How (And Why) Digital Learning Is Growing

Digital learning is one of those things that just keeps on going. As new technologies develop, distance learning and digital options become more viable and available to a wider range of learners of all ages. Online learning is more of a broad descriptor than most of us take it to mean. It isn’t just taking classes online from an online only school, but it encompasses many different possibilities of parts of teaching and learning happening online.

The progression of where online learning started and how it has grown is really quite staggering, especially since it has only become a discussion staple for most of us pretty recently. The handy infographic below gives us an interesting timeline of digital learning, shows some of the different categories that digital learning comprises, and offers up some interesting statistics on the number of people participating in online learning and the growth that it has seen over the years. Keep reading to learn more.

Digital Learning Keeps On Growing

Digital learning is nothing new, even though it has only recently become very widespread. The first digital learning platforms are older than you think!

  • 1990: ArcSoft launched First Class for the Mac platform
  • 1997: Blackboard launched
  • 2002: Moodle launched
  • 2007: 1 in 5 college students worldwide was taking at least one course online
  • 2009: USC offers the first online degree program offering real time elements

Digital Learning Comes In Many Forms

  • Online Courses – The course is all online
  • Hybrid Courses – The course is mostly online, but retains some in-person elements
  • Blended Courses – Some materials are online, but mainly focuses on face to face instruction
  • Flipped Classes – Instruction is delivered online while face to face classroom settings are used for collaborative problem solving

Growth Statistics

  • In the US, the number of K-12 students taking an online course has risen 6600% in the last decade
  • 1 in 3 higher education students are taking an online class
  • 86.5% of all US based higher education institutions offer at least one online offering
  • Greater course diversity, flexibility, and cost are the biggest drivers of online education



1 Comment

  1. Dr. Carole Redline

    September 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Excellent summary of why all colleges that prepare teachers should have future educators take a course to prepare them to teach online.

    We’ve come a long way in acceptance of this idea but still have miles to go