Voice of the Online Learner

Wiley’s annual ‘Voice of the Online Learner’ report just released reveals that online education is providing a pathway for “stopped-out” students to complete their programs, including many first-generation college students. 
A few key findings: 
  • 42% of online learners are previous college “stop-outs” who have returned to higher ed. They see online learning as a fast and flexible way to help them rejoin the workforce, complete an industry requirement or achieve personal growth. 
  • Nearly half (44%) of these returning non-completers identify as first-generation college students. These students may require additional support from institutions to complete their programs. 
  • 66% of learners are open to pursuing trade skills certificates, industry certifications and non-credit certificates over degrees—with83% interested in these shorter-term alternatives even if financial aid wasn’t available. 
  • 92% of students who graduated within the last year achieved a positive outcome they attribute to their degree, such as a salary increase or promotion. 


As the online learning environment continues to evolve post-pandemic, learners’ preferences are also changing. In this, their 12th annual report, they explore how financial concerns, difficulties with admissions, and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 are shaping learners’ needs and experiences.

Based on a spring 2023 survey, this comprehensive report compiles and analyzes responses from over 2,600 prospective, current, and recently graduated online learners across the U.S. Learn more.  


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