Research on Online, Blended, and Distance Education

Distance Education Enrollment

Report cover for Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States

According to the data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), there were 6,651,536 students taking some or exclusively distance courses in Fall 2017. This number accounted for 33.7% of the total enrollment of 19,765,598  at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, in comparison to 21.7% of the total enrollment of 20,224,069 in fall 2016. This trend is increasing to meet more diverse and lifelong learning needs.

“A new report, Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States, by the Babson Survey Research Group, reveals distance student enrollments have increased for the fourteenth straight year in 2016.  The most recent gain translates to over thirty percent of higher education students taking at least one distance education course. Growth, however, was uneven; public institutions grew by 7.3 percent, private non-profit institutions by 7.1 percent, while private for-profit institutions had their distance enrollments decline by 4.5 percent.” Read more on the Online Learning Consortium Site.

Trends in Online, Blended, and Distance Education

Digital Learning Innovation Trends: The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), in partnership with the Every Learner Everywhere Network (Every Learner) and in association with the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) results identified seven major trends in digital learning innovation: adaptive learning, open education resources (OER), gamification and game-based learning, massive open and online courses, learning management systems (LMS) and interoperability, mobility and mobile devices, and design. The analysis also highlighted four secondary trends: blended learning, dashboards, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Access the full report here.