According to the latest yearly Babson Study, which continues to be commissioned by Sloan Consortium and others, 2011 was a big year for online continuing education at the college level. In addition to new and emerging trends, past successes continued to be built on. Here are some highlights from a recent report:


  • After remaining steady for several years, the proportion of chief academic officers saying that online education is critical to their long-term strategy took an upward turn in both 2010 and 2011.
  • Proprietary institutions are the most likely to have included online learning as a part of their strategic plan.
  • The rate of growth of online enrollments has tempered somewhat, but continues to be far in excess of the rate for the total higher education student population.
  • Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term; an increase of 560,000 students over the number reported the previous year.
  • The ten percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the less than one percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Thirty-one percent of all higher education students now take at least one course online
  • Smaller institutions are more likely to look outside the institution for their training than are larger institutions.
  • Private proprietary institutions have the largest proportion of online programs showing declining or steady enrollment.




I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman. Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. November, 2011.