Online Learning Statistics for 2023

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 for 2023 and then, it focuses mainly on important statistics broken down by subtopics.

Online Learning Statistics Highlights

The online learning industry is forecasted to grow at an annual 21% rate until 2027.
The e-learning market is now about 19 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.
Online Learning Trends for 2023
Let’s start by briefly figuring out the main trends in the e-learning industry.
Use of AI
2023 has started as a a year of AI boom with Chat GPT becoming one of the most discussed topics. So, this will probably be the main e-learning trend of 2023 and beyond. This AI-powered tool helps to solve different tasks, from essay writing to coding; it helps a lot with research and summarying among dozens of other possible tasks.

E-learning companies will probably be actively using such technology in a number of ways. One possible way is to provide AI-based instructors built on data gathered on each student (like assessing students’ progress) and thus being able to provide a personalized learning experience. Another way, AI-powered chatbots will help with ensuring 24/7 support and giving feedback.
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. Read more on mobile learning.
Microlearning is a short-interaction form of course 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.
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. content
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 e-learning. Read more on gamification.

Online Learning Stats for 2023


General Industry Stats

  • E-learning is the quickest-growing sector in the education market in 2023.
  • The online earning market reached over $315 billion in 2022.
  • The online learning industry is forecasted to grow at an annual 20% rate until 2028.
  • 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 17 years old. It was started in 2004 with the release of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), which is an e-learning standard.


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.


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Stats

  • In 2019, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) market was valued at $5.16 billion. This figure is expected to reach as high as $26 billion by 2025.

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 companies by the number of courses offered:

  1. Udemy – 213,000 courses
  2. Coursera – over 7,000
  3. EdX – over 3,500
  4. FutureLearn – over 1,300

Top MOOCs providers by the number of students

  1. Coursera – 113,000,000
  2. Udemy – 59,000,000
  3. EdX – 24,000,000
  4. Udacity – 115,000,00
  5. FutureLearn – 110,000,00

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

  1. Personal Development 
  2. Programming
  3. Marketing

Most popular additional services offered by MOOC companies:

  • Online mentorship
  • Help with job search
  • CV review


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


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 m-learning market is predicted to grow by $46.9 billion by 2024.
  • This industry is forecasted to maintain a CAGR of 30% by 2026.
  • 67% of students use mobile devices to finish online course tasks.
  • 71% of millennials prefer mobile learning over more formal ways of learning.
  • Learners who use mobile devices complete course materials 45% faster compared to those using computers.
  • Time spent during online learning – desktop (one interaction): 20-60 min.
  • Time spent during mobile learning (one interaction) – 3-10 min.


Mobile learning is a logical trend in 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 by using mobile devices for educational purposes.


AI in online education

  • According to a research report by Global Market Insights, AI in the education market will surpass $30 billion by 2032.
  • In 2022, the market size of AI in education reached $4 billion.
  • It’s projected to grow at a 10% CAGR from 2023 to 2032.
  • At the beginning of 2023, there are already 30 EdTech unicorns worth $89 billion.
  • NLP (natural language processing), an AI segment that is used for working with speech and text in e-learning, is projected to reach $20 billion by 2032.
  • The market share of AI in education is made up of the following groups: higher education takes 50%, K-12 education has 34.6%, and corporate training gets 15.4% (100% in total).


AI has broken into our lives in 2022 and it will definitely shape e-learning. It is safe to assume that 2023 will be the year of new edTech companies and new services by existing e-learning companies to improve operations and their services offered.


Traditional Education vs Online Courses Stats

  • 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.
  • Research by Oxford College shows what students like the most about online learning: flexibility (84%), studying at your own pace (81%), and accessibility (56%).
  • What students don’t like the most is the lack of in-person support (53%), missing out on social interaction (46%), and lack of practical learning (41%).
  • 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.
  • E-learning has increased information retention rates up to 60%, compared to 8-10% for traditional learning.


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 a bachelor’s or master’s degree. 


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.


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.


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
  • Recent research conducted by Skillsoft and IDG found that over 80% percent of decision-makers have identified training and development as a critical priority within their organization.


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.

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.


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. 



Stacey M.
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  1. If e-learning has only been around for 10 years, how is it that the 2nd major standard is Scorm 2004? 17 years ago.

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