Monitoring the uptake of online, open and flexible higher education


The Global Online Higher Education Report (GlobalOHER)

The global landscape of post-secondary education is in a period of dramatic change. A significant driver for this has been a dramatic rise in the use of technology and the extension of the traditional campus to more learners.

Although there is clear evidence of the growth of online learning, the global data remains anecdotal or limited in scope. There has been no formal effort or process to define online learning in the global context.

The Global Online Higher Education Report (GlobalOHER) initiative is designed to address this deficiency by conducting a global survey and issuing a report that provides:

  • Information on enrolments and programmes offered online

  • Information on the role of MOOCs around the world

  • Information on the adoption of Open Education Resources, OER

  • Perspectives on the importance of online learning in institutional strategies

  • The challenges institutions face in delivering high quality programs and services

  • A framework of the policy issues that institutions believe need to be addressed

Global OHER project partners:

Such a study can only be conducted with the combined efforts of multiple partners. Leading international organisations have joined forces to develop and support the GlobalOHER effort. These include:


  • The European Commission, DG Education and Culture

  • International Association of Universities, IAU

  • International Council for Open and Distance Education – ICDE

  • The Sloan Consortium

  • StudyPortals

  • Babson Survey Research Group

In addition, many regional associations and stakeholders around the world have already agreed to support the initiative.

Limited Sample Survey

The GlobalOHER - Limited sample survey was intended as a precursor, an experience exercise, for foreseen regional and global surveys. Through initiating the Limited sample survey under the GlobalOHER umbrella, ICDE will initiate and facilitate regional and international discussion on open, online, flexible education and eLearning to provide valuable market data for members. 

ICDE partnered with a number of major regional associations to test the survey on a limited number institutions (2,5 % of the higher education intuitions) in all regions of the world proportionally broken based on distribution. 

The collection period ran from 17 August 2 October 2015. The survey was made available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, English and Chinese.  Two reminders were sent in addition to phone calls when numbers were available.