Technological advancements have greatly impacted various industries, and their effects are no less evident in the higher education sector. Digitization continues to challenge conventional learning approaches and, as a result, the elearning industry keeps on progressing, making education easily accessible to everyone and providing students with the chance to study at any given time and place.
Today, learning has expanded beyond the traditional classroom setting. The adoption of both elearning and learning management systems (LMS) is becoming increasingly popular as more educational institutions explore modern approaches to teaching and learning. As a result, the elearning and LMS spaces are seeing positive growth and are expected to evolve further in the coming years.
On that note, this article presents the latest elearning and LMS statistics for a closer look at these two pillars of online education.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, educational institutions are turning to eLearning tools to provide continuing education to students remotely via the internet. These include world universities opening their doors to online learning and providing a wide variety of online courses to help students further their knowledge in their chosen disciplines.
The adoption of elearning tools by the educational sector is propelling the growth of the learning market forward. Likewise, LMS technologies are gaining traction in the elearning market as the demand for distance learning and quality education increases on a global scale. With LMS platforms enabling the delivery, tracking, and management of elearning content, it comes as no surprise that the market is seeing positive growth today.
The elearning market is expected to exceed $375 billion by 2026.
By 2023, the worldwide LMS market will be valued at $22.4 billion.
In 2019, the elearning market already surpassed $200 billion.
During the forecast period 2016 and 2020, the global LMS market is expected to grow at a 24% CAGR.
In 2016, the elearning market is valued at $46 billion and is poised to grow at $243 billion by 2022.
The mobile elearning market is valued at $38 billion in 2020.
As for the self-paced elearning market, it is expected to grow at $33.5 billion by 2021.
Adoption Rate Statistics
The shift from a traditional classroom setting to online learning brought about a number of advantages for both students and faculty. LMS platforms have become a fundamental component of online learning adoption. As a result, educational institutions are leveraging LMS technology to provide education to online learners.
According to Bargeron (2010, cited in Mesfin et al., 2018), well-designed and successfully adopted e-learning modules support effective learning and development as well as enables seamless teacher-student and student-to-student communication. Likewise, these modules allow easy access to learning materials—providing online self-assessment and self-paced learning—and enable collaborative learning.
Digital learning platforms are sought for their flexibility and scalability, granting students various opportunities to take university-affiliated courses and modularized learning content. At a rate of 13% annually, organizations and educational institutions continue to adopt elearning, proving that digital learning is well received in the market. (“Top 7 eLearning Statistics,” 2016)
77% of organizations in the U.S. rely on elearning for professional development.
63% of high school students in the U.S. are using digital learning platforms.
45% of elementary students use online learning tools.
85% of teachers use digital learning tools to provide students with learning exercises.
66% of Grade 6 to 12 students use digital learning tools in their computer subjects.
10% of Grade 6 to 12 students have used online learning tools in their English subjects.
Source: Digest of Education Statistics (2019)
Impact on Academe Statistics
In recent years, elearning tools have played a significant role in the modernization of the global education system. The use of electronic media and information and communication technologies provided students and faculty with plenty of teaching and learning opportunities. Among these is distance learning, an emerging trend in the education sector that allows learners to study at home while teachers assign tasks and provide educational resources digitally.
As a subset of elearning, distance learning is considered a viable and effective approach to education that facilitates a self-paced learning method. It has unique characteristics to distinguish itself from other forms of elearning. For instance, distance learning does not require in-person interaction between teachers and students. Instead, it heavily relies on other digital forms of communication, such as video conference tools, messaging apps, discussion boards, and LMS platforms, enabling students to learn at their own pace. Moreover, distance learning is solely delivered online, without any touch of in-person teaching methods.
A number of studies have been undertaken to investigate the impact of elearning on the academic setting. In one particular study by ZarieZavaraki & Rezaei (2011), it was found that the use of e-portfolio significantly improves students’ motivation, attitude, and academic achievement. Meanwhile, another study by Mahmoodi et al. (2015) revealed that elearning improves students’ learning and creativity.
Moreover, careful assessment of the method concluded that elearning, when supported by holistic teaching approaches, brings positive learning outcomes. Evidence suggests that elearning enhances the three key requisites to learning, which are motivation, student engagement, and attendance (“The Positive Impact of eLearning,” n.d.). Hence, the rise of elearning tools has revolutionized the higher education sector, boosting improvements across fields of knowledge and information.
85% of learners who have experienced both virtual and in-person classrooms feel that online learning is better or as good as the traditional classroom setting.
67% of educational institutions are in the planning stage of deploying LMS platforms.
73% of adults consider themselves as lifelong learners.
63% of adults think they are professional learners.
94% of online learners prefer to study at their own pace.
LMS Features Statistics
Learning management systems, or LMS, are the basic enablers of elearning. Used by businesses and educational institutions, LMS platforms are known for providing vast repositories of learning content and allowing remote learners to access educational materials online. These tools come with a variety of features that help deploy and track learning initiatives.
While LMS and other learning technologies have emerged in recent years, workplace environments bring increased complexities on learning systems because these settings compel learners to constantly acquire diverse skills and knowledge and incorporate them when solving day-to-day workplace problems (Wang, 2018, cited in Geng et al., 2019).
An LMS platform, for instance, offers a course management system, allowing instructors to create and organize learning materials, making them easier to access by supporting multiple formats, such as PDFs, audio, videos, slides, or even live training sessions. In some cases, an LMS also has built-in elearning authoring tools that allow educational leaders to develop their own educational content without requiring any additional third-party software.
Another important feature found in most LMS platforms is performance tracking, a useful tool that helps monitor the progress and improvement of online learners. This then becomes the basis of course completion, enabling online course providers to issue certifications of learner achievements.
82% of L&D professionals say that reporting and analytics features are important in an LMS platform.
For 90% of L&D professionals, learner engagement is the most important feature in an LMS platform.
35% of L&D professionals reveal that they want user-generated content to be included in their learning programs.
55% of LMS installations are deployed on the cloud, while 45% are on-premise solutions.
Source: Learning Technologies (2019)
Technological innovations have revolutionized how students and faculty access and process educational resources. In the digital era, elearning plays a significant role in how schools and universities deliver learning materials. With the help of LMS platforms, students and online learners can access study materials from anywhere and at any time.
As the demand for more accessible learning content increases, distinct learning trends are emerging to shape today’s elearning industry. One case is the rise of mobile learning, the newest method of accessing learning content via mobile devices.
Mobile learning (or m-learning) is defined as “the use of mobile or wireless devices for the purpose of learning while on the move” (Park, 2011, p. 79, cited in Bower, 2017). When used properly, m-learning approaches allow the seamless integration of knowledge management techniques in transforming tacit and implicit knowledge into explicit information (Kuciapski, 2017).
With the number of mobile users increasing every day, the elearning industry has tapped into this market and is on track to create more mobile-optimized learning platforms.
78% of online learners access LMS platforms from their laptops.
For 89% of online learners, desktops are easier to use in accessing digital learning tools.
25% study online using their mobile devices.
As of 2020, the mobile learning market is valued at $37.60 million.
To access training materials and course content, 76% of online learners use their own devices.
45% of those who use smartphones to access elearning platforms complete online courses faster.
46% of online learners use their mobile phones for online learning before going to sleep.
Elearning is a great way for schools and universities to deliver educational resources to students without the constraints of physical locations and instructor availability. Thus, the number of LMS platforms keeps on increasing as the demand for accessible and quality education continues to rise. A growing number of online users rely on elearning tools to further advance their education.
The proportion of university and college students taking online classes is growing steadily. In 2017 alone, almost a third of all students in the U.S. are taking an online course (“Enrollment and Employees,” 2017), whereas overall postsecondary student enrollment experiences a decline, dropping almost 90,000 students in the same year. As made evident from the report, college and university enrollments are predicted to face a decline without online education. (“New data: Online enrollments,” 2018)
3.2 million college students are exclusively enrolled in online education courses.
3.6 million postsecondary students are taking at least one distance education course.
The number of LMS users around the globe is estimated at 73.8 million.
30% of all LMS users are well-established tech companies.
21% of the LMS market is shared by the education sector.
54% of female graduates are taking online courses.
46% of male graduates are studying an online course.
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Number of college students enrolled in online courses in the U.S.
Number of college students enrolled in online courses in the U.S. Not enrolled in online courses: 12.7 million
Not enrolled in online courses
Number of college students enrolled in online courses in the U.S. Enrolled in at least 1 online course: 3.6 million
Enrolled in at least 1 online course
Number of college students enrolled in online courses in the U.S. Enrolled exclusively in online courses: 3.2 million
Enrolled exclusively in online courses
Source: Digest of Education Statistics (2019)
LMS & eLearning Technology
Over the years, the educational technology (edtech) sector has invested heavily in the development of modern tools that can revolutionize the delivery of education. Every year, the funding for the US edtech sector has ticked up steadily, which already raised a total of $1.45 billion as of 2018. (Wan, 2019)
The interest in LMS and elearning technology is at its peak, with venture capitalists and private equity firms pouring more money into the development of online learning tools. As students and teachers recognize the need for advanced learning solutions, advancements in educational concepts, technologies, and learning content are moving at a tenacious fast pace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In recent years, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought many changes in various industries. The elearning industry is no exception. AI in the education sector has offered opportunities for adaptive learning features, improving learner experience, and providing more personalized learning content. (“Role of artificial intelligence,” 2019)
This technology’s impact is felt across all educational levels, from kindergarten through higher education (“Role of artificial intelligence,” 2019). Its dynamic nature introduces smart learning content, such as customized learning digital interfaces and digitized textbook guides. AI is also used to support individualized tutoring and instruction in classrooms.
Machine learning (ML) is another prominent development in the elearning space. This branch of AI provides systems with the ability to spot patterns, learn from data, and create computer algorithms for making future predictions. Along with predictive analytics, this technology is expected to deliver quality learning, track learners’ progress, and predict learning outcomes.
Video-based learning is an established practice in the educational sector. It refers to the science of cognitive learning and using it to designate knowledge acquired from a learning material taught via videos. Some of its key elements include auditory and visual cues, and its effectiveness relies on four major attributes: confidence, attention, relevance, and confidence. (“Getting started with video-based learning,” 2019)
Instructors using interactive videos as a teaching method utilize various multimedia tools, such as cameras, microphones, and computer images and features. Unique elements are usually added in interactive learning videos as well, such as live question-and-answer sessions and gamified learning content. (“Interactive video,” n.d.)
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality (VR) is taking off in the education sector, as an increasing number of schools and universities adopt this technology. For many educational institutions, VR is transforming the way learning content is delivered, providing immersive learning experiences that can enhance student learning and engagement.
The elearning VR market is valued at $60 million in 2018.
By 2027, the elearning virtual reality market is expected to reach $1.4 billion at a 42.9% CAGR between 2019 and 2027.
The adoption of VR products is expected to reach $33.9 billion by 2022.
95% of learners retain information from video-based educational materials.
By 2024, it is expected that 47% of LMS tools will be enabled by AI capabilities.
Challenges in LMS and Elearning
As the elearning industry continues to grow at breakneck speed, it also becomes vulnerable to a number of challenges that demand immediate attention from elearning and L&D professionals. From content creation to the effectiveness of learning materials, elearning poses several challenges that affect students and faculty all over the world.
Online education has transformed the traditional learning models and provided students with a vast selection of course content. However, one of the main challenges that L&D professionals often face is designing course content for a wide range of learner personas. Today, online learners comprise four different generations—Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z—and each has its own unique needs and traits. As a result, creating generic elearning experiences has become more difficult for elearning professionals and LMS providers. (“Top 10 E-learning,” 2019)
Educator and learner readiness
As online learning becomes the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities are abruptly adopting the technology in place of the traditional classroom setting. However, one important factor affecting the efficacy of elearning materials is the educator’s and learner’s readiness for online learning. When students and teachers feel that they are ready for online education, they are more encouraged to complete online courses and are more likely to reap the maximum benefits of elearning. (“Relationship Between Prospective Teachers’ Readiness,” n.d.)
A number of studies have been dedicated to identifying the readiness of individuals participating in online learning processes. To measure teacher and learner readiness, some critical aspects to consider are access to devices, experience with technology, teaching/learning environment preferences, and opinion about online learning. In one particular study, it is revealed that 21% of the faculty agree that online learning is an effective approach to education. (“Faculty Readiness,” n.d.)
Internet access for learners
Access to a reliable and stable Internet connection is essential to online education. However, the fact that Internet access varies for each individual living in different regions and countries is creating a digital divide affecting the effectiveness of online learning across the globe. Thus, poor connectivity remains one of the most common challenges that online learners face on a regular basis.
Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveal that 14% of children aged 3 to 18 have no Internet access and are having difficulties in completing online homework. Meanwhile, about 17% of kids live in households with no desktop computers or laptops.
The State of eLearning and LMS
Technological advancements have allowed the education sector to take significant leaps forward. The digitization of learning pedagogies has opened doors of opportunities for many students to become self-sufficient learners and pursue education at a pace most effective to them. For the faculty, the rise of elearning and LMS tools has offered a variety of ways by which lectures and educational resources can be delivered.
To sum up, online learning revolutionized classroom settings from K-12, all the way up to postsecondary institutions. As seen in the statistics presented in this article, elearning tools and LMS platforms today play significant roles in harnessing a new model of knowledge and information sharing between educational institutions and students.
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