Students pass the digital transformation test – survey about the remote education experience

Students sat for their final exams in secondary schools this week. But how did remote education impact their exam preparations? A survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Telenor found that most students found the transition to remote education smooth and are happy with the new setup. They miss personal contact and their classmates the most, but enjoy more flexible time management and value the time they can save on commuting. 

Online education passes the test 
 
The fast shift to quarantine education shows the progress we made to digital education. It was a huge change for teachers, parents and students alike when schools moved to the online space in a matter of a few weeks. Telenor has commissioned Ipsos to conduct a survey on home office and homeschooling on a sample of 550 people representative in terms of sex, age, type of settlement and region*. Respondents were asked to share their experience of the first 4 weeks of remote education based on the opinion of students in their household or their own experience, if they were students themselves. Slightly more than half of students spend 2 to 6 hours a day with online learning and overall 58% of the affected parents and students are satisfied. Children enjoy digital education. Only 13% are not satisfied with this form of education. 
 
Satisfaction seems to largely depend on the availability of technology solutions supporting education. Telenor’s online education program HiperSuli has provided valuable assistance to users in acquiring the skills to use such solutions. 70% of students said they managed to adapt to digital education swiftly. 67% could manage online learning seamlessly after the first 4 weeks of homeschooling. 
 
70% of respondents in Budapest said that remote education was smooth after initial difficulties had been resolved. Those living outside Budapest had a more mixed opinion. On average, 80% of them agreed with the above statement, but others found the new education method far from being smooth.  
 
Some subjects turned out to be easier to be taught remotely than others. 55% of respondents found that adaption was more difficult with specific subjects. One of the reasons for that is the varying quality and quantity of tools available for the different classes. HiperSuli’s list of recommended tools is also dominated by websites and applications for teaching maths and foreign languages. For other subjects, it is more difficult to find ready-made online curricula. As a result, many teachers had no other option but select a general educational application and fill it with content which involves a lot more preparation and effort.
  
Classrooms moving to the cloud, students using multiple platforms 
 
Based on the answers, most schools can manage education using up to 3 platforms, but some of them (6%) use at least 6 different platforms.  Schools use a broad variety of platforms with eKRÉTA being the most popular one, followed by general communication channels such as Facebook, e-mail, Zoom and, slightly lagging behind, Microsoft Teams. Education platforms Google Classroom and Redmenta are less widely used (by 2 out of 10 students on average).  
 
62% of parents believe that the use of remote education tools enables their children to acquire useful digital skills, while only 44% of digital native students share the same view. More than 50% of parents find that their digital skills have also improved through helping their children with homeschooling. 
 
More free time but studying alone is not the same as going to school
 
When asked about the benefits of remote learning, respondents mentioned less time spent travelling and flexible time management. Several students said that education has improved in some ways: it has become more creative (26%), more personalised (24%) and provides better access to information (29%).  
 
It is probably due to the availability of digital tools why most respondents consider the mental issues caused by physical separation rather than technology solutions to be the biggest challenge of remote education. Most of them miss personal contact, but nearly 50% of the affected parents and students also find it difficult to focus on homeschooling activities. Testing is the most challenging part of remote education, while 2 out 5 respondents expressed concern about the poor digital skills of teachers. Many students face technical obstacles related to the poor quality or lack of internet access. 38% believe that not all students have access to appropriate digital tools. 
 
“Based on the results, the majority of students have adopted a can-do attitude when it comes to the changes caused by the special situation and can see the silver lining in them. Not meeting their friends and not coming together in the breaks at school poses a major challenge for students. Their environment has changed out of recognition in recent weeks and it took some time for them to get used to that. This is also shown by their attention issues. They suddenly found themselves in a home office environment where even adults’ attention can be easily diverted”, said Balázs Koren, maths teacher and head of Telenor’s HiperSuli program.