A majority of 94% of online learners said they have a positive or very positive view of online learning, up from 86% before the pandemic, revealed a survey by Wiley’s annual Voice of the Online Learner report. Furthermore, 83% said they would learn online again, it showed. Among graduated online learners, 87% reported achieving an outcome they can attribute to their degree, such as obtaining a salary increase or more marketable skills.
According to the report, 77% said the fact that online was the most important factor in their decision to learn remotely this year. Interestingly, 60% said they’d choose an equivalent remote programme at a different school if their preferred college or university didn’t offer the programme online.
As per the survey, online learners are now more open to occasional, synchronous sessions either online or on-site; 79% of respondents said they’d be willing to log in at a specific time at least once per course for a required discussion or virtual lecture, and 55% reported a willingness to visit campus at least once per term for an in-person session. Nearly 70% of online learners want a programme with a fast completion time, with the same percentage looking for the flexibility to work through courses at their own pace, it said.
Interestingly, the report showed that 83% agreed that their degree will be very important in helping them achieve their career goals, and 79% agreed that a college degree can lead to better jobs.
In addition, the report revealed that the mentioned factors that influenced respondents’ decision to pursue a degree are improving their job prospects (40%), advancing their careers (38%), and starting their careers (35%). “Changing careers is the next largest motivation, such as switching to a career that aligns with their interests (32%) and switching to earn more money (31%),” it added.
The report is based on a national survey of 2,500 adult respondents enrolled or planning to enroll in an online degree or certificate programme, it said. Furthermore, it added that it is the 11th such annual survey conducted by Wiley’s University Services division. “Positive attitudes toward online learning have increased to their highest levels yet among learners who use it, according to, issued today,” it mentioned.
“Our findings suggest that those individuals who engage in online learning overwhelmingly have a positive experience,” Todd Zipper, executive vice president, Wiley and general manager, University Services, Talent Development, said.
“We’ve witnessed rapid acceptance of online learning across the globe, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the heightened need for flexibility. Our survey confirms the growing momentum of online learning motivated by career prospects and outcomes. It also highlights the impact of digital transformation on teaching, learning and the evolution of the campus of the future,” Ritesh Kumar, Country Lead of Wiley India said.