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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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In-Person Vs Online Learning Statistics

In-Person Vs Online Learning Statistics of 2023 (Updated)

In the digital world that we now live in, more and more things are moving online. It is happening in a variety of different areas of the world, and you are probably noticing this in your day-to-day life.

One particular area that was traditionally completed in person is education, with online learning becoming increasingly popular. 

With so many different people choosing to take their education online, you might be wondering how online learning measures up against in-person learning. Is it effective?

Or is Online learning damaging the education system? Well the easiest way to get the answer to these questions is to look at the statistics. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most notable in-person vs online learning statistics. So if you want to find out more about in-person vs online learning, keep on reading!

What Is The Difference Between In-Person And Online Learning?

There are lots of differences between in-person and online learning. While the ultimate goal is to educate people, these two methods go about the same thing in very different ways.

Due to this, there has almost become a battle between the two. 

Traditionally, education is an in-person institution. It was traditionally thought that people learn best when they have a personal experience.

This would be achieved by being taught in a classroom with one to one interaction between the person doing the teaching, and the individuals who are learning.

Traditional in-person education is very hands-on, believing that individuals benefit from one to one interaction and debate with others. 

In contrast, online learning takes a much more hands-off approach. Online learning is done through the internet, often by watching videos and learning from them.

It is a lot more flexible than in-person education which often follows a very strict time schedule.

This is one of the biggest attractions of online learning as it allows flexibility for those to learn around their otherwise busy lives. 

There is often a lot of debate over whether in-person or online learning is best, and it is really difficult to come to a conclusion regarding this debate. But looking at statistics can help.

What Can These Statistics Be Used For?

Looking at statistics regarding online vs in-person learning can be really beneficial for a number of different reasons.

These statistics can be used for lots of different things, and they can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of in-person vs online learning. 

In-person vs Online learning statistics can be used to help you decide which route of education is right for you. Likewise, it can allow education-providers to figure out which route of education is best for them to offer. 

It can allow you to make valuable life and business decisions, and that is why these statistics are so invaluable.

So with no further ado, let’s take a look at some key in-person vs online learning statistics that you should make yourself familiar with.

10 In-Person Vs Online Learning Statistics You Should Know

1. Students Prefer Online Learning

In-Person Vs Online Learning Statistics

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever before have become familiar with online learning.

When the pandemic forced countries all over the world into lockdowns, millions of students across the globe began to experience online learning for the first time.

For many of these students, they were pleasantly surprised with their experience. 

A study by the University of Potomac found that a very large percentage of their students actually preferred online learning to traditional brick and mortar learning.

There were a number of things that contributed to this opinion, including reduced expenses, time saved, and flexibility.

These reasons combined contributed to 70% of students stating that they preferred online distance learning.

2. Academic Leaders Agree

As we have said, the online vs in-person learning debate is something that really divides opinion. A lot of people expect teachers to prefer in-person learning, and this is true of quite a lot of teachers.

However, studies have found that academic leaders tend to agree with students when it comes to online learning. 

A study by Forbes found that 77% of academic leaders agreed when asked that online learning was just as good, if not better, than in-person learning.

So not only is online learning a hit among those doing the learning, it is a hit among those doing the teaching too.

3. E-Learning Helps You Retain Information

It is all good and well for e-learning to be more popular than in-person learning, but there is no better way to tell if it is actually good than by looking at the results.

Students may like e-learning, but if they are not retaining the information, then this type of learning isn’t really a suitable option.

However, a study by E-Learning Industry suggests that e-learning is actually more effective than in-person learning when it comes to retaining information.

This study found that e-learning students were able to retain between 25 and 60% more information than those participating in traditional education formats.

There may be all sorts of reasons for this, but the statistics really speak for themselves. 

4. E-Learning Is More Affordable

There is no denying that formal traditional education is expensive.

Going to college is a big deal, not only because it is a huge achievement but because of the huge amounts of debt that you are required to get yourself into to complete your course.

The affordability of online learning is part of what attracts people to this over traditional in-person institutions. 

A study by Education Data found that typically an online degree will be around $10 thousand cheaper than the equivalent degree taught on campus.

So, if you are somebody who gets on well with online learning, it might be very tempting to take advantage of this simply because it is more cost-effective. 

5. Students Are Taking Advantage Of This

To further support the study that we just looked at, research by Statista has suggested that a lot of students are taking advantage of the low costs associated with e-learning in comparison with traditional education. 

It seems that following the experience that they had with online learning during the pandemic, over 60% of graduates choose online learning simply because it was more affordable than in-person learning.

Since the pandemic, it seems that affordability has really crept up the priority list for those looking to study in further education. 

6. Online Learning Doesn’t Only Save Money

Online Learning Doesn’t Only Save Money

There is no denying that online learning can help save money, the statistics that we have just looked at really highlight this.

However, it seems that online learning doesn’t only save you money, it can also save you time. 

A study by Brandon-Hall Group found that online learning significantly reduces the amount of time that it takes for students to learn things.

The study found that students spend between 40 and 60% less time learning online than in-person.

There are lots of things that could lead to this, but it seems like the lack of commute and cost associated with online learning really does benefit students when it comes to retaining information. 

7. Online Learning Is Better For The Environment

It really is funny what can happen when we all just stop for a moment. When the world slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic, you could really see the benefits of this in the world around us.

Pollution reduced, seawater turned blue again in areas where it had become gray, and marine life returned to the canals of Venice. 

When everybody stopped traveling every single day, the world really felt the benefits. So it makes sense that online learning is better for the environment than in-person learning.

Statistics by the Open University (a British e-learning university) found that online learning uses around 90% less energy and 85% less CO2 emissions than in-person learning. 

Online learning helps reduce waste because disposable food cartons are not being used by staff and students.

Likewise it helps reduce waste in terms of the materials needed to construct schools and education buildings.

So a lot of people are turning to e-learning because of the global benefits it has, not only the personal benefits. 

8. Universities Are Listening

The aftermath of the pandemic really has left many people crying out for online education, and it looks like colleges and universities are listening to what the public desires. 

A study by Higher Ed Partners has found that huge amounts of universities are now moving their study programs online.

It seems that many institutions have learned from the unexpected success of e-learning in the pandemic, and are now offering this as a regular option. 

With upwards of 98% of universities now moving some of their classes online, it is great to see traditional institutions recognizing the benefits of online learning and the huge impact that this can have on their staff, their students, and the world we live in. 

9. Online Learning Isn’t Possible For Everyone

There is no denying that there are huge benefits of online learning. Not only can it boost information retention and productivity, it can also benefit the world that we live in and save you lots of money.

But unfortunately this form of education isn’t possible for everyone, and this is particularly true for those aged 4 to 16. 

A study by PEW Research Center found that 15% of households in the US with children aged between 4 and 16 do not have access to the internet.

For online education to work, you have to have access to the internet, and this statistic just highlights why learning cannot become totally online. 

A study by the same company also found that Americans who have lower incomes have less technology adoption.

This basically means that those on lower incomes utilize less technology, and this could make online learning more difficult.

So while it may be a good option for many, it is important that education doesn’t solely take place online. 

10. Graduation Rates For School-Aged Children Dropped During The Pandemic

The various restrictions that were brought up during the COVID-19 pandemic essentially gave a snapshot of a future that we might have never reached if the pandemic hadn’t had happened.

Prior to the pandemic, a lot of people were anti-online learning, and many of these people have now changed their mind after experiencing it. 

When the pandemic closed schools all over the world, many were forced to convert to online or blended-learning, and unfortunately for school-aged children (age 4-16) this proved detrimental in a lot of cases. 

A study by NEPC Resources found that the graduation rate for K-12 students was just 54.6% for those in online education in 2020.

The rate was slightly higher for those in blended learning, but still low in comparison to previous statistics. 

Of course, there is a chance that these numbers wouldn’t have dropped so much had the transition to online learning not been so sudden.

Perhaps if students were given more time, and if the other traumatic events associated with the pandemic had not occurred, these statistics would be different. Unfortunately, however, there is no way of knowing. 


These statistics really do say a lot about the debate between in-person and online learning, and they really are valuable for anybody who is weighing up their options. 

Just as with everything, there are clear benefits of online learning just as there are clear drawbacks of it, and the same can be said about in-person learning.

Looking at these statistics can not only help you form your own opinion regarding the online vs in-person learning debate, but it can also help you draw clear trends from the statistics. 

For example, the above statistics suggest that there is a relationship between age and the type of learning that is best for individuals.

The statistics suggest that online or blended learning isn’t ideal for school-age children, but for those studying in further education, online learning seems to be more beneficial. 

There are lots of exciting points revealed in the above statistics, so be sure to check them out if you are interested in the online vs in-person learning debate.

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