The GenerationWeb report—carried out by CarringtonCrisp in association with EFMD—shows that of those who would prefer blended learning over a third (34%) want their education delivered 60% in the classroom and 40% online—the most popular split.
The study was carried out against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020 and surveyed 606 students of 50 nationalities.
Was the move to online learning successful?
The student response to how business schools acted during the pandemic is split. The report findings highlight that 61% agree that the experience of online learning failed to match the experience of in-person teaching, with 39% saying the experience left them less interested in their subject of study than before.
However, the response to actions taken by schools was positive overall. 71% agree their school responded quickly to the pandemic and 66% say their school is making good use of online resources to enable virtual teaching.
At the same time, 31% of students surveyed say that their experience of online learning surprised them, exceeding their expectations—34% are more likely now to consider online education in the future.
The results of the survey show that business schools need to accommodate the digital demands of the next generation of students coming through their doors. These students live online and have been using social networks to find information about prospective business schools for a while.
Just over half of students (52%) searched for business school related information using social networking sites and 27% use social media to support their studies.
Instagram is the most widely used social media platform among the business school students surveyed (89%) followed by WhatsApp (84%), Facebook (77%), Snapchat (77%), Twitter (56%), and LinkedIn (55%).
“The reflection is that students carry out so much of their lives online now, then why not learning too?” says Andrew Crisp, co-founder of CarringtonCrisp.
Business schools go digital
Learning was not the only aspect of the business school experience which transitioned online following the COVID-19 outbreak, with careers and support services also going digital.
69% of students surveyed said career services continued online to a largely positive effect. 65% of students agreed online advice services were good or very good, similarly 61% agreed the same for careers services.
As the future of business education continues to come into question, the GenerationWeb study shows that online delivery is a model that will persist beyond the pandemic.
“Whilst at first the reaction to online learning was negative, the data shows how a third of students have enjoyed the experience," Andrew notes.
“It’s a recognition by students that the future will involve some kind of lifelong online learning. As their lives and careers grow, blended learning is perhaps the best solution to learning needs, and they can see that there is a vast amount of learning that can be successfully carried out online.”