Back to Digital Learning

Data/Research: Digital Learning

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Back to Digital Learning

As a growing number of students adapt to remote learning, it’s become clear that this method of education is likely here to stay in at least some format. Teachers and students have become accustomed to how remote learning can be a useful tool in extending instruction to new locales.


EWA recommends reviewing the resources that can be helpful when covering topics related to adolescents.

Success of Remote Learning

The Education Trust — New York released a report in October 2020 that discussed whether families in a wide variety of demographics considered remote learning successful, as well as the challenges they have faced using this learning method.

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) evaluated whether students learned as well during remote learning as they did in the classroom, and released the results in November 2020. The findings indicated that both reading and math scores fell during the remote learning period, and that many students from low-income communities didn’t test at all in the fall of 2020, which the group noted was a concerning statistic.

Access to Technology

In October 2020, the Public Policy Institute of California reported that the portion of Calif. students who consistently had a device they could access for educational reasons rose from 67 percent in spring 2020 to 79 percent in the fall.

A study by Be Clear and Change Research surveyed 440 parents of children in the K-12 grade range about access to technology, and found that the majority consider lack of internet access to be a “major threat to education.”

An analysis by nonprofit organization The 74 found massive disparities in digital access nationwide, with 25 percent of students in Nevada’s Clark County unable to access virtual lessons, while 90 percent of students in Florida’s Miami-Dade county were keeping up with online lessons.

Remote Learning and Higher Education

The National Student Clearinghouse reported that 2020 high school graduation rates remained steady despite the switch mid-year to remote learning, but that college enrollment following high school graduation fell by nearly 22 percent compared to the data from 2019.

A June 2020 EducationData survey found that 97 percent of college students had switched to online instruction, and that 63 percent indicated that online learning was worse than in-person instruction.

Future Plans for Remote Learning

McKinsey performed an analysis of remote learning in August 2020, studying how to make it tenable for the future. Among the firm’s recommendations were suggestions about which portions of the day should be in remote vs. hybrid vs. in-person education, and when asynchronous vs. asynchronous lessons should be provided.

report by CB Insights analyzes why educational technology only comprises five percent of the $1.6 trillion spent on education in the U.S. annually.

Privacy Risks With Remote Learning

The EWA’s October 2020 webinar discussed in-depth issues regarding privacy issues with respect to remote learning.

Nonprofit organization NewAmerica created a comprehensive resource sharing the laws and considerations involved with privacy and online learning.

Student/Teacher Opinions on Remote Learning

The EWA’s 2020 webinar shared important insights into how students and teachers feel about remote learning.

The Economic Policy Institute released a report in September 2020 indicating that teachers feel they should have been trained better in online instruction.

Research and Data Sources

Tracking Distance Education in the United States by Bay View Analytics.

National Center for Education Statistics by the U.S. Department of Education.

Market landscape report for companies that colleges partner with to deliver online learning by Phil Hill.

Key Organizations

Educause: Nonprofit association for colleges focused on technology and innovation.

Online Learning Consortium: A nonprofit community group for higher ed leaders promoting online learning.

WCET: A national group for colleges focused on trends in online learning and edtech in higher ed, run by the nonprofit Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

League for Innovation in the Community College: International nonprofit focused on digital innovation and online learning at two-year colleges.

Every Learner Everywhere: Network of edtech groups promoting digital learning run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

International Center for Academic Integrity: Nonprofit group working to combat cheating, plagiarism and academic dishonesty in higher education.