Document Details

Title Up, down, flat: Distance learning data collection and enrollment patterns in Australia, UK, and USA
Author Richard Garrett - Director, OBHE


One sign that an “innovative” feature of higher education has truly mainstreamed is when governments start to publish statistics about it. What about one prominent innovation - online learning? The first online degrees appeared over twenty years ago, and played a big part in the dotcom boom of 1997-2000. Since then, despite bouts of skepticism and disillusionment, online features, courses and programs have proliferated in many higher education systems around the world. Most recently, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) sparked another surge of interest.

Online learning has never been short of hyperbole, but what about hard data on student numbers? Are governments collecting the same kinds of data, or are there inconsistencies? What does the data suggest about the health of online learning markets in higher education?

This Observatory analysis looks at the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Over the years, all have produced grand online higher education schemes of one kind or another- but does online now show up in official statistics?

Date 09/01/2015
Region(s) Australia & Pacific Rim, Europe, North America
Countries Australia, United Kingdom, United States
Theme(s) Technology
Topic(s) Distance Education

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