Trend study – distance learning
Recent developments in the German online study and distance learning market.
A total of 6,400 people took part in the Trend Study Distance Learning: Education 2021. Around 50 per cent of participants are currently enrolled in an online study or distance learning programme at a German university, and around 40 per cent are planning to start such a programme in the near future. Three per cent have dropped out of an online study or distance learning programme. About five per cent have already successfully completed their chosen programme. It is the largest study of the living and studying conditions for online study and distance learning students and took place for the fifth time in 2020/21.
You can find the study results here.
Background of the trend study
Why do students choose the online study / distance learning model? And how does this pay off in terms of salary and career? A lot has also changed in the field of digital learning.
Financial Check – Online study and distance learning: This is why the model pays off
Those who enrol in an online study or distance learning programme primarily want to further their personal development, which is what around 61 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted. The study results of the graduate group show that these set expectations are largely fulfilled: More than half of the graduates surveyed stated that they had undergone positive changes in their careers as a result of their online studies or distance learning qualification. For example, they took on more attractive tasks, received a higher salary and improved their chances of promotion. 77 per cent of the respondents were of the opinion that studying online had been financially worthwhile, with 51 per cent even reporting a salary increase of at least 20 per cent.
Learning 3.0 – How digital is distance learning?
The decision to study online also means being open to new teaching and learning methods. As the use of technical tools and gadgets in everyday life continues to grow in the course of rapid digitalisation, the online offer at universities is being accepted without any problems, according to the study. Therefore, the "online campus" learning environment with online lectures available for download and online tests is very important to the participants of the Trend Study. However, additional technical gadgets, such as voice-controlled tools or augmented reality or virtual reality tools, play more of a subordinate role for the respondents. Study scripts in printed or digital form are about equally important to the respondents. Interactive study scripts, on the other hand, are only important for about 30 per cent of respondents. As their preferred studying medium, they would primarily use their laptop, a tablet computer, their smartphone or a desktop computer.
About the Distance Learning Trend Study
How much time do you have to spend on studying online / distance learning? Which learning formats work particularly well for distance learning? Is it worth the time and financial effort? These and many other questions about online studies and distance learning have been regularly addressed by IU International University since 2011. Its Trend Study on Distance Learning is a nationwide, cross-university survey of current and former distance learning students and those interested in distance learning. Around 5,000 people took part in the 2018 survey in October and November 2018. Cooperation partners were the provider-independent platform Fernstudium-Infos.de, as well as oncampus, provider of distance learning and online continuing education courses.
The previous online surveys were conducted in 2011, 2014 and 2016 and provide comparative values on developments in the distance learning market.
Erfurt, 8 March 2021 – High levels of satisfaction despite pandemic: Online study students in Germany are doing well. With their studies in general – and with the study conditions during the pandemic, in particular. This is confirmed by the Trend Study on Online Studying published today: "Bildung 2021" of IU International University of Applied Sciences. For the fifth edition of Germany's largest survey of the living and studying conditions of students in online study, 6,400 people were interviewed: current and former students at German online universities as well as those interested in pursuing an online study programme.
Over 96 per cent of students are satisfied with their online study programme. This is even one percentage point more than in the last Trend Study conducted in 2019. One important factor for the high level of satisfaction: the online study programmes were able to continue uninterruptedly. Around 70 per cent of enrolled online study participants report that their studies were not affected by the pandemic. And over 95 per cent are satisfied with the measures their university has taken to compensate for the – few – restrictions caused by the crisis.
Learning apps, video conferences, podcasts – this is how digital education works
"Corona has catapulted our society two to three years into the digital future. This is a big challenge for many education providers. For online study participants, on the other hand, learning platforms, learning apps, video conferences, podcasts and digital tutorials have long been part of everyday life," says Prof. Dr. Holger Sommerfeldt, Prorector of Online Studies at IU. "Modern online study programmes show how digital education works. Online study is the model of success for e-learning."
For almost 93 per cent of students, individual support is also important when pursuing online studies. However, the relationship between teacher and learner differs from that in face-to-face teaching: In e-learning, the teacher takes on more of a support role, reports Prof. Dr. André Hollstein, Head of Media Didactics & Innovation "In online studies, it is much more important than in traditional face-to-face teaching to meet the different learning needs of individual students through innovative digital offerings."
Further increase in student numbers expected
Even before Corona, the number of students studying online in Germany had already increased sharply. The crisis has once again accelerated growth, according to Dr Carmen Thoma, COO of Online Studies at IU. Through Corona, 25 per cent of the interested parties surveyed realised the importance of continuing education in the first place. And over 97 per cent of all respondents believe that online learning will become much more important as a result of the pandemic.
Currently, around 190,000 students pursuing online studies are enrolled in Germany, a good 35 per cent more than two years ago. Thoma predicts a further increase in the number of students in online studies. "A digital degree is a perfect fit for today's lifestyles and the diverse demands that people have to and want to meet today," is her rationale.
Increased prestige and financial rewards
The study also shows that pursuing online studies is now seen as equally (or even more) valuable than traditional study formats. Three quarters think that their employer sees it the same way. This is matched by the fact that 48 per cent were given more attractive tasks after graduation – and 55 per cent a higher salary.