Adults turn to online learning and loving it

Yang Meiping
The city's adults are spending more time learning online, according to a survey report released by the Shanghai Open University.
Yang Meiping

The city's adults are spending more time learning online, according to a survey report released by the Shanghai Open University.

The survey, the third of its kind, was conducted via a questionnaire of more than 6,000 people after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared with the results of the 2018 survey,  researchers found more than 88 percent said they have been involved in online learning, an increase of 26.72 percentage points. 

Those spending more than five hours a week on online learning increased by more than 15 percentage points to 16.51 percent, and those spending three to five hours a week increased by more than 11 percentage points to 32.98 percent. Those spending less than three hours a week dropped from 76 percent to about 50.5 percent.

The online learners also showed longer plan for personal development, said the researchers.

Two years ago, more than 70 percent of those surveyed said they learned online to improve vocational skills, while the number dropped to less than 30 percent this year. Those choosing for professional qualifications increased by 26.56 percentage points, learning new things grew by 15.74 percentage points and acquiring academic degrees 14.08 percentage points. Those choosing for personal interests also increased by 3.49 percentage points.

It’s notable that about 80 percent of online learners have at least bachelor’s degrees, compared with 59.19 percent two years ago.

In this year’s report, more than 39 percent of the learners said they had finished all the online courses they have subscribed for, 22 percentage points increased from that in 2018. Nearly 45 percent said they had finished most of the courses, a growth of 11 percentage points.

About 30 percent of the online learners said they believed the effect of online learning is similar to traditional offline classes, but 55 percent said they would prefer a combination of online and offline classes, 37.7 percentage points higher than those preferring mere offline learning and 26.68 percentage points higher than online learning lovers.

More than 70 percent of the online learners said supplementary tools featuring artificial intelligence technology were helpful in learning, and would like to continue using them in the future.

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