The College Post
The College Post -- Covering Higher Education in America

3 in 10 Americans Prefer Online-Only Learning: Survey

A recent study shows that three in ten Americans prefer studying all-online, even if COVID-19 wasn’t a threat.

Titled Public Viewpoint: COVID-19 Work and Education, the latest Strada release analyzed more than 14,000 responses from Americans. The survey focused on questions related to the effectiveness and perception of online education, and whether respondents would recommend online learning to friends.

Close to 35 percent of respondents felt online education offers the best value for money, whereas 32 percent chose hybrid education, a mix of in-person and online education.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans feel that in-person education is of higher value than online, despite an increase in online degrees and programs.

Gender Divide 

Interestingly, when asked the mode of learning they would prefer for the next six months, 33 percent of male respondents said they would pick only-online. Of the female respondents, close to 48 percent preferred fully online courses. The effects of COVID-19 on women are manifold, according to the UN.

Color Choice

Preference for online education was higher in Blacks as compared to White, Asian, or Latino respondents. Close to 60 percent of black respondents said they had confidence in the quality of online education, as compared to the 25 percent of Asian respondents.

Shaun Harper, a professor of the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center, attributed the result to acts of racial stereotyping in traditional classrooms. 

In conversation with Inside Higher Ed, he said, “It very well could be that some Black Americans view virtual classrooms as spaces where they might encounter less anti-Blackness.”

Age Matters

Demographic preferences also played a major role as those aged 25 to 49 expressed enthusiasm for online-only options than older or younger respondents. Americans aged below 24 preferred a hybrid model of learning.