We surveyed 500 parents to understand their attitudes towards their children e-learning due to COVID restrictions.
Specifically, we looked at:
- What experience children had of e-learning prior to the pandemic
- Whether, and to what extent, parents’ attitudes towards e-learning have changed
- E-learning satisfaction — key drivers and top concerns
- What parents felt the future of e-learning should look like
- How parents wanted schools to support students on their return to school
So without further ado, let’s see the results.
Summary of key stats
1. 55% of respondents view e-learning more favorably now than before the pandemic.
2. The pandemic was the first time 88% of children participated in e-learning
3. Of the remaining 12%, only a third (4% overall) had experienced e-learning on a regular basis prior to the pandemic.
4. 61% of parents were either satisfied or very satisfied with e-learning while only 25% were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
5. Of the 61% who were satisfied, the main drivers were that their child liked e-learning (55%) and that parents were able to have a more active role in their child’s education (53%). The fact that parents felt there were fewer distractions at home than in school (34%) was closely followed by feelings that their child had progressed faster at home (33%).
6. Of the 25% who expressed a level of dissatisfaction, the main drivers were a lack of social interaction and that their child disliked e-learning.
7. 58% of parents indicated they are either likely or very likely to welcome more e-learning in the future, with 34% advocating daily and 30% weekly sessions.
8. Top concerns: 52% of parents worried that their child had lost out on social aspects of school, 35% were concerned that their child now needs to catch up on lost learning, and 25% felt their child had fallen behind their peers.
9. As a result of their experience of e-learning during the pandemic, 50% of parents now view homeschooling more favorably, or significantly more favorably, than before the pandemic. 28% have not altered their view of homeschooling.
10. 60% of parents indicated that they themselves have been less productive while their child has been e-learning.
11. 70% of parents were either happy or extremely happy at the prospect of schools reopening.
12. 38% of parents believe that schools should offer students more tutoring and more opportunities for social interaction, but only 17% believe upcoming holidays should be shortened and only 13% that students should have the option to repeat a year.
The pandemic was the first time 88% of children participated in e-learning
During the pandemic, schools in the US were forced to shut suddenly, forcing students to learn remotely online 100% of the time while restrictions were in place.
We wanted to understand what students’ experience was of e-learning prior to the pandemic – or whether this was their first experience.
Key takeaway: We found that the pandemic was the first time the majority of students had experienced remote learning online.
Only 4% of children had experienced e-learning on a regular basis prior to the pandemic
It was evident that the forced shut down of educational activities would propel many into a form of learning that they had never before experienced.
We were curious to know how often those who HAD experienced remote learning had engaged with it previously.
We found that of the 12% of parents who had prior experience of e-learning, only 30% (4% of the total) had regular experience of it.
Key takeaway: The level and intensity of e-learning that took place during the pandemic was dramatically different from before – even for those who had prior experience of it.
55% of respondents view e-learning more favourably now than before the pandemic
The changes coronavirus has brought to learning will force a rethink in the education sector. Particularly since research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information and take less time.
With students propelled into e-learning, we wanted to understand how parents’ attitudes towards e-learning altered as a result of experiencing it, many of them for the first time.
Key takeaway: We found that the majority of parents view e-learning more favorably than before, which has implications for those setting education policy both now, and in the future.
61% of parents expressed satisfaction with e-learning during the pandemic, while only 24% expressed dissatisfaction
The widespread closure of schools and the unplanned shift to e-learning (with little training or time to prepare) prompted fears that e-learning would result in a bad experience for children and parents.
We wanted to look at how satisfied parents were with the e-learning they had experienced during the pandemic.
Key takeaway: Our findings were that the majority of parents (61%) were either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experience of e-learning, with only 24% expressing a level of dissatisfaction.
Of those who were satisfied the main drivers were: their child liked e-learning and parents having a more active role in their child’s education
There is evidence that e-learning can be more effective than conventional classroom learning in several ways. For example, progress can be accelerated by students being able to learn at their own pace.
We were curious to know what the key drivers for satisfaction were amongst those who had responded positively to e-learning.
Key takeaway: The main drivers of parent satisfaction were that their child liked e-learning (55%) and that parents were able to have a more active role in their child’s education (53%). The fact that parents felt there were fewer distractions at home than in school (34%) was closely followed by feelings that their child had progressed faster at home (33%).
Drivers of dissatisfaction with e-learning were lack of social interaction and children disliking e-learning
There are undoubtedly challenges to overcome with regard to e-learning.
We were interested to find out what the key drivers for dissatisfaction were amongst those who had responded more negatively to e-learning.
We found that a child’s personal experience and attitude to e-learning was once again a key driver — though not the most important one (59%). Lack of the kind of social interaction that comes from being at school was the key concern (79%).
Key takeaway: Our last two findings imply that for e-learning to be successful, it needs to be more social and enjoyable for students. Online education providers need to bear this in mind and use all their resources and creativity to design learning experiences that build in social interaction and enjoyment.
58% of parents are open to the idea of more e-learning in the future
Events such as the global pandemic can act as catalysts for innovation. The swift and unplanned move to remote online learning gave parents no choice but to engage with it.
We were curious to know whether, given the choice, parents would open to the idea of more e-learning in the future. And if so, at what frequency.
Our findings are that, after experiencing the benefits first-hand, most parents (58%) are open to the idea of more e-learning in the future. With 34% indicating that they would welcome it on a daily basis.
Top concerns of e-learning during the pandemic
The extent to which the rapid move to online learning will help it to become part of the ‘new normal’ remains to be seen. But the transition will be more successful if the shortcomings of e-learning are identified and addressed.
So, we were interested to find out what parents felt were the less positive aspects of e-learning, even if generally, they were favorable to it.
52% of parents worried that their child had lost out on social aspects of school, 35% were concerned that their child now needs to catch up on lost learning, and 25% felt their child had fallen behind their peers.
Key takeaway: For most parents, the lack of social interaction is a key drawback to e-learning.
50% of parents feel more positively about homeschooling now, than before the pandemic
The pandemic has provided a catalyst for change not just in education, but away from formal education towards homeschooling.
The National HomeSchool Association received over 3,400 requests for information on a single day in July 2020 and in one state (North Carolina), homeschool filings nearly tripled and crashed the state’s non-public education website.
We were interested to know how parents’ experience of e-learning had influenced them to consider a more permanent move to home based, remote learning.
We found that 50% had positively changed their attitude towards homeschooling, whilst 28% felt the same way about it.
Key takeaway: More people feel favorable towards homeschooling following their experience of remote learning during the pandemic. This may indicate a transition towards homeschooling, at least in the short term.
61% of parents expressed agreement that they themselves have been less productive while their child has been e-learning
In August 2020, research by Percptyx showed that productivity for parents was expected to decline as the new school year began and the spike in COVID cases forced closures and a switch to remote learning.
Their research revealed that more than 60% of working parents expected their work productivity to decline.
We were interested to find out whether this perception was borne out in reality.
Key takeaway: Fears that remote online learning may impact on the productivity of both working parents appear to be supported by our data.
70% of parents are either happy or extremely happy at the prospect of schools reopening
The pandemic has led to widespread concerns about children’s education. The reopening of schools is now a major political issue. A number of polls at the start of 2021 found that around 53% of respondents felt that schools should reopen for in person learning — with only 26% thinking that was a bad idea.
We asked parents to indicate how happy they were at the prospect of schools reopening.
Our results showed that the majority of parents (70%) were happy or extremely happy at the prospect of schools reopening.
Key takeaway: Our findings suggest that as time has passed, parents are feeling more supportive of their children returning to school. This is possibly due to the success of local vaccination programmes, reduced rates of infection or the continued stress of having to balance concerns over their child’s education against their own needs.
There is parental support for schools to offer more tutoring and opportunities for social interaction to aid catch-up, but little for the shortening of holidays or repeating a school year
Support for catch up plans amongst parents is high, though there is debate about exactly how schools can help children catch up on lost learning.
We wanted to know what our respondents viewed as the best or worst solutions.
Key takeaway: 38% of parents favoured schools offering students more tutoring and more opportunities for social interaction. There was much less support for shortening upcoming holidays (17%) or having the option to repeat a year (13%).
The survey polled a representative sample of 500 parents whose children were between the ages 4 – 18 and had experienced e-learning during the pandemic. Respondents were evenly spread across the US and were gender, age and income balanced. The survey was conducted online from March 13 – March 14, 2021.
The survey investigated parents attitudes toward their children e-learning as a result of COVID restrictions.
Summary and conclusion
88% of parents reported that their child’s first experience with e-learning was during the pandemic.
The majority of parents are satisfied with e-learning (61%), view it more favorably now than before the pandemic (55%), and would welcome more e-learning in some form in the future (58%).
For those parents that are satisfied with e-learning, the key driver for their satisfaction is that their child seems to enjoy e-learning, and the ability for the parent to play a more active role in their child’s education.
For parents who reported they were not satisfied with e-learning (25%), the key drivers of dissatisfaction are that their child is missing out on social interaction and does not enjoy e-learning.
The majority of parents (70%) are either happy or extremely happy about schools reopening and most parents feel that schools should focus on offering more opportunities for students to interact with one another as well as offer more tutoring. Few parents believe that schools should reduce the length of upcoming holidays or that schools should offer students the option to repeat a year.
I hope that this survey helped you have a better understanding of parent attitudes towards e-learning as a result of the pandemic.
Finn is the CEO of Learnopoly and has 6 years experience in financial services, first at a tier 1 bank then at a financial technology startup, working in strategic partnerships and business development. Finn has built several internet businesses and has a deep passion for learning.