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Student in Library

The Online versus face-to-face learning statistics are in. 

Online Learning is on the rise.


They show clearly that the traditional face-to-face learning model is being replaced at an accelerated pace by the modern online learning model.  

Here are some Facts:

Is Online Learning Effective?

Online learning image
  • The number of online learning platform users is expected to reach 57 million by 2027[1]

  • Significant investment in online learning was made by 63% of educational institutions[2]

  • More than 69% of chief academic officers make online learning a critical part of their education strategy[3].

  • Since 2020, 98% of universities have moved their classes to online[4]

  • Global E-learning Market to reach USD $457.8 billion by 2026[5]

  • Online learning uses 90% less energy and 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student compared to learning in a traditional setting[6]


But is online learning BETTER that face-to-face learning or more convenient? And better for who?

Here is some Research:

  • At the University of Potomac 70% of students agree that online classes are better than traditional classroom settings[7].

  • 80% of academic leaders believe online education is equal or superior to traditional learning[8].

  • eLearning can help students retain between 25% and 60% more information[9]

  • 95% of online students said they would recommend online education to others[10]

  • eLearning requires 40% to 60% less time learning than traditional classrooms[11]


But Why?

  • Less Cost and better Return on Investment

  • Flexibility around other commitments and effective use of Time

  • Preference for Technology


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  • An online degree is more than $10K cheaper than a traditional on-campus degree[12]

  • 60% of US graduates choose an online program because of its affordability[13]

  • Online learning courses that are 4 weeks long have the highest completion rate[14]


What are the Down Sides? [15]

  • Less interaction, support, and networking with others can be an isolated learning experience.

  • Less communication and cultural exposure.

  • Less control over what is being learnt.

  • Cheating is more brutal to monitor.

  • Issues with Accreditation and Quality Assurance so less credibility.

  • Requires self-motivation and efficient time management skills.

  • Less Kinetic or Practical learning.

  • Limited to specific disciplines only.

  • Prolonged screen exposure and associated Health Issues.

  • Online classes often lead to boredom.


Online Learning image

Do Learners Complete online courses?

  • The significant downside to online learning is low completion rates. 

  • A U.S. News study[i] estimated only 15% and 35% of online learners complete their courses.

  • The percentage of those who do not complete the course is known to be high and can lead to failure anxiety issues.


I believe Online Learning can be effective if ...


the learner is self-motivated, confident with technology, literacy, and numeracy, and has good time management skills and...

the subject does not have a strong practical element, or requires competency in working with or interacting with others and …

to reduce anxiety and a potential sense of failure and ensure successful completion of the course there must be a person, not a chatbot who is capable and available by phone, email or meeting face to face or by video to support, guide and make the learning relevant to the learner and …

at all costs (no pun intended) online learning must be about supporting the learner, not global market size, profits and a one size fits all product.

Cathi Barker

Microsoft Master Instructor

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Educator in the private and public sector for nearly 40 years

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