eLearning Trends 2024: Key Statistics and Emerging Technologies Reshaping Online Education

Updated on March 20, 2024
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Andrea Mercado
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Before the pandemic, roughly one-third of higher education was online. At the same time, the remaining two-thirds still relied on traditional in-person classroom settings, as The New York Times reported.

But education has recently changed, especially with hybrid learning becoming a common experience in the post-pandemic days. Online higher education might be even better than we thought, and it's moving towards a mix of online and in-person classes.

Explore the top eLearning trends and statistics for 2024 to see how new trends are shaping the future of education.

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Usage of eLearning tools in 2024

Traditional classrooms face the challenge of evolving into vibrant digital learning spaces as educational institutions worldwide have embraced e-learning technologies. 

Innovative tools, from devices to online forums and live instruction, are now at the forefront of academic success. But the question remains: Are students engaged with this tech-powered education revolution? 

1. Only one in three American students feel online course quality meets their standards

According to a study by Strada Education, students' confidence in online courses is relatively low in the U.S., with only about a third of 20,000 participants expressing certainty in their quality.

This skepticism responds to the sudden shift to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students faced technical problems, connectivity issues, and a longing for in-person interactions, leading to frustration.

2. Just 17% of college educators in the United States use digital collaboration tools

While about half of faculty members in the U.S. use materials like online homework, only 17% are adopting digital collaboration tools in higher education in 2023.

This number contrasts with other course resources, where traditional textbooks, whether print or digital, are the top choice for 77% of faculty. Lecture slides come next, with 68% using them regularly.

3. 39% of faculty members in the U.S. teach at least one course entirely online

In the U.S., the trend toward in-person instruction continues, but there are noteworthy shifts. About 39% of faculty members teach at least one course fully online, showcasing the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education.

This statistic emerges from a survey conducted in April 2023, which included responses from 2,483 faculty members and 641 administrators across all 50 states in the U.S. 

While most (72%) of faculty still engage in face-to-face teaching, nearly 4 in 10 faculty members teach online, and 26% teach blended courses.

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eLearning user preference statistics

How we learn is evolving, and it's no longer just about sitting in a classroom and absorbing information. The world is shifting towards a blended future where technology and user preferences will play a key role in shaping the future of education.

Let's dive into some statistics showing how users drive this change.

4. 55% of adult undergraduate prospects in the U.S. prefer the hybrid learning model 

Even though hybrid learning is on a decline across traditional undergraduates, adult undergraduates, and graduates (it has decreased from -2% in 2019 to -10% in 2022), it's still the top choice for many adult learners.

In fact, 55% of adult undergraduates and 61% of graduate prospects prefer this mix of in-person and online learning.

5. 70% of students prefer videos instead of reading text when learning

Video is not just the most consumed format but also the most beloved, as revealed by a survey conducted by Finances Online, where 70% of respondents from various companies expressed their preference for eLearning through video content.

This trend isn't new; it began gaining momentum before the pandemic lockdowns. In 2019, video made up 80% of internet traffic. 

This surge in video content has had a significant impact on eLearning. Research shows that videos can improve information retention by 9% compared to traditional text-based materials.

6. In 2023, 65% of students wish to retain elements of virtual learning, prioritizing flexibility

In a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, 65% of the 7,000 interviewed students expressed their desire to keep certain aspects of virtual learning in place.

When asked to prioritize their preferences, three key aspects topped the list:

  • To record and revisit classes later.
  • Easy access to online study materials.
  • The balance between work and study. 
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7. 82% of professors at Harvard want to add digital tools to their in-person classes

Before 2020, many professors, including Harvard's, were reluctant to embrace online education. The pandemic, however, caused them to get creative with their teaching methods.

Almost two years later, 82% of Harvard faculty members expressed interest in integrating remote teaching elements into their traditional classroom settings. 

That includes live classes, facilitating student engagement beyond the classroom, and encouraging opportunities for students to teach and learn from each other. 

eLearning market statistics

E-learning isn't just for students; it's also significantly impacting the corporate world. Every year, more companies embrace e-learning, saving substantial amounts compared to traditional training methods. 

This boom in the eLearning market promises even more growth for the next ten years. These are the numbers:

8. The global eLearning market is valued at $399 billion 

The eLearning market has been on the rise. In 2022, it was valued at $399.3 billion, and experts predict it will continue to grow at a steady pace of 14% annually for the next decade. 

This surge isn't unexpected, as companies worldwide increasingly adopt digital methods to enhance their learning processes. 

In Europe, specifically, the eLearning market was valued at $67.9 billion in 2022, and experts predict it to reach an impressive $136.9 billion by 2028.

9. Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies use eLearning regularly

E-learning is a big deal in the corporate world, with over 40% of Fortune 500 companies using it regularly. 

This training approach saves these companies a ton of money compared to traditional methods. In fact, major players like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are all on board with e-learning, as Fortune reports.

10. 61% of HR leaders believe online credentials are as valid as in-person ones

A decade ago, people were more skeptical about the quality of online education, but times have changed. A survey by Northeastern University hinted that digital learning was on the path to becoming just as valid as traditional learning.

The same study, which involved recruiters from various companies in the U.S., found that 52% believed that employees would earn most of their credentials online. Moreover, 61% of HR leaders agreed that these online certifications are the same quality as those obtained in person.

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Trends in eLearning for 2024

Trends in eLearning are reshaping how we learn. Here's a breakdown of what's happening in online education regarding tech:

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Imagine having a personal learning assistant that understands precisely how you learn best. That's what AI is bringing to eLearning. 

Companies like Obrizum are using AI to create personalized learning experiences. They analyze how you learn and what you need help with, making your learning journey smoother. 

AI can even create courses and translate content into different languages, making learning more accessible. However, there are challenges to overcome, like security and privacy concerns. 

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

VR and AR are taking learning to a new level. VR lets you enter virtual worlds, from history lessons to surgical training. 

AR, conversely, adds computer-generated images to what you see in the real world. Schools, Museums, and historical sites use these AR textbooks that bring pictures and models to life through your smartphone camera to make learning more immersive and fun.

Soft Skills and STEM

While tech skills are essential, "soft skills" like communication, teamwork, and creative thinking are becoming more valuable. 

These skills are things machines can't replicate, so they're crucial in a world filled with AI. Soon, STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) will focus more on these human skills. 

Summary: eLearning Statistics

  1. Only one in three American students feel online course quality meets their standards.
  2. Just 17% of college educators in the United States use digital collaboration tools.
  3. 39% of faculty members in the U.S. teach at least one course entirely online.
  4. 55% of adult undergraduate prospects in the U.S. prefer the hybrid learning model.
  5. 70% of students prefer watching videos instead of reading text when learning.
  6. 65% of students wish to retain elements of virtual learning, prioritizing flexibility.
  7. 82% of professors at Harvard want to add digital tools to their in-person classes.
  8. The global eLearning market is valued at $399 billion.
  9. Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies use eLearning regularly.
  10. 61% of HR leaders believe online credentials are as valid as in-person ones.

Final Thoughts:

Today, eLearning has a significant impact on both students and workers. From primary education to corporate training, it offers a flexible and accessible way to learn and develop new skills.

However, traditional face-to-face education still holds its value. There’s a growing trend in some educational institutions towards blended learning, combining online and in-person tools.

The truth is that eLearning has opened the door for numerous cloud-based learning platforms. Many companies and organizations have adopted different LMSs, offering employees flexible and cost-effective training options. 

That not only enhances the skills and knowledge of the workforce but also makes them more adaptable to changing market conditions and economic uncertainties. 

For the moment, one thing is clear: user preferences are essential for optimizing students' training outcomes.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

​​Sources

  1. Taking a Closer Look at Online Learning in Colleges and Universities - The New York Times
  2. Research-Education Survey 
  3. https://www.bayviewanalytics.com/reports/digitallyestablished-2023.pdf 
  4. Hybrid Learning: Where Students and Institutions Currently Stand 
  5. 76 Essential LMS & eLearning Statistics: 2021 Market Share & Data Analysis - Financesonline.com 
  6. Report of the Harvard Future of Teaching and Learning Task Force 
  7. E-learning Market Trends 2023 - 2032, Global Report 
  8. Europe E-Learning Market Size 2023, Segmentation, Growth, Trends, and Forecast till 2028 - EIN Presswire 
  9. How the power of e-learning is taking over the world.
  10. Educational Credentials Come of Age.
  11. Obrizum uses AI to build employee training modules out of existing content | TechCrunch

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Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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