Massive growth trends in Online Education enrollments
(Chicago, IL, US)
Online education trends for the past several years suggest that online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments, not only in the US and Canada, but all over the world.
The expectation of academic leaders and education businesses has been that these enrollments would continue their substantial growth well beyond the current scope of forecasting. These expectations have further been given a boost by the fact that the flagging global economy means that traditional education has become more expensive, whereas online education, given its exponential improvement in quality, has become a preferable alternative to the vast majority of today's learners. (And almost 4 million students cannot all be wrong!).
Many online colleges bear testament to the millions of people now improving their lifestyles and enriching their knowledge without being held back by the economy. As recent results have shown, the number of students taking at least one online course (or an online degree or training program) continues to expand at a rate far in excess of the growth of overall higher education enrollments, meaning there are more online students (or e-students) every year, relative to campus based ones.
According to studies (such as the Sloan report on online education in the US), the most recent estimate of enrollments in online distance learning programs for the starting semester in the fall of 2007 place the number at 3.94 million online students—an increase of 12.9% over online student enrollments at the same time a year earlier. According to these statistics, the number of online students has more than doubled in the previous five years of online learning.
This growth-from 1.6 million students in fall 2002, to 3.94 million students in fall 2007 who were taking at least one online course-reveals a startling growth rate of almost 20% a year, and this is for the United States alone, while several times that number is reported for international students and for institutions outside the US (notably Canada and European countries) (1). The overall student body involved with online higher education has grown at an annual rate of around 1.6% during this same period (from 16.6 million in fall 2002 to 18.0 million in fall 2007, according to the Projections of Education Statistics to 2017, National Center for Education Statistics).
Amongst the many graduate, vocational and online accredited schools
, newer courses are being offered every semester, and even on a year-round basis (especially in case of online vocational courses, etc).
(1) The Sloan Report: http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/index.asp
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