We tend to focus on the future of education without looking back, and eagerly seek predictions of growth and changes in the future without revisiting the accuracy of previous predictions. Here is an excerpt from Wisher & Champagne (2000) with predictions and the state of the industry in distance learning gathered in late 1997. The full article is "Distance learning and training: An evaluation perspective". Many of the findings are still relevant to this day - see Embedded Assessment Series #10
How far we have come in terms of programs, students, and technology in 15 years!
From Wisher & Champagne: ... On another front, Web-based training for the information technology workforce will grow from $92 million in 1996 to $1.7 billion in 2000, a growth of over 1,800%, with an emphasis on Intranet-based, asynchronous, self-paced instruction (Web Week, Sep. 8, 1997). Internet tools emerging in the training marketplace... include internet relay chat, multi-user dimensions, and multi-user simulation environments (Kouki & Wright, 1996). Phillips (1998) summarizes recent trends in distance learning marketplace:
- Number of students taking distance learning courses from higher-education institutions: 7,000,000
- Number of accredited degree and certificate distance learning programs: 1,200
- Number of accredited distance learning colleges: 900
- Percentage of corporate training delivered online in 1997: 16%
- Percentage of corporate training estimated to be delivered online in 2000: 28%