Want to learn more about the current state of the eLearning industry? Check out our 30 most important online learning statistics and facts below.
The online learning sector has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. This growth has been driven by both an increase in internet access in developing markets and evolving consumer trends.
Across the world, learners are shifting away from in-person learning and towards digital learning—a shift that has been rapidly accelerated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In this post, we’ll be learning more about the online learning space and how it’s changing. And we’ll be sharing some eye-opening, data-driven insights that online course creators need to know.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Global Online Learning Statistics
- 1. The Global eLearning Market Reached Over 315 Billion in 2021
- 2. Online Learning Is the Biggest Segment of the Global eLearning Market
- 3. 70% of eLearning Market Revenues Come From the US and Europe
- 4. 27% of Internet Users in the EU Engaged in Online Learning in 2020
- 5. Over 69% of Surveyed Indians Have Spent Money on Online Learning
- The Growth Of Online Education Statistics
- 6. Asia Is Currently the Fastest-Growing eLearning Market
- 7. The Corporate eLearning Industry Is Expected To Be Worth $50 Billion by 2026
- 8. There Will Be 902.3 Million Online Learning Platform Users by 2027
- 9. The User Penetration of Online Learning Platforms Is Expected To Grow From 9% to 11.4% by 2027
- 10. Revenue in the Online Learning Platform Market Is Expected To Show a CAGR of 2.61% Over the Next 5 Years
- E-Learning for Businesses Statistics
- 11. Around 40% of Fortune 500 Companies Make Use of eLearning for Professional Development
- 12. 72% of US Organizations Feel That eLearning Gives Them an Advantage Over Their Competitors
- 13. 42% of US Companies Reported Experiencing an Increase in Income After Incorporating eLearning Into Their Business
- 14. eLearning Can Improve Employee Performance By As Much as 25%
- 15. Investing in Corporate E-learning Has an ROI of 3000%
- Online Course Statistics
- Online Learning Challenges
- General E-learning Statistics
- 25. Students Complete eLearning Courses 60% Faster Than In-Person Courses
- 26. The Average Course Creator Has 13 Courses
- 27. eLearning Increases Retention Rate By As Much as 67%
- 28. The Average eLearning Student Is 32 Years Old
- 29. There Were Over 100 Million Students Registered for Massive Open Online Courses in 2018
- 30. eLearning Courses Produce Up to 85% Less Co2 Emissions
- Online Learning Statistics at a Glance
Global Online Learning Statistics
First, let’s look at some statistics that reveal more about online learning worldwide.
1. The Global eLearning Market Reached Over 315 Billion in 2021
This statistic shows just how much money there is to be made in the eLearning space. And the market hasn’t even reached its peak yet. Industry estimates predict it to grow at a CAGR of 20% from 2022 to 2028, putting it on track to surpass the $1 trillion milestone in the next 6 years.
There have been several factors driving this meteoric growth. Globally, rising internet penetration is no doubt a contributing factor: As more people join the online world, more people will be able to access eLearning platforms, which drives demand for eLearning products upwards.
And in the US, growth factors include the rise in content digitization, increasing demand from the healthcare sector, and the trend of learning management systems (LMS) switching to cloud-based eLearning systems.
2. Online Learning Is the Biggest Segment of the Global eLearning Market
The eLearning market can be sub-categorized into several distinct sectors, including online learning, LMS (learning management systems), mLearning (mobile learning), rapid e-learning, virtual classrooms, and others.
Of these, online learning is the biggest eLearning market segment. It was worth over $100 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $167.5 billion by 2026.
For comparison, the mobile eLearning market will reach $48.5 billion, the LMS market $36 billion, and the virtual classroom market $33.5 billion.
3. 70% of eLearning Market Revenues Come From the US and Europe
The stats show that the vast majority of eLearning revenue comes from customers in the US and Europe. The upshot: These may be the most lucrative geographical regions to target if you’re selling online courses or other eLearning products.
Source: eLearning Industry
4. 27% of Internet Users in the EU Engaged in Online Learning in 2020
That’s more than a quarter of the population—pretty crazy, right? It’s an increase of six percent from the previous year when only 21% of users in the EU took part in online learning. It’s not inconceivable that over the next decade, over half the population could engage in online learning.
5. Over 69% of Surveyed Indians Have Spent Money on Online Learning
This is greater than in any other country. Other countries in which more than half the online adult population has purchased online learning materials include Brazil and China.
This shows that while the EU and North America might drive the most revenue, emerging markets in developing countries are the biggest consumers of paid eLearning content.
In comparison, only 22% of respondents in the US said they’d spent money on online learning, and only 16% of those in the UK.
The Growth Of Online Education Statistics
As we mentioned at the start of this post, online education has experienced meteoric growth over the last few years. Here are some statistics that shed more light on the growth of eLearning and the factors driving it.
6. Asia Is Currently the Fastest-Growing eLearning Market
While Europe and the US currently dominate the eLearning market, the Asia-Pacific region is catching up fast. According to forecasts by Straits Research, it’s the fastest-growing region in the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.1% over the next few years.
In comparison, growth in North America is expected to show a CAGR of 11.3%, and in Europe, the expected CAGR is 15.2%
This puts the Asia Pacific on track to surge ahead of North America to become the biggest market sector (in terms of revenue) by 2030. By this time, the Asia-Pacific online learning market is expected to reach a total value of 80 billion USD—4 million more than North America.
Source: Straits Research
7. The Corporate eLearning Industry Is Expected To Be Worth $50 Billion by 2026
Corporate eLearning is one of the most interesting use cases of online learning. More and more businesses are recognizing the value of educating their employees online through self-paced eLearning courses rather than in person, and this is driving growth in the sector.
8. There Will Be 902.3 Million Online Learning Platform Users by 2027
According to online learning industry forecasts, the number of people using online learning platforms will reach the 1 billion mark within 5 years. The average revenue per user (ARPU) of online learning platforms is also expected to increase, reaching around $83 in the same time frame.
9. The User Penetration of Online Learning Platforms Is Expected To Grow From 9% to 11.4% by 2027
User penetration refers to the percentage of the population that uses online learning platforms. As this stat shows, over 1 in 10 will people will use online learning platforms 5 years from now.
And the growth rate is much higher in China, where the projected user penetration by 2027 is over 23%.
10. Revenue in the Online Learning Platform Market Is Expected To Show a CAGR of 2.61% Over the Next 5 Years
It’s not just the number of online learning platform users that are increasing—revenue is on the rise too. The online learning platform market revenue is expected to demonstrate a compound annual growth rate of around 2.61% from 2022 to 2027.
E-Learning for Businesses Statistics
Next, we’ll take a look at some statistics about how businesses are leveraging eLearning.
11. Around 40% of Fortune 500 Companies Make Use of eLearning for Professional Development
Many businesses and government organizations have started embracing eLearning models for professional development. That includes things like compliance training, continuing education, certification, etc.
Instead of traveling to conferences and in-person lectures and courses, employees at these companies can tune into digital lectures, webinars, and self-paced courses instead.
12. 72% of US Organizations Feel That eLearning Gives Them an Advantage Over Their Competitors
That’s nearly three-quarters. How does eLearning give businesses a competitive advantage, you ask? As we’ll see in later stats, it can reduce expenses and increase productivity and performance.
13. 42% of US Companies Reported Experiencing an Increase in Income After Incorporating eLearning Into Their Business
Pretty cool, right? If you’re trying to convince shareholders or management to invest in corporate eLearning, this is a stat you might want to show them.
14. eLearning Can Improve Employee Performance By As Much as 25%
eLearning allows employees to work through online classes at their own pace. This can help them to retain more information and improve learning outcomes compared to in-person training. And this, in turn, can translate to improvements in employee performance.
Source: American Heart Association
15. Investing in Corporate E-learning Has an ROI of 3000%
According to a study by IMB, every dollar businesses invest in online training results in $30 gains in productivity. This is because online training requires less time than face-to-face training so that employees can return to work faster.
Online Course Statistics
Next, let’s take a look at some statistics about online courses, as well as the marketplaces, LMS platforms, and digital learning tools that power them.
16. Teachable Has Over 100k Instructors
This statistic shows that Teachable is one of the most popular online course platforms on the market. It has more instructors than any other online course platform that we were able to collect data on.
Collectively, these 100,000 Teachable instructors have sold over $1 billion in online courses and coaching products.
Top tip: If you want to create your own Teachable course and get your share of that revenue, check out Teachable.com first to see if it’s the right platform for you.
17. Udemy Has Over 71k Instructors and 204k Online Courses
Udemy has the second-highest number of instructors at over 71,000. But unlike Teachable, Udemy isn’t an online course platform—it’s a teaching and learning marketplace where instructors can list their online courses for sale.
Udemy also has more online courses than any other platform we analyzed, at over 204,000. And there have been a whopping 741 million Udemy course enrollments to date.
18. Kajabi Has Over 50k Users and 60 Million Students
Kajabi is another giant of the online course SaaS space. It’s an all-in-one platform for knowledge entrepreneurs.
Over 50,000 people use Kajabi to create and sell online courses and other knowledge products, and with good reason. They were one of the first online course platforms to make it simple to create courses and sell courses all under one roof. For more pros and cons details, read our Kajabi review guide.
These users have earned a combined revenue of over $4 billion to date. They’ve also created over 300,000 knowledge products and served over 60 million students.
19. The Average Online Course Costs $137
That’s according to an analysis by Podia, which examined the prices of over 130,000 online courses.
However, it’s worth noting that the standard deviation was high, which means there’s a big difference between the bottom-end and the top-end of the online course market.
89% of online courses in the Podia study were priced between $0 and $350. This is probably a good benchmark to look at when pricing up your own courses.
If you’re targeting the high end of the market and have a high-quality course product, don’t be afraid to charge $300+. But if you’re focusing on value and don’t want to price out the low end of the market, you might want to drop that to $50 or less.
20. The Best-Selling Course Niche on Udemy Is Python
Python currently ranks #1 in Udemy’s list of bestselling course topics.
And this holds up if we look at other sources: a Python course was one of the best-selling courses of 2021 on Coursera too. It was also the top programming language course search uncovered in an analysis by Course Method.
But bear in mind that just because a certain course niche is in high demand, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s profitable. In this post, we explore the most profitable online course niches.
Sources: Course Method, Coursera, Udemy2
21. The Average Online Course Completion Rate Is 12.6%
This is the median value based on a study from the Open University, which looked specifically at MOOCs (massive open online courses).
However, actual completion rates vary substantially from course to course. At the lowest end of the scale, courses have completion rates of just 0.7%. And at the top end, some boast completion rates as high as 52.1%.
It’s also worth noting that while this is a useful benchmark to measure your own course completion rate, it mainly applies to free courses. In paid courses, average completion rates should, in theory, be much higher, as students who are willing to pay for their education are likely going to be more committed to seeing it through.
Source: Open University
Online Learning Challenges
So far, we’ve shared plenty of stats that show the benefits of online learning. Now let’s look at some statistics that reveal the challenges and drawbacks.
22. 23% of Course Creators Don’t Sell a Single Course in the First 3 Months
The bad news for prospective course sellers is that the stats suggest that almost a quarter of you won’t make a single sale in the first quarter.
However, it’s not all bad news.
38% of course sellers manage to sell a course in the first 2 weeks, and 20% in the first 4 weeks. So, in other words, the majority of course creators still manage to start making sales in their first month.
If you want to be part of the group of course sellers who start making sales quickly, it might help to pre-launch it. When you pre-launch, you start collecting email subscribers and nurturing them before launch day. That way, by the time you’re ready to start selling, you should have lots of leads in your pipeline and ready to convert.
23. There Are at Least Half a Million Online Courses on the Market
If we add up all the courses on every course marketplace and eLearning platform, we can estimate the total number of online courses out there to be at least 500,000.
The upshot of this is clear: the online course space is super competitive. It can be tough for new course creators to cut through the noise and differentiate their products from their competitors.
If you want to make sales, it helps to look for an under-saturated niche where there’s still room to grow and offer something new.
Ask yourself: What knowledge can you provide that your competitors can’t? How can you position your knowledge product to stand out from the crowd?
24. 35% of Low-Income Households in the US Don’t Have Broadband Access
This lack of access to high-speed internet means many households can still not utilize eLearning from home, which could be holding back online learning from reaching higher national penetration rates.
This lack of broadband access is particularly problematic for school-age children, many of whom were forced to shift to online learning during the pandemic.
Source: Pew Research Center
General E-learning Statistics
Finally, let’s look at some miscellaneous online learning statistics that don’t fit in any of the above sections but are still worth sharing.
25. Students Complete eLearning Courses 60% Faster Than In-Person Courses
This is likely due to the fact that students can progress through online courses at their own pace.
Students in online courses don’t have to wait for the instructor or their peers to move through lessons and modules. This enables fast learners to complete courses more quickly than would be possible with traditional learning courses.
Source: eLearning Industry
26. The Average Course Creator Has 13 Courses
This might seem surprisingly high. But it’s worth noting that this number is likely inflated by a small fraction of course sellers who offer dozens of courses.
The median number of courses per creator is significantly less at 6. And the mode (the number of courses that people sell most frequently) is just 1.
27. eLearning Increases Retention Rate By As Much as 67%
This is yet another reason so many businesses, educational institutions, and government departments are switching from a classroom learning model to an online learning model.
Source: American Heart Association
28. The Average eLearning Student Is 32 Years Old
That’s right—online learners aren’t all fresh-faced undergraduate students. As this stat shows, eLearning tends to be more popular with mature graduate students compared to traditional University-based courses.
Source: Utep Connect
29. There Were Over 100 Million Students Registered for Massive Open Online Courses in 2018
Massive open online courses (or MOOCs) are free courses that anyone can enroll on through the web. They typically have open access and offer unlimited participation, which is why they’re so popular.
Source: Class Central
30. eLearning Courses Produce Up to 85% Less Co2 Emissions
That’s compared to in-person courses. The reason eLearning courses are so much more environmentally-friendly is that they enable distance learning and therefore reduce travel time. Students don’t have to commute to class in cars or public transport, reducing carbon emissions.
Source: Growth Engineering
Online Learning Statistics at a Glance
That concludes our roundup of online learning statistics. We hope you found them interesting. You can find links to all the sources we used at the bottom of this page.
Also, if you’d like to share these stats or use them in your own content, feel free to do so. But if you do, we’d really appreciate it if you’d drop a link to this post to credit the source.
In case you’re more of a visual learner, here’s an infographic that summarizes the key stats we’ve covered. Enjoy!
Psst… while you’re here, you might want to check out our ultimate guide on how to create an online course in 2022. Good luck!