by the number of course offered:

  1. Udemy – 250,000 courses
  2. Coursera – over 7,000 courses
  3. EdX – over 4,000 courses
  4. FutureLearn – 2,400

Most popular subjects to learn online (based on the Udemy, Coursera, and eDx’s data):

  1. Personal Development 
  2. Programming
  3. Marketing

Most popular additional services offered by MOOC companies:

  • Online coaching
  • Online mentorship
  • Job help 

Summary

Top universities offer plenty of online courses today on different subjects. Also, while there are companies that provide more than a couple of thousands of courses, online students seem to be interested more in such subjects as personal development, tech skills (coding), and marketing.

COVID-19 Impact Stats

  • Around 25-30% of total registered users on Coursera, Edx and FutureLearn came after the pandemic has started.
  • Coursera got nearly 35 million enrollments between mid-March and the end of July 2020.
  • April 2020 shows the biggest increase in traffic on e-learning platforms.


Summary

The real growth of the market is clearly visible after April 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic locked many people all around the world at home while also causing many employees to lose their jobs and business owners to lose their businesses.

Mobile Learning (M-learning) Stats

  • Almost three-quarters (72.6 percent) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025.
  • The average growth rate of mobile learning has been nearly 20% over 2020.
  • This industry is forecasted to maintain a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 36.3% down to 2025.
  • 67% of students use mobile devices to finish online course tasks.
  • Learners who use mobile devices complete course materials 45% faster compared to those using computers.
  • 43% of learners saw improved productivity levels compared to non-mobile users. (Source: Towards Maturity)
  • 70% of learners felt more motivated when training on a mobile device as opposed to a computer. (Source: LearnDash)
  • Time spent during online learning – desktop (one interaction): 20-60 min.
  • Time spent during mobile learning (one interaction) – 3-10 min.

Summary

Mobile learning is a logical trend of the development of e-learning. This is caused partly because of the fast growth of mobile Internet users and also because online learners are seeking even more flexibility and freedom which is possible with using mobile devices for education purposes.

Traditional Education and Online Courses

  • Almost 80% of online course learners have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • 46.4% of undergraduate students taking entirely online degrees are studying either Business (17%), Computer Science (16.1%), or Health (13%).
  • More than 3 million students are now studying higher education fully online.
  • 46% of females and 62% of male high school students say that they are interested in learning programming.
  • 22 of the top 25 U.S universities now offer online courses for free.
  • There are 50 MOOC-based fully online Master’s degrees available today.

Summary

While many universities are offering now a hybrid type of learning (offline + online), many have moved to the fully online form of education. Also, many people choose online courses and bootcamps over a traditional degree or opt for online courses after gaining bachelor’s or master’s degree. 

Corporate Online Learning Stats

  • Nine out of ten companies used an e-learning route to teach their employees new skills in 2020.
  • 72% of organizations believe that eLearning puts them at a competitive advantage.
  • On average, employees only have 25 minutes per week to spend on learning.
  • 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
  • 56% of employees would take a manager-suggested course.
  • 44% of Gen Z would spend more time learning if their manager recognized it
  • 62% of businesses affected by changes due to COVID-19 are spending more on training in 2021

Summary

Employees have become pickier with choosing the company to work for, and companies have realized that they need to invest in upskilling their employees, especially younger ones. Thus, corporate online training is shifting from an advantage a limited number of companies can offer to their employees to a must-have for almost every company.

Challenges of Online Education

  • 24% of online students are concerned about lackluster quality, instruction, and academic support for online learning courses versus on-campus education.
  • 15% of students are afraid that lack of interaction with classmates and professors because of online learning will be detrimental to their education in general.
  • Despite having many courses available through mobile devices, 17% of online students complain that their e-learning program does not support mobile access.

Summary

There are still disadvantages and challenges in online education like lack of social interaction or quality of online education but offline education has also its downsides.

Sources

  • https://www.classcentral.com/report/mooc-stats-pandemic/
  • https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/elearning-market-size
  • https://www.guide2research.com/research/elearning-statistics
  • https://www.classcentral.com/report/mooc-stats-2019/
  • https://elearningindustry.com/top-elearning-statistics-2019
  • https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/education-technology-market
  • https://www.reportlinker.com/p05862947/E-learning-Courses-Market-by-End-user-and-Geography-Forecast-and-Analysis.html
  • https://educationdata.org/online-education-statistics

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