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What Components Affect On-line Studying?

See how the US compares to 29 other countries

The pandemic has an everlasting impact on every industry. Education is no exception. According to a recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 50% of public schools in the US are fully open to one-to-one classes. The remaining 50% offer either a hybrid model or just distance learning [1]. COVID-19 forced schools around the world to quickly digitize their classes and curricula. With lecture halls and libraries abandoned, teachers and students got used to the new normality of teaching and learning on computer screens. “Home” has become synonymous with “classroom”.

That begs the question …

What makes remote learning successful?

For many countries, providing fair and equitable access to eLearning at the national level has proven difficult. But difficult times are often tremendous learning opportunities. We need to take the time to understand what worked well and what needs to be improved in the future.

As CEO of Preply, an online learning platform that connects more than 40,000 bookable tutors who teach 50 languages ​​to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide, we have set ourselves the goal of shaping the future of effective learning. We love the benefits of distance learning with 1: 1 instructions for people, both learners and educators.

In the past year, the demand for eLearning courses has increased significantly. Online learning has already been an integral part of many forms of education, particularly professional and adult courses, and COVID-19 has focused its role in national education.

That is why we conducted a study on “The Countries Best Prepared to Switch to Online Learning”, which compared the digital education systems of 30 different countries during the pandemic. These countries are part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [2]. We wanted to understand which factors contribute to making eLearning a success for school systems.

9 factors influencing online learning

The study compared 9 different factors that influence online learning:

  1. Access to computers: Percentage of the total population with access to a private computer
  2. Distance learning courses: the range of study programs and courses that can be carried out and completed entirely online
  3. Education spending: Share of the gross domestic product per capita that the state spends on higher education
  4. Broadband internet speed: average download speed over broadband
  5. Mobile internet speed: average download speed via mobile data
  6. costs: Average monthly cost of broadband internet access
  7. Market growth: based on internal data from Preply
  8. Teaching: average hourly wage of a tutor
  9. Market volume: Total number of enrolled pupils, primary and secondary school pupils and children of pre-school age

How did the US fare in the group? Some of the results may surprise you.

research results

  • The United States offers 9,303 online degrees and courses that are entirely online – most of the 30 countries – with nearly 78 million students enrolled. In comparison, Canada and Australia only have 1/10 of the student population.
  • The United States fell to 12th place, partly due to a lack of government spending on higher education per student. While the US rate is 19% of GDP per capita, high-ranking countries like Denmark and Sweden make more significant investments at 43%.
  • Of the group, the United States also has the second highest average monthly cost of broadband internet access, with New Zealand topping the list for the most expensive.
  • Only 72% of students in the US have access to a computer, compared to 95% in Norway and 98% in the Netherlands. Turkey (50%) and Mexico (44%) are at the lower end of the spectrum.
  • The US also has a moderate mobile internet speed, which is 44.3 Mbps. For comparison, the best rate was 73.7 Mbit / s (Netherlands) and the worst was 18.5 Mbit / s (Chile).
  • With an average of $ 18.83 per hour, tutors are the 18th most expensive in the US, roughly halfway between Denmark’s $ 35 and Mexico’s $ 3.89.

As the figures show, digital education can only be as robust and accessible as the technological infrastructure in the country in which it is used. The coronavirus pandemic has shown that access to digital education is unevenly distributed, but opportunities exist to invest in the digital infrastructure necessary for a national move to online learning.

At Preply, we believe that eLearning has great potential to improve educational opportunities around the world. Together we can shape the future.


[1] Institute of Education Monthly School Survey Dashboard

[2] Due to a lack of data and to ensure comparability, the OECD member states Colombia, Iceland, Korea, Lithuania, Latvia, Israel and Slovenia could not be included in the analysis.

Originally published at

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