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Babson Survey Research Group

Conducting regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling method­ology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

Survey Reports

Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

The 2015 Survey of Online Learning, Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group in partnership with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, WCET, StudyPortals, and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 is up 3.9 percent from the previous year. Growth, however, was uneven; private nonprofit institutions grew by 11.3 percent while private for-profit institutions saw their distance enrollments decline by 2.8 percent.

“The study’s findings highlight a 13th consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group.

Growth has continued, despite muted support by faculty. The study reveals only 29.1 percent of academic leaders say their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.” The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy dropping to 63.3 percent in the most recent results.

Related items for this report include:

Full Report: Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

Infographic: Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)

Interactive Data Site containing all the enrollment data used in the report: Online report card US Distance Education

WCET’s Companion Report with additional IPEDS distance enrollment summaries: WCET Distance Education Enrollment Report 2016

Previous Higher Education Reports

Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States

The 2014 Survey of Online Learning, Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 percent from the previous year.

“The study’s findings point to a competitive marketplace, in which traditional institutions are gaining ground on the for-profits in online and distance education,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “While the rapid pace of online learning growth has moderated, it still accounts for nearly three-quarters of all U.S. higher education’s enrollment increases last year.”

Full report: Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)

Infographic: Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)

Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States

The 2013 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals a 6.1 percent growth rate, the lowest for a decade, but still representing more than 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course. The report is available in multiple formats:

Full report: Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)

Infographic: Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)

Open Educational Resources

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

This report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. Some of the key findings:

  • Faculty are not very aware of open educational resources. Depending on the strictness of the awareness measure, between two-thirds and three-quarters of all faculty classify themselves as unaware on OER.
  • Faculty appreciate the concepts of OER. When presented with the concept of OER, most faculty say that they are willing to give it a try.
  • Awareness of OER isn’t a requirement for adoption of OER. More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions often are made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material, or its OER status.
  • Faculty judge the quality of OER to be roughly equivalent to that of traditional educational resources. Among faculty who do offer an opinion, three-quarters rank OER quality as the same as or better than traditional resources.
  • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it. The report is available for download:

Full report: Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014 (pdf)

Infographic: Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014 (pdf)

Contracted Reports

In addition to conducting and releasing our reports, the Babson Survey Research Group also provides survey design and implementation services for other organizations.

The Babson Survey Research Group has worked with Tyton Partners on a number of studies of K-12 and higher education. These include studies on Role and Potential for Instructional Technologies in the U.S. Adult Education Field, Resource Allocation and Use of Third-Party Providers for Student Services in Higher Education, and Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education. An example of this work:

Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education

Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education

Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education shows that digital courseware has the potential to alleviate the pressures building through the delivery of scalable, personalized instruction; however, the category as a whole has not delivered on its promise. In order to better understand the current state of the courseware market, Tyton Partners, with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, completed a comprehensive scan of the postsecondary digital courseware landscape in the summer of 2014. This scan included a national survey of more than 2,700 faculty and administrators and the review and analysis of more than 120 products to develop a product taxonomy designed to help institutions and education professionals navigate the diverse and complex courseware market.

Full report: Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education (pdf)

 Director Profiles

Contact The Babson Survey Research Group for more information.

The study’s findings highlight a 13th consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “Institutions with distance offerings remain as positive as ever, but there has been a retreat among leaders at institutions that do not have any distance offerings,” added co-author Jeff Seaman.