An International Analysis of Web based Education and
Strategic Recommendations for Decision Makers
2000 Morten Flate Paulsen
This report presents an international analysis of courses on the Internet, and it provides
strategic recommendations about issues of importance to online education. The results and
discussions are based on literature reviews, catalogue entries submitted by 130 institutions in
26 countries, and 72 interviews with key persons at these institutions. The catalogue data were
collected from March 98 to February 99 and the interviews were conducted in the spring of
The research has been conducted within the CISAER project which is supported by the
European Leonardo da Vinci program. The project aims to provide a comprehensive, state of
the art survey of course provision on the web with professional analysis, balanced evaluation
and far reaching recommendations which will provide the field of vocational education and
training in the EU with a tool for dealing with this new training dimension.
The CISAER catalogue includes entries from institutions in all continents. In addition to four
transnational institutions, the catalogue includes entries from institutions in 26 countries. It is
likely that there is an overrepresentation of institution from countries that have English as an
official language since the primary research language was English. Still, it would be quite easy
to include many more entries from North America, since the listing from this area is
intentionally partial. Among the 130 catalogue entries, 45.4% were from the English language
countries: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, and Ireland.
There is a steady growth of institutions that offer online courses to students in other countries,
and the analysis presents many examples of international collaboration and thinking.
However, most of the global initiatives seem to be experiments and ambitions rather than
main priorities. Most institutions or consortia have not identified international markets as an
The survey indicates that institutions in Europe (60.8%), North America (21.5%), and
Australia with New Zealand (7.7%) overwhelmingly outnumbers institutions in South
America (3.1%), Asia (3.1%), and Africa (0.8%). Even though the researchers have a better
knowledge of Europe, North America, and Australia than they have of the rest of the world,
the survey testifies that these continents overwhelmingly dominate web based education.
North America dominates the world of online education. Some of the reasons for this
dominance are the well developed Internet infrastructure, the economic strength of the