Online Learning Market Size: Statistics and Facts for 2024

Updated on January 17, 2024
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Written by
Andrea Mercado
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David Mercado

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The widespread use of e-learning, or online learning, gives flexible education options to millions of people worldwide.

Technology allows students to access multimedia courses from any device, giving them control over when and how they learn, breaking away from traditional classroom schedules. 

But, four years after the pandemic-driven virtual boom, is e-learning efficient? Explore the latest online learning statistics for 2024 to understand user and market behavior.

How did online learning change in 2023?

Online learning took a big turn in 2023 with hybrid models becoming more common. This shift brought virtual methods that personalized learning and made education accessible globally. 

Virtual approaches adapted and used AI tools to reach more students. But what lies ahead for the industry in 2024? Stay tuned for the latest stats shaping online learning.

The size global online learning market reached $316 billion in 2023

The global e-learning market hit a significant milestone, reaching $316.2 billion in 2023.

Its growth drivers include increased smartphone use, a preference for flexible education, and gamification techniques.

Analysts project a steady 8% annual growth, with the industry expected to reach a $661.6 billion market size by 2032.

North America claims 41% of the online learning market

North America accounts for a 41% revenue share of the nearly $316 billion global e-learning market as of 2022.

The region benefits from extensive learning infrastructure, surging use of 5G technology, and the development of innovative online education methodologies. 

The U.S. and Canada drive this trend. 

Online Learning Market Size 1

40% of Fortune 500 companies regularly use online learning

Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies use e-learning regularly. IBM, for example, saved around $200 million by switching to e-learning. 

Big companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM have adopted this training method, as reported by Fortune.

U.S. schools spend over $30 million on online instructors 

As teacher shortages increased in U.S. school districts in 2023, administrators increasingly filled vacancies by contracting virtual instructors from private companies.

The Guardian revealed that over 100 districts have spent a combined $31 million on online teachers from Proximity Learning since fall 2021.

Individual deals highlight the shift to remote staffing. Memphis-Shelby County Schools in Tennessee spent $6.63 million on Proximity teachers since January 2022 - one of the company's largest customers. 

Other districts like Little Rock reserved over half a million dollars for specialized science and math e-teachers. 

Online Learning Market Size 2

What do students prefer about online learning?

Accessibility and convenience certainly enable e-learning's growth. But rather than flashy multimedia, learners globally rank fundamental best practices like course organization and progress tracking as top priorities for online satisfaction.

Read on to discover additional stats revealing preferences and learn why over half of adult undergraduates still prefer blending virtual lessons with some campus interactions in a hybrid model. 

The organization of the course is the most valuable element for students in virtuality

In a recent survey of 7,000 students, McKinsey found that fundamental aspects still play a crucial role in the online learning experience.

In 16 out of 17 countries surveyed, students emphasized the importance of a well-organized online course with a clear path and a step-by-step guide to achieving their goals as one of their top priorities.

57% of digital content consumers prefer mobile learning 

Recent surveys confirm the mobile devices' role in online learning today, validating a growing mobile e-learning market.

Among 2000 digital content consumers surveyed by Thinkfic, 68% said they generally access material on phones rather than PCs.

When specifically asked about educational content, 57% still preferred mobile consumption to desktop.

Online Learning Market Size 3

55% of adult undergraduates prefer the hybrid learning model

According to recent reports, 55% of adult undergraduates still prefer the hybrid learning model, which combines online and in-person classes.

Despite an overall decrease in interest in hybrid learning across higher education, surveys show that most non-traditional adult undergraduates in the US favor this flexible approach. 

Even so, hybrid model preference dipped by 2% for traditional undergrads between 2019 and 2022 and decreased by 10% among post-graduate students during the same period.

65% of students want to keep some elements of virtuality

Surveys in 17 countries show that 65% of college students want to keep certain online elements as higher education shifts away from pandemic-induced virtual classes. 

Even in France, where interest is lowest, over 50% of students want ongoing flexibility.

Top preferences for virtual elements include recorded lectures, easy access to materials online, and flexible work-study balance.

However, concerns about distraction, boredom, and discipline persist, leading to hesitation about fully online degrees.

Online Learning Market Size 4

Challenges for online learning: cyber security is a priority

EdTech leaders are venturing into new areas like online degrees, cyber security, student loans, and career shifts through reskilling and upskilling. 

With India's internet usage peaking in the next decade, there's a growing demand for innovative learning options. 

That extends beyond cities; users from semi-urban and rural areas are driving substantial growth as they seek opportunities for personal advancement. 

The goal is clear – offer integrated solutions.

74% of cyberattacks on universities succeed

Cybersecurity remains a big challenge for colleges and universities. An estimated 74% of cyberattacks on those institutions succeed.

It is a scenario to pay attention to if we consider that 40% of them require over one month to recover from ransomware attacks fully- the slowest of any sector.

No EdTech funding rounds hit $100M by 2023’s Q3

The venture capital funding climate for online education technology cooled noticeably since 2022.

According to Crunchbase's August 2023 report, not a single EdTech investment crossed the $100 million mark globally, a stark contrast to the 60+ mega-deals in the prior two years. 

More broadly, total capital invested in the sector year-to-date through August 2023 fell roughly 66% versus 2022.

The shifting environment also dragged down edtech unicorn valuations, with 12 companies falling off the $1 billion-plus list since January. 

Online Learning Market Size 6

Summary: Online Learning Statistics: Market Size and Facts for 2024

The global online learning market reached $316 billion in 2023

North America claims 41% of the online learning market

40% of Fortune 500 companies regularly use online learning

U.S. schools spend over $30 million on online instructors

The organization of the course is the most valuable element for students in virtuality

57% of digital content consumers prefer mobile learning

55% of adult undergraduates prefer the hybrid learning model

65% of students want to keep some elements of virtuality

74% of cyberattacks on universities succeed

No EdTech funding rounds hit $100M by 2023’s Q3


What role does Artificial Intelligence (AI) play in online learning?

AI in eLearning acts as a personal learning assistant, understanding individual learning preferences. 

Companies like Obrizum use AI to create personalized learning experiences, analyze user learning patterns, and address specific needs. 

AI also facilitates course creation and content translation for increased accessibility, although concerns about security and privacy persist.

Why prioritize upskilling and reskilling through e-learning?

Companies focus on upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (learning new skills) to tackle employee turnover due to limited career advancement. These initiatives retain top talent and boost morale. 

Online and hybrid learning experiences offer an ongoing process for skill development, benefiting individuals and companies. 

Does e-learning impact global education?

UNESCO researchers found that the heavy reliance on technology during the pandemic led to increased disparities and learning loss for many students globally.

That issue was observed in countries like Kenya and Brazil but also in more developed nations like Britain and the United States. 

These findings spark discussions on the effectiveness of remote learning and the importance of in-person instruction.

Final Thoughts

In 2024, crucial investments will refine hybrid infrastructure and teaching methods. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) promises more personalized content catered to individuals, and Virtual reality will look to transform abstract concepts into immersive experiences to raise engagement. 

With innovations making classrooms smarter, student-teacher connections stronger across distance, and skills building more adaptive on-demand, the future remains bright for optimized and equitable online education.


  1. eLearning Trends 2024: Key Statistics and Emerging Technologies Reshaping Online Education - Skillademia 
  2. Growth Despite A Downturn: Predictions For The Hybrid Learning Industry 
  3. E-Learning Market Size, Share, Trends and Growth 2024-32 
  4. Global E-learning Market Outlook Report 2023: North America Dominated the Market in 2022 with Over 41% Revenue Share - Forecasts to 2028 - 
  5. How the power of e-learning is taking over the world 
  6. The rise of the virtual teacher
  7. What do higher education students want from online learning? 
  8. 10 Online Education Statistics that will Set the Tone in 2024 - Skillademia 
  9. Hybrid Learning: Where Students and Institutions Currently Stand 
  10. How Should Higher Education Institutions Prioritize Security Spending? | EdTech Magazine 
  11. EdTech investment cooling in 2023 but growth outlook remains strong 
  12. An Ed-Tech Tragedy? | UNESCO 

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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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