How big is the market?

 

Distance learning on the rise

Distance learning has always been perceived to be new, although its history can be traced back to 1886. Pennsylvania State University in the United States was the first university to offer distance learning courses through correspondence.

The advancement in techonology, particularly increasing internet penetration across the world, has resulted in tremendous growth in distance learning education. As of 2005, the global distance learning market was valued at approximately USD 11 billion. IDC predicted a growth rate in distance learning education of over 30% per annum from 2005. The popularity of distance learning in Asia is also evidenced from the fact that approximately 60,000 students are already studying for UK courses in Singapore.

The Sloan Consortium, the leading barometer on online distance education, conducted a survey in 2009 and found that there were over four and a half million students enrolled onto online courses in the States. This implied an increase of 17% against the previous year’s enrolments. Survey results showed that the tightening of employment opportunities was one of the main causes. Distance learning enables professionals to stay competitive in their field by acquiring new knowledge without having to leave their jobs or disrupt their family lives.

 

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