Latest eLearning Statistics (2024)

by Liz Hurley

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Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.

Donna J. Abernathy

If you’re looking for current online learning statistics and facts, you’re in the right place.

Getting up-to-date statistics and historically relevant stats and facts matters. Why?

  • Because online learning was growing significantly prior to 2019
  • But the pandemic gave it a shot in the arm that accelerated its growth exponentially
  • Current world events and inflationary pressures have had a cooling effect

This means that estimates made prior 2019 are not relevant. Except, of course, for comparison.

I’ve broken down the stats as follows:

  • Top eLearning statistics
  • Online learning vs Classroom learning
  • Statistics on the growth of online learning
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) statistics and facts
  • Digital learning platform statistics
  • Corporate eLearning statistics
  • Online education statistics – K12 – college

Before we get started, just a quick overview of the history and evolution of eLearning..

What is eLearning? – Quick Summary

Disadvantages of eLearning?

Academics argue about what exactly counts as eLearning. They even disagree about whether it should be labelled eLearning, e learning, E learning, e learning, etc (we use all forms here). 

Put simply, eLearning is learning conducted with the help of electronic devices, typically on the internet. People often refer to it as online learning.

A Brief History of eLearning

  • In the 1960s workers could receive training on terminals connected to a mainframe instead of through manuals or face to face instruction.
  • By the 1970s businesses and higher ed began to use video based technology for training and instruction.
  • The 1980s saw educational institutions developing online platforms that provided educational support, assessment and tracking known as Learning Management Systems (LMS) 
  • During the 1990s personal computers became more affordable, the internet became recognised and used as a global network and the term eLearning was used for the first time as a way of describing learning that took place online.

How eLearning has evolved to solve problems

As eLearning has evolved, it has taken different forms.

Type of eLearningDescription
Fully pre-recorded online learningLessons are pre recorded and different individuals can access them at different times in isolation from one another. 
Blended learningTeaching is a mix of ace-to-face sessions in physical location that everyone attends in person, AND pre-recorded online activities that participants engage with in their own time
Hybrid learningTeaching happens in real time. Students can choose whether to attend in person or virtually. 
Cohort based learningA cohort of students take an online course that begins and ends on set dates. They support each other through collaborative work, online forums, etc. Teaching is usually delivered online but live, in real time.

Now, let’s get crunching.

Top online learning statistics

  • The E-Learning Market was estimated to be worth over $325 billion in 2023
  • The E-Learning Market is projected to hit $1.1trillion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% by 2030 
  • Research suggests that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom 
  • Between 2017-2021 there was a six fold increase in US Education Venture capital investment into the eLearning industry, from $1.3 to $8.3bn 
  • Between 2019 and 2021 there was a six fold increase in edtech unicorns
  • In terms of growth, the pandemic allowed eLearning providers to skip forward in time, gaining in months what would have taken them a couple of years at their previous growth rate
  • In 2021 the MOOC market was worth $5.16bn and was projected to grow at an annual rate of 32.09% until 2025
  • The corporate eLearning market was valued at $100bn in 2021 and is projected to expand at over 20% CAGR from 2022-2028 
  • It’s estimated that eLearning can reduce learning time by between 25- 60% compared to physical in-person learning (Learnopoly – benefits of eLearning)
  • A study by the Open University, the UK’s largest distance learning university, found that distance learning consumed 87% less energy consumption and produced 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than traditional university courses

Online learning vs classroom based learning statistics

  1. Research suggests that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. (World Economic Forum)
  2. Corporate e-learning takes 40% to 60% less time to complete when compared to traditional learning (Forbes)
  3. A 2018 study showed 85% of students who had previously enrolled in both face-to-face and online courses felt their online experience was either the same or better than the classroom course.  37% felt it was a superior experience (Forbes)
  4. It’s estimated that eLearning can reduce learning time by between 25 and 60% compared to physical in-person learning (Learnopoly – benefits of eLearning)
  5. A study by the Open University, the UK’s largest distance learning university, found that distance learning consumed 87% less energy and produced 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than traditional university courses. (Open University)
  6. The average first-time pass rate for distance learners at law schools taking California’s First Year Student Law Exam was over twice that of traditional law schools in the state—34.8% vs 17.1% (Forbes)
  7. The Test Prep team has seen a consistent six to eight point positive difference in Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for its Live Online Programs versus their in-person counterparts (Forbes)

Statistics about the growth of online learning

“In terms of growth, [the pandemic allowed eLearning providers] to skip forward in time, gaining in months what would have taken them a couple of years at their previous growth rate.” (Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central)

The eLearning industry has seen huge growth prior to 2019. But the pandemic provided a catalyst for change and accelerated the trend towards the use of digital technology to enhance learning. 

Since then, during 2022, conflict in Europe and inflationary pressures have had a cooling effect, though the forecast for future growth is still healthy.

YearEst. WorthProjected worthCAGRSource
2018$198.88bn$286.62bn10.2% by 2023Business Wire
2021$300bn+$1 trillion20% by 2028Global Market Insights
2022$288.8bn$1.1 trillion20.5% by 2030Research&Markets
Facts&Factors (2023)
2023$325bn
  1. In 2018, the global online education market was projected to reach a total market size of US$286.62bn by 2023 at a CAGR of 10.26% (Business Wire 2018)
  2. In 2021, it was projected to hit $1 Trillion at a CAGR of 20% by 2028 (Global Market Insights 2021)
  3. The global E-learning market size is now expected to reach $1.1 trillion at a CAGR of 20.5% by 2030 (Research and Markets 2022)
  4. Between 2017-2021 there was a six fold increase in US Education Venture capital investment into the eLearning industry, from $1.3bn to $8.3bn  (McKinzie 2022)
  5. In 2021, the appetite for investment was evident in the successful IPOs of multiple edtech companies, including Coursera with a valuation of $4+bn (McKinzie 2022)
  6. Between 2019 and 2021 there was a six fold increase in edtech unicorns (McKinzie 2022)
  7. There were 10 new edtech unicorns in 2021 with a combined valuation of $23 bn (McKinzie)

Mooc Statistics

MOOC statistics

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) started out as free university courses available to anyone anywhere with connectivity and a digital device. In 2011 Udacity was founded by David Stevens, Mike Sokolsky, and Sebastian Thrun to provide a platform for MOOCs. They were followed by Coursera and edX

While many courses are still free, it is now a business model that offers fee-based completion certificates and paid-for courses and degrees.

  1. In 2011, 300,000+ learners were taking the three free Stanford courses that started the MOOC movement (Edsurge 2021)
  2. In 2021, 40m new learners signed up for at least one MOOC, compared to 60m in 2020 (Edsurge 2021)
  3. From 2011-2021, the number of learners reached by MOOCs increased from 300,000 to 220m (McKinsey 2022)
  4. In 2021 the MOOC market was worth $5.16bn and was projected to grow at an annual rate of 32.09% until 2025 (TechJury)
  5. Udacity was founded by David Stevens, Mike Sokolsky, and Sebastian Thrun in 2011 (Udacity)
  6. Partnered with industry leaders like Google and Amazon, Udacity has over 14m learners (Udacity)
  7. Udacity has over 15k hours of content including 200+ free courses taught by leading experts and 80+ “Nanodegree” programs (Udacity)
  8. Udacity reached 150K Nanodegree graduates in 2020, up from 100K in 2019 (Class Central)
  9. Coursera was founded in April 2012 by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng (Coursera)
  10. More than 21m new learners came to Coursera in 2022 (Coursera Q4 Report)
  11. It offers over 7,000 courses and has 92m registered learners (Coursera)
  12. In 2022 Coursera's total revenue was $523.8m, up 26% from $415.3m in the previous year (Coursera Q4 Report)
  13. Gross profit was $331.5m or 63.3% of revenue, up 33% (Coursera Q4 Report)
  14. In Q4 2022 Consumer revenue was $79.8m, up 21% on sustained demand for industry microcredentials (Coursera Q4 Report) 
  15. In March 2021, after pricing its IPO at $33 per share, the company’s valuation was estimated to be between  $4.30- $5.5bn (Edsurge 2021)
  16. Coursera initially provided free MOOCs, it first monetized its proposition in 2013 with verified certificates for between $30-100 each (Learnopoly – Coursera statistics 2024)
  17. 81% of learners gave their course a 5* rating (Coursera Impact Report)
  18. 100+ Fortune 500 companies, and more than 6k campuses, businesses, and governments come to Coursera to learn (Coursera Impact Report)
  19. Coursera has over 250 partner institutions (Coursera Impact Report)
  20. Coursera receives nearly 50m visits to its website per month (Similarweb)
  21. edX was founded in 2012 after a partnership was formed between MIT and Harvard (Learnopoly – edX statistics)
  22. In July 2021, edX was acquired by 2U for $800m and lost its non-profit status. (Edsurge 2021)
  23. By the end of 2022, edX had around 41M learners (2022 edX Impact Report)
  24. In 2022, 76% of survey respondents said edX gave them access to education that was otherwise unattainable (2022 edX Impact Report)
  25. edX currently offers 3.5K+ courses across 30 subjects (edX)
  26. In 2020, edX attracted 10m new users and became one of the world’s top-1000 websites (Class Central)
  27. During the pandemic edX gained 10x more new registered learners and saw a 15x increase in course enrollments (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  28. edX's estimated annual revenue is currently $44m per year (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  29. 155,000 learners from 162 countries enrolled in edX’s first course – MIT Circuits and Electronics (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  30. It would take an MIT professor over 35 years to teach this many students in person (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  31. As of September 2019, the MIT Circuits and Electronics course had reached nearly 500,000 learners  (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  32. Most edX courses can be audited for free but they offer a fee-based completion certificate in the $100 to $200 range (Learnopoly edX statistics)
  33. edX.org receives nearly 18M visits to its website per month (Similarweb)

Online course provider statistics

There are now dozens of learning platforms offering online courses. Among the most popular are Udemy, Skillshare and MasterClass

Udemy provides a platform for companies and individuals to offer courses for purchase individually or as part of a subscription. Skillshare and MasterClass are subscription only platforms. But whereas Skillshare enables anyone who meets their requirements to provide classes, MasterClasses are offered by global icons in their fields such as Gordon Ramsay and James Cameron.

Udemy statistics
  1. The number of online learning platform users is expected to reach 57 million by 2027 (Home Learning Courses)
  2. Udemy has over 64m learners with 64,000 instructors teaching 210,000 courses in more than 75 languages (Learnopoly Udemy Statistics)
  3.  The average Udemy course creator earns between $1,000-$2,000 annually for their courses. Top earners make over $1 million.
  4. Udemy has the largest course catalogue in the world, with more than 213,000 courses (Udemy)
  5. It has a database of nearly 19k free courses with 519m+ free course enrollments – 105m in India alone (Learnopoly Udemy Statistics)
  6. Its total revenue increased 22% year on year in 2022 to $629.1m (Learnopoly Udemy Statistics)
  7. 80% of Fortune 100 companies trust Udemy for employee upskilling, and customers include The Walt Disney Corporation, Apple, Unicef, PayPal, Tata Inc., Accenture, Samsung, Unilever, Instacart, and Okta (Learnopoly Udemy Statistics)
  8. Udemy has 136m+ visits to its website every month (Semrush 2023)
  9. Udemy sees roughly twice as many sessions as Coursera (Class Central) 
masterclass statistics
  1. Within the first four months of launch, MasterClass sold courses to more than 30,000 customers (MasterClass statistics)
  2. As of April 2023, MaterClass had 180+ MasterClasses across 11 categories  (MasterClass statistics)
  3. MasterClass’ total funding to date is $461.4m  with 6 lead investors and 44 investors (Crunchbase) 
  4. As of 2023, there are over 2m MasterClass active subscribers (MasterClass statistics)
  5. In 2023 MasterClass was receiving 18m+ visits to its website per month (Semrush)
skillshare statistics
  1. As of February 2023, Skillshare had over 12m registered users (Skillshare statistics)
  2. As of April 2023, Skillshare has over 30,000+ classes divided into 3 categories Thrive, Build and Create (Skillshare statistics)
  3. It has a post money valuation in the range of $100m to $500m according to PrivCo 
  4. The company’s total funding to date is $136.8m across 11 funding rounds (Crunchbase April 2023)
  5. Unlimited access to all of Skillshare’s courses is available with Skillshare Premium for $168 annually or $32 monthly (Skillshare)
  6. Skillshare averages 10.9m visits to its website each month (Crunchbase)

Online course statistics

  1. Udacity has over 15k hours of catalog content including 200+ free courses taught by leading experts and 80+ “Nanodegree” programs (Udacity)
  2. Coursera offers over 7,000 courses, specializations, professional certificates and degree level qualifications (Coursera)
  3. edX currently offers 3.5K+ courses across 30 subjects (edX)
  4. Udemy has the largest course catalog, offering 213,000 courses in more than 75 languages and a database of nearly 19k free courses (Learnopoly Udemy Statistics)
  5. One of Udemy’s best selling courses is Zero to Hero Python which has over 1.2m students  (Learnopoly Udemy statistics)
  6. As of April 2023, MaterClass had 180+ MasterClasses across 11 categories  (Learnopoly MasterClass statistics)
  7. The most watched MasterClass is Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator, sharing his thoughts on tactical empathy 
  8. As of April 2023, Skillshare has over 30,000+ classes divided into 3 categories Thrive, Build and Create (Learnopoly Skillshare statistics)
  9. Compared with 2019, the share of people doing online courses or using online learning material increased in all European Member States, except for Romania. Among the sharpest increases were the Netherlands (+21pp), followed by Luxembourg and Slovenia (both +19pp), and Greece (+18pp) (Eurostat 2022)

Cohort based learning statistics

Cohort-based learning is built around community and active learning. Courses are taken with a cohort of feIlow learners who support you on your journey. It includes a combination of live online instructor-led sessions and learning resources. 

Companies in the space include Esme, Section and Nomadic Learning.

cohort based learning statistics
  1. Whereas self-paced courses have completion rates as low as 3%, Cohort based courses often see completion rates of over 90% (Learnopoly cohort based learning statistics)
  2. When you learn something passively, there’s a 72% chance you’ll forget it. But when you use it, answer questions about it, and interact with others there’s a 69% chance you’ll remember it (Learnopoly cohort based learning statistics)
  3. There is a strong positive correlation between students’ sense of community and their learning success in online courses (Learnopoly cohort based learning statistics)
  4. Customised online courses aimed at smaller groups which provide direct interaction and collaboration with professors and peers are seeing completion rates above 85% (Training Journal) 
  5. Students in Esme Learning’s cohort based learning courses are showing completion rates of 98-100% (Times Higher Education)
  6. Completion rates at Section are 70+% (TechCrunch 3/21) 
  7. Nomadic Learning, achieves over 90% completion rate regularly in their cohort-based programs (Josh Bersin) 
  8. Studies have found lack of social interaction to be the largest single barrier to student success online (Muilenburg & Berge)
  9. 85% participants indicated that being part of an online community was helpful in their learning (Vesely et al)
  10. Tools that foster effective online discussion have been found to help colleges achieve a statistically significant increase in student grades (Inside Higher Education) 
  11. 58% of online cohort members who participated in one study agreed that relationships with classmates encouraged them to continue with the programme, and 94% stated that discussions increased their interest in course issues (Alman et al)
  12. Research supports the development of community in online learning as an important factor for maximizing student satisfaction (Magjuka)

Corporate eLearning

  1. The corporate eLearning market is valued at $100 bn (Global Market Insights April 2022) 
  2. It is projected to expand at over 20% CAGR from 2022-2028 (GMI 2022)
  3. The European corporate eLearning market surpassed $40bn in 2021 (Global Market insights April 2022)
  4. 87% of millennials believe Learning and Development in the workplace are important (Lorman Education Services 2021)
  5. 89% of employees want training available anywhere and anytime they need to do their job (Lorman Education Services 2021)
  6. According to a LinkedIn workplace learning report, Learning and Development professionals spent 57% more time with online learning and 37% less time with Instructor-Led Training than three years ago (LinkedIn 2020)
  7. A 2019 report from the Academy to Innovate HR even found 83% of employees felt more motivated to learn in the workplace when their training was gamified 
  8. 90% of employers agree it’s beneficial to switch to mobile-based training (Lorman Education Services 2021)
  9. 9/10 companies offer eLearning opportunities to their employees
  10. Corporate e-learning takes 40% to 60% less time to complete when compared to traditional learning (Forbes)
  11. E-learning has helped to increase income for 42% of US organizations. (eLearning industry)
  12.  IBM saved approximately $200m after switching to e-learning.(SH!FT)

Online education statistics – K-12 and College

  1. By 2019, global edtech investments had already reached $18.66bn. Since then, the unplanned but rapid growth of online learning seen in 2020 accelerated its integration across the K-12 sector (World Economic Forum)
  2. When the pandemic hit, everyone had to switch to online classes. UNESCO estimates that 191 countries in the world (98% of the global student population) switched to online lessons (EdTick)
  3. E-learning is the quickest-growing market in the education sector with a whopping 900% growth rate since 2000 (Growth Engineering)
  4. 55% of respondents view e-learning more favorably now than before the pandemic (Learnopoly study- eLearning during the Pandemic)
  5. The pandemic was the first time 88% of children participated in e-learning  (Learnopoly study- eLearning during the Pandemic)
  6. 58% of parents indicated they are either likely or very likely to welcome more e-learning in the future, with 34% advocating daily and 30% weekly sessions (Learnopoly study- eLearning during the Pandemic)
  7. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of hybrid and distance-only students at traditional universities increased by 36%, while the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 rapidly accelerated that growth by an additional 92%. (McKinsey 2022)
  8. There has been a fall of 3% in in-person university enrollments and a growth of 11% in enrollments for the largest online universities (McKinzie 2022)
  9. 41% of students in 2020 believed that the quality of their college-level online learning experience was far superior to that of physical classroom learning. (EducationData.org)
  10. 73% of students in the USA want to continue eLearning classes following the pandemic (Insider Higher Ed)
  11. Over the last decade, the cost of undergraduate education has risen by over 42% at public institutions, whilst funding has shrunk. As governments struggle to foot the bill, eLearning enables universities and colleges to educate more students more cheaply (Learnopoly benefits of eLearning)
  12. The University of North Carolina in Charlotte calculated that in a single year it saved $5m and increased student numbers thanks to eLearning. The savings were made just by cutting down on investment in physical premises and the savings in lecturers’ teaching time. 
  13. Since then almost 90% of US higher education institutions have stated their intention to continue to make use of e-learning – albeit in combination with in person teaching (known as blended learning) (ICEF 2020)

The Future of eLearning

The pandemic propelled global education systems onto digital platforms and saw millions of individuals take to eLearning to master everything from coding to crafting. 

The result? 

Governments, private industry and educational institutions are scrambling to ensure that methods of teaching, learning and assessment that were effective during the pandemic (including e-learning) are preserved and improved for the future.

Whatever e-learning is now, it might be unrecognizable in the years to come!

But let's take a look at some stats predicting what the future may hold:

  • By 2025, approximately 50% of all corporate training is expected to take place via e-learning platforms, up from under 15% pre-COVID.
  • Mobile learning will continue strong growth, with projections for the market to increase by 27% annually through 2028.
  • Virtual reality-based training will see more than 900% market growth in the next 4 years, hitting $14.5 billion by 2023.
  • Adaptive learning using AI will become more widespread, personalizing e-learning experiences for a potential market size of $12.5 billion by 2027.
  • Augmented and Virtual reality are becoming increasingly popular in the eLearning space

Conclusion

Online learning enjoyed sustained growth prior to 2019 as the internet and education combined to provide people with the opportunity to gain new skills. 

But the pandemic provided a catalyst for change and accelerated an existing trend towards the use of digital technology to enhance learning. “In terms of growth, it allowed [eLearning providers] to skip forward in time, gaining in months what would have taken them a couple of years at their previous growth rate.” (Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central)

More and more educational institutions, corporations, and online learners worldwide now recognize the importance of electronic and communications technology to education. The result can only be increased competition to provide ever more innovative, successful and advanced e-learning solutions. 

Whatever e-learning is now, it might be unrecognizable in the years to come!

Related articles: What is eLearning?, Benefits of eLearning, Disadvantages of eLearning, eLearning quotes, Homeschooling statistics, Parents’ opinions of eLearning during the pandemic, Cohort based learning statistics, Udemy statistics, Skillshare statistics, MasterClass statistics, Coursera statistics, edX statistics, What is blended learning?, What is hybrid learning?

Sources

E-Learning statistics FAQs

What is the latest valuation of the global eLearning market?

The global eLearning market was estimated to be worth $288.8bn in 2022

How fast is the global eLearning market growing?

The global eLearning market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.5% to $1.1tn by 2030

How much is the MOOC market worth?

In 2021 the MOOC market was worth $5.16bn and was projected to grow at an annual rate of 32.09% until 2025

What is the value of the corporate eLearning Market?

The corporate eLearning market was valued at $100bn in 2021 and is projected to expand at over 20% CAGR from 2022-2028 

Which online course provider has the greatest number of classes?

Udemy boasts the largest catalog of classes with over 213k courses

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