Starting in 1992 and ending in 2009, the Foundation made grants totaling nearly $75 million in support of the development of Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALNs). These networks provided remote access to high-quality higher education and training—anytime and anyplace—by providing access to instructors, classmates, syllabi, readings, and other educational resources via the Internet.
Grantmaking pursued a series of interrelated strategies, including software and platform development, the creation of online curricula, support for development and evaluation of blended (online + in class) courses, support for university online learning initiatives, infrastucture support for the growing community of online learning practitioners, and support for the adoption of uniform standards and practices. In a 2009, a final grant supported the creation of the Online Learning Consortium, a professional society of institutions and scholars devoted to increasing the reach and effectiveness of online education.
Since the Sloan Foundation began grantmaking in 1992, online learning has become an accepted, well-funded component of twenty-first century higher education. Its aims largely accomplished, the Foundation ceased funding in this area in 2009.