2020 was a turbulent year for education in general and at Instituto Superior San Ignacio de Loyola (ISIL) we carried out online education research to deep dive into higher education challenges and opportunities.
Founded in 1983, as a Technological Institute, ISIL is a private, regulated, for-profit institution in the Peruvian higher education sector, licensed by the Peruvian Ministry of Education. Currently, ISIL offers technical programmes through its Institute, as well as professional ones through its Superior School. It also offers Executive Education programmes and online courses via ISIL Go platform. With an innovative value proposal, the institution claims a leading position in Peru’s higher education area.
Online education research
The research undertaken aimed to highlight Peruvian attitudes towards online education. Based on a sample of 600 respondents the ISIL survey ranged across all age groups, all economic levels and educational levels from incomplete technical education to PhD.
The headline results from the survey, carried out in late 2020 indicate high levels of satisfaction with current online offers. Here are some key findings:
1. Higher education students in Peru show a high satisfaction level with the service provided by their institution (18% very good and 74% good). This is good news given the circumstances in which many universities or colleges had to drastically adapt themselves to a fully online education. However, 72% of the students who assess the service in a negative way haven’t considered changing to another higher education provider. This result leads us to the question, how do we have that ”customer loyalty”? It’s an opportunity to reflect on how educational institutions should work towards developing a lifelong relationship with students.
2. Online courses are the preferred option among the online education offer, especially for millennials. Last year, this group of users (aged between 32 and 35) had a high demand for these courses, outlining that the end qualification is the main factor for choosing them (64%). After that, the price (52%) was the next most important factor and the teacher’s prestige (34%). Therefore, regarding a specialised educational offer, the user values an online course that develops their knowledge or skills. In other words, something they can later display in an employment setting.
3. Updating knowledge and new work opportunities are the main reasons to study online courses. Additionally, there is a clear trend in the duration of the courses taken: less than 6 hours (39%) and between 7 and 12 hours (26%). So, if we interpret both results together, we could say that users expect a specific topic and amount of hours to invest in open education.
4. Hybrid education models are highly favoured with 64% of users choosing a mix between in campus and online as a permanent modality. 29% preferred on campus and 7 % fully online. This finding, seen from a broader perspective, would reveal that education users want the best of both worlds: online advantages (quick and intuitive solutions) plus offline benefits of face to face interaction and mobility.
5. 51% of respondents that still haven’t studied online are willing to try the experience. Are the barriers for the consumption of online education related to the same barriers of consumers of other online services or products? Ecommerce in Peru experienced accelerated growth through the pandemic, despite the cultural concern towards online payment transactions and internet safety. On the other hand, the health emergency context increased the consumption of streaming services, making users more familiar with online content. However, access to the internet remains a major issue as well as access to adequate electronic devices, especially in rural areas.
Our respondents, a representative sample of Peruvian learners, appear to embrace e-learning and, the majority, enjoy a positive experience. As a means of developing skills in the working population, e-learning has a clear future but must be tempered with appropriate face to face opportunities to maintain valuable relationships with learners.