What Americans think about online learning

Jamie BallardData Journalist
August 02, 2018, 6:30 PM GMT+0

People who are 18-34 (38%) are the most likely to have taken an online course

As higher education degrees and specialized skills are becoming more in-demand, many Americans are turning to online education to earn a degree or learn something new. These accredited academic courses are primarily taught through online material and are hosted outside of a traditional in-person classroom.

Close to one-third (30%) of Americans have taken a certified online course, according to new data from YouGov Omnibus. People who are 18-34 (38%) were the most likely to have taken an online course, though 33% of 35-54-year-olds have also taken an online course. Only 19% of people 55 and older say they have taken an online course.

There are many reasons why someone might decide to take a certified online course, rather than a traditional in-person one. Some of the most popular reasons were: “It fit into my schedule better than a traditional course” (50%), “It fulfilled an educational requirement” (41%), and “I was interested in the subject matter” (39%). People who were older than 35 were significantly more likely to say they had taken an online course because of their interest in the course subject, while 18-34-year-olds (49%) were more likely than the total population (41%) to take a course in order to fulfill requirements.

Nearly three-fourths (72%) of Americans also agreed that certified online courses are a good option for people with non-traditional schedules. A similar number (71%) agreed that self-motivated people are likely to succeed in online courses.

However, many also agreed that students are more likely to cheat on tests given in an online course, rather than an in-person course. One-quarter (25%) said they thought students would be “much more likely” to cheat, while another 25% said they thought it was “somewhat more likely.”

Some people don’t think online courses and in-person courses can be equally as effective. While 35% of people say that certified online courses are equally as effective as traditional in-person courses, another 30% say that they’re “somewhat” or “much” less effective. Only 14% thought online courses could be more effective.

People were split on the value of a degree obtained through online courses. While 38% say an online degree is equally as valuable as a degree obtained through traditional schooling, another 37% say that traditional degrees are “somewhat” or “much” more valuable than online ones.

See full results here.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus.

Image: Getty

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