Distance learning


Erfurt, 8 March 2021 – High satisfaction despite the pandemic: Germany's distance learning students are doing well. With their studies in general – and with the study conditions during the pandemic in particular. This is confirmed by the Trend Study on Distance Learning published today: Education in 2021 at the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences. For the fifth edition of Germany's most extensive survey concerning the living and studying conditions of distance learning students, 6,400 people were interviewed: current and former students at German distance learning universities as well as those interested in distance learning.  

Over 96% of students are satisfied with their distance learning programme. This is even one percentage point more than in the last Distance Learning Trend Study of 2019. An important factor for the high level of satisfaction: the distance learning programme needs to run almost undisturbed. Around 70% of enrolled distance students report that their studies were not affected by the pandemic. And over 95% are satisfied with the measures their university has taken to compensate for the – few – restrictions caused by the crisis.  

Learning apps, video conferences, podcasts – this is how digital education works 

 "Corona has catapulted our society two to three years into the digital future. This was a big challenge for many education providers. For distance students, on the other hand, learning platforms, learning apps, video conferences, podcasts, and digital tutorials have long since become part of everyday life," says Prof. Dr. Holger Sommerfeldt, Vice-Rector Distance Learning at the IUBH. "Modern distance learning courses show how digital education works. Distance learning is the model of success for e-learning." 

 For almost 93% of students, individual support is also important in distance learning. However, the relationship between teacher and student differs from the one in face-to-face teaching: In e-learning, the teacher takes on more of a support role, reports Prof. Dr. André Hollstein, Head of Media Didactics & Innovation: "Compared to traditional face-to-face teaching, distance learning is much more about meeting the different learning needs of individual students through innovative digital offerings."  

 More and more students are expected to enrol 

Even before Corona, the number of distance students in Germany had already risen sharply. The crisis has once again accelerated growth, according to Dr. Carmen Thoma, COO Distance Learning at the IUBH. Because of Corona, 25% of the interested parties surveyed realised the importance of further training in the first place. And over 97 % of all respondents believe that online learning will become much more important as a result of the pandemic.  

Currently, around 190,000 distance learning students are enrolled in Germany, a good 35% more than two years ago. Thoma predicts a further increase in the number of students enrolled in distance learning programmes: "A digital degree programme fits perfectly into today's world of life and the diverse demands that people have and want to meet today". 

Increased prestige and financial reward 

The study also shows that distance learning is now seen as equally valuable or even more valuable than face-to-face study. Three people out of four believe that their employer sees it the same way. This is supported by the fact that 48% were given more interesting jobs after graduation – and 55% a higher salary. 
About the study 

6,400 people took part in the Trend Study Distance Learning: Education 2021. Around 50% of the participants are currently enrolled in a distance learning programme at a German university, and around 40% are planning to start a distance learning programme in the near future. 3% have dropped out of distance learning. About 5% have already successfully completed their distance learning programme. It is the largest survey concerning distance learning students' living and studying conditions and took place for the fifth time in 2020/21. 

You can find the study results here  

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