Grade Change: Tracking online learning education in the United States

Elaine Allen
Jeff Seaman


Grade Change - Tracking Online Education in the United State is the eleventh annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research Group, with data collection conducted in partnership with the College Board. Using responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities, this study is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education.



This is the 11th annual report, by Babson Survey Research Group, regarding state of online learning in higher education in the United States. The sample includes 2,831 respondents from 4,726 College Board partnership institutions. This report includes the five main subsections.
(1) Is Online Learning Strategic?: There is an increase in the number of institutions that consider online education as a critical component of their long-term strategy (about 20% increase between 2002 and 2014).
(2)Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face?: The annual reports have revealed chief academic officers positive attitude toward online education (it is “as good as” face to face education, or even “better”). However, this percentage dropped slightly in 2013 survey (77 percent in the previous year 74 in 2013). Officers in the institutions with online course available remain positive whereas those without online course had become more negative about online courses.
(3) How Many Students are Learning Online?: Online enrollment have consistently increased, but growth rate have been decreasing. Growth rate of this report ( 6.1 percent) was the lowest in a decade.
(4) What is the Future of Online Learning?: 90% of the academic officers believe that online education will continue to grow. Two-thirds of academic officers recognizes self-paced components in future online courses.
(5) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): the percentage of higher education institution that offer MOOC have increased from 2.6 percent to 5 percent between 2012-2013. However, about half of the institutions reported they were still undecided about MOOC. Behind this hesitancy, there was academic leaders’ growing concern about credentials of traditional higher education degrees.

APA Citation

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade Change: Tracking Online Learning Education in the United States. Needham, MA: Babson Survey Research Group. http://www. onlinelearningsurvey. com/reports/gradechange. pdf.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Technology-enhanced, Online
Publication Type Report
In Publication Babson Survey Research Group
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Administration, management, and leadership, including accreditation, financial models, and legal, Course, program, or institutional culture, Efficacy or mode comparison, Faculty and professional development and/or training
Level of Analysis Instructor-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Unknown
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 2-year institution, 4-year Institution, Bachelors-granting, Masters-granting, Doctorate-granting, Private, Public
Specific Course or Program Characteristics MOOCs
Outcome Variables of Interest Institutional effectiveness
Student Sample Size 500 +
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