Pandemic has created new, younger online learners, Wiley report finds

The pandemic has cultivated a new, younger cohort of online learners, according to a report from Wiley, the Hoboken-based research and education company.

The report, titled Voice of the Online Learner, provides guidance to colleges and universities serving online learners, Wiley said in a news release.

“This year’s report takes a close look at the transformative impact the pandemic has had on how learners access their education,” said Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services. “With this, our 10th annual report, we are proud to again share our insights on the attitudes and behaviors of online learners to help universities build impactful programs that enable students to achieve their goals.”

The report indicated that one-third of current and prospective online students hadn’t considered learning entirely online prior to the pandemic. Wiley labeled them the “post-pandemic online learner.”

They are students who skew younger than traditional online learners, are interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees and are more likely to be unemployed or working part-time, Wiley said. Nearly half are under the age of 25, compared with 24% in that age group prior to the pandemic.

Getting a job and changing careers were the Top 2 factors that influenced students to pursue an online degree, Wiley said. And learners are increasingly choosing affordable programs that allow them to earn degrees faster and with more flexibility.

“We’re seeing that online learning is playing an increasingly important role in providing education that is flexible, affordable and setting learners up for success in their careers,” Zipper said.

To view the entire report, click here.