online learning

#6: Report: Millions of students reveal surprising online learning trends

New study reveals that collaboration is still not a prevalent online learning habit; mobile phones have yet to be used for serious learning.

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on February 23rd of this year, was our #6 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

In perfect timing with Digital Learning Day, international social learning platform GoConqr surveyed over 2.5 million students and teachers currently using the platform from over 160 countries last year (2016) to better understand their online learning habits and how learning is changing in general.

According to the report, which surveyed students and teachers ranging from secondary to postgraduate levels, the biggest online learning trends encompassed behaviors in collaborative learning, mobile learning, types of subjects studied, active learning patterns, and differences in learning and teaching styles.

Some of the key findings of the report reveal that students and teachers are using online platforms as an additional source to help with subjects either not taught under general education curriculum, or are subjects considered difficult to learn and therefore require more time to learn at a personalized pace.

Also, despite the prevalence of social networking, online study tends to be a solitary activity, with 79 percent of those surveyed choosing not to study collaboratively when they are online. However, this percentage is decreasing over time as traditional learning methods are being replaced with online and blended teaching styles.

According to Dualta Moore, GoConqr’s CEO, the increasing application of technology—not only in the classroom, but in the whole process of learning, study and revision—raises the question of whether, in the coming years, “after school study will continue to be a largely solitary task” or, on the other hand, “the increasing popularity of online educational resources and study groups will increase collaborative learning “.

GoConqr’s poll of millions of students and teachers across the globe revealed interesting findings across a number of areas, including:


  • The U.S. has the most variety in eLearning tools
  • The U.K. has the strongest focus on science-based subjects
  • Germany has the top viewers of peer content: 72 percent of German users view other peoples’ resources
  • Columbia has the top creators of content: 93 percent of Columbians create their own resources
  • Brazil has study groups with the largest number of people: +30 percent are members of a group
  • The U.A.E. has the highest percentage of mobile users: 77 percent
  • Australia has the most active study groups: 22 percent of those in study groups contribute regularly

(Next page: Fascinating online learning trends from the report)

Collaborative Learning

  • 79 percent of those surveyed choose not to study collaboratively even when they are online.
  • Researchers believe this lack of online collaboration is a legacy of traditional learning methodologies.
  • There has been a steady increase in group activity—the percentage of visits to groups as a percentage of total visits to GoConqr went up by 38 percent from April to October 2016—suggesting that a “cultural shift is underway where the power of social networks for education, and not just entertainment, is being recognized,” notes the report.

Mobile Learning

  • The report finds that the growth rate for mobile is not as accelerated as the general mobile web usage trends. For example, the percentage of users who access GoConqr via a mobile device accounted for 30 percent of all traffic in 2016. When compared to global mobile usage stats of 45 percent of all web traffic, it becomes evident that learning on devices “is still not as prevalent as general browsing,” states the report. “This data suggests that learning is lower down the list of priorities for users of mobile devices.”
  • There are 6 visits via a mobile phone for every 1 visit via a tablet.
  • Android dominates globally with over 70 percent of the mobile connections to CoConqer having an Android OS.
  • 48 percent of the mobile connections in the U.S. and 65 percent of the mobile connections in the U.S. are iOS.
  • Mobile users prefer to view content rather than create it via their mobile device: desktop users spend on average 5 minutes and 44 seconds creating a resource, while only a small proportion of those surveyed create their own content; and when they do, they spend an average of 2 minutes and 45 seconds.


  • English is the most popular subject for non-English speaking countries.
  • STEM subjects tend to be most popular online, especially in the U.K.
  • Researchers believe this data suggests that students are “taking ownership of their learning and finding ways to supplement in-school learning in the areas where the school system falls short,” says the report.
  • The report notes that online learning will play a key role in fields such as computing, physics, and other STEM areas due to these fields traditionally being seen as extremely difficult and inaccessible for most students and online learning now opening the doors to facilitate the learning process.

Active Learning

  • Users from Latin America—Columbia (93 percent) and Mexico (86 percent)—show a greater preference for engaging with learning by creating their own study resources.
  • There is a significant regional variation in use of GoConqr for active learning compared to the more traditional content consumption.

Learning and Teaching Styles

  • Those surveyed tend to favor interactive resources (mind maps, flashcards and quizzes) over traditional ones (notes and slides) in a ratio of about 8:1.
  • Among the content creation tools available to learners, the most popular by a significant margin is the Mind Map tool: a highly visual study tool in which a central idea or theme is explored through its connections with a series of related ideas or topics.
  • The Mind Map tool preference is supported by another statistic, which states that searches for Mind Maps on Google went up by 50 percent in the last 5 years.

For the full report, as well as research questions for the future, read “GoConqr Online Learning Report 2017” here.

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