Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017

This report examines the trends and patterns of distance education enrollments among U.S. degree-granting higher education institutions. The findings show that the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments. Enrollment growth was uneven across higher education sectors.

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The Digital Learning Compass Partnership

Since 2003, the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG) has conducted national surveys on enrollments, activities, and attitudes regarding online learning for U.S. colleges and universities. When the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Survey (IPEDS) began collecting distance learning enrollments in the Fall of 2012, BSRG switched to reporting the Department’s statistics.

e-Literate and WCET conducted their own separate and joint analyses of the IPEDS enrollment data. After noting small differences in the numbers reported, the three organizations harmonized the data sets they used and continued to share what was learned behind the scenes.

Realizing that we accomplish more together (and that we liked each other’s data wonk personalities), the three organizations partnered in 2017 to create the Digital Learning Compass. Our goal:

To be the definitive source of information on the patterns
and trends of U.S. postsecondary distance learning.

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