Online students’ views of remote education are at an all-time high post-pandemic. According to a report published this month, 94 percent of students hold positive views of online learning – up eight percent from the 2019 survey.
“Voice of the Online Learner: Shifting Preferences in Post-Pandemic Online Learning” is the eleventh edition of an annual survey that tracks remote students’ preferences, behaviors, and ways of selecting programs.
“Since we began this report over a decade ago, online learning has evolved substantially,” the report said. “But the most significant shifts have occurred over the last two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began.”
Wiley Education Services surveyed 2,500 prospective, current, and recently graduated online learners. The company discovered five key outcomes:
- Online learners’ loyalty to the modality endures, but the pandemic-driven students may leave;
- There is an increasingly positive review of traditional online instruction;
- Virtual students are more open to synchronous classes than in the past;
- Digital marketing for programs is most memorable to online students; and
- Affordability remains a top concern, but employers may be too restrictive to help.
The survey discovered there is a new group of online learners – pandemic-driven. They are different from the traditional online students surveyed over the last decade in that they are younger and more likely to switch to an on-campus program in the future.
Despite the positivity from students who participated in the survey, Wiley found that there has been a continuous five-semester decline in enrollment.
The report provided several actions educators can take based off their findings like engaging pandemic-era learners’ needs to ensure they persist, considering high-impact synchronous opportunities, and focusing on digital marketing channels.
“With these recommendations, you can improve how prospective learners find your programs and ensure your current and future online learners graduate and accomplish their goals,” the report said.