What Online Learning Features do International Students Value the Most?

What are the most popular features and advantages of online learning during the COVID-19 crisis, and how can universities make the most of these features?  

During the coronavirus crisis, online learning has become the key educational delivery model for higher education institutions across the globe. 

As the crisis continues, it’s imperative that institutions examine what works, and what doesn’t work, in the online learning space.  

So, what features do students like the most when learning online 

The most popular feature of online lectures was the online chat function, which allows students to ask questions of the lecturer. In a recent QS survey of international students, 63% of respondents chose this feature as one of their top three features when attending an online lecture.  

Other crucial features were the option to take part in interactive exercises (57%) and a flexible timetabling option (53%). 

With travel and student mobility restricted, many international students are studying from a vast array of different time zones, so flexible timetabling needs to be a critical component of any institution’s educational delivery.  

Surveyed international students were also asked whether they preferred online lectures to be pre-recorded or live streamed.  

The most popular choice was for online lectures to be mostly live streamed with some pre-recorded (34%). 

The second most popular option was all live streamed (23%), followed by mostly pre-recorded with some live streamed (20%). 

Additionally, survey respondents were asked to reveal whether they would feel more comfortable asking questions to a lecturer in an online or face-to-face setting.  

Interestingly, 14% said that they would feel more comfortable asking questions in an online setting, while 62% chose a face-to-face setting and 24% had no preference.  

Higher education institutions who are considering moving lectures to an online setting permanently should keep this in mind and provide students with an option to ask questions face-to-face, as well as online during the lecture.  

To discover more insights from the latest QS coronavirus report, please download your free copy of the report: Learning in Lockdown: How Students are Experiencing Education Now. 


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