USA ranks poorly for e-learning provision: study

USA ranks poorly for e-learning provision: study

USA has fared poorly in a Preply study which analysed e-learning infrastructure amongst countries in the OECD.

A new study by the online learning platform Preply has identified the countries that have the best e-learning infrastructures in place. Within this study, the USA ranked particularly poorly, coming out as only the 12th best e-learning provider in the OECD.  

The Preply study evaluated the e-learning experiences across select countries and assessed the extent to which these countries have successfully met the need for online education driven by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The study examined the digital infrastructure of the 30 countries in the OECD.

The factors that the study considered included the state of digital infrastructure, the number of digital education courses and the country’s e-learning market.

Only 72% of USA households have a computer

One of the biggest surprises that its results brought to light was the fact that, at just 19.4% of GDP per capita, the USArankspoorly for government spending on tertiary education per pupil.

Furthermore, only 72% of US households have a computer (in comparison to 91.7% in the UK).

The USA’s low position in this rankings comes despite the fact that the US has by far the highest number of online learning courses, at 9,303 – more than Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK combined.

The US market volume, at 78,000 registered students, is almost five times that of Germany.

Earlier this month, a Canvas study identified that students from poorer households are more likely to find engaging with online learning challenging.

Mexico worst within OECD for e-learning

Other findings included the fact that Mexico offered the worst conditions for e-learning, as only 44.3% of Mexicans have access to a private computer.

Canada offers the best value for money internet access, and its government invests roughly 31% of GDP per capita in its tertiary education.

Despite its highly advanced technological capabilities, Japan ranked in at 26th place. Although it has a rich market for e-learning, the country’s potential was held back by ‘sluggish internet and inadequate digital educational opportunities’.

Kirill Bigai, CEO of Preply, expressed his hopes that countries will continue to invest in their e-learning infrastructures, in order to improve the experience that students receive.

“We are convinced that e-learning has a great potential to improve educational opportunities worldwide.

“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that access to digital education is unequally distributed, but that there are ample opportunities to begin investing in the digital infrastructure necessary for a national shift to online learning.

“This study aims to uncover the extent to which all learners have access to adequate digital tools and resources.”

Pic: William Iven

Josephine Walbank - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.

Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.

You can reach her at

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