Anyone who has neglected digital education so far has experienced a rude awakening in the Corona crisis. Schools and universities around the world were suddenly faced with the question: How do you organize yourself online, how does digital teaching work, does every pupil / student have access to a computer, let alone broadband Internet?
Factors in digital education
The digital learning platform Preply has examined the state of e-learning in the OECD in summer 2020. For this purpose, three areas, each with three factors, were examined:
# 1 digital education:
- Proportion of the total population with private access to a computer
- Distance learning: Number of degree programs and courses that can be completed entirely online
- Education expenditure: Share of the gross domestic product per capita that the state spends per student (data from the World Bank, partly from 2016)
# 2 digitization:
- average broadband internet speed
- average mobile internet speed
- average monthly cost of broadband internet access
# 3 market:
- average hourly wage of a tutor in euros
- Number of students, pupils and preschoolers (World Bank data)
- Growth in the number of users on Preply
All indicators were considered equally for the final grade. The study allows interesting comparisons, but raises questions. Some categories were set in relation to the respective total population (for example the proportion of people with computer access). In other areas, however, absolute numbers were compared (number of pupils / students and online courses). The “Market” category is also heavily geared towards Preply’s own business (the platform arranges tutors). It seems questionable how meaningful this data is for evaluating e-learning in a country. In describing the results, we therefore limit ourselves to the first two areas.
The data was reportedly collected on July 15, 2020. Preply did not have sufficient figures for 7 of the 37 OECD members. Therefore, the following countries were not included: Iceland, Israel, Colombia, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
# 10 Australia
For the study, Preply rated the leader in the ranking with 100 points, the bottom of the 30 OECD countries received zero points. Australia opened the top 10 with 68 points. According to the information, only around 82 percent of the population have access to a private computer. That was the lowest value in the top group. Broadband was also by far the slowest on the continent. In return, Australia scored with the largest number of distance learning courses (3,094 courses) and fast mobile Internet.
# 9 Finland
In Finland, almost 94 percent of the population had access to a private computer. That was the fourth-best value in the top 10. In terms of government spending on higher education, with 34 percent of GDP per student in the top group, however, it was only enough for third from bottom. Finland got a total of 71 out of 100 possible points.
# 8 New Zealand
New Zealand’s stationary internet is more than twice as fast as that in Australia, according to Preply. In the analysis, the country came to an average download speed of 115 Mbit per second. The data in this category came from the Speed Test online portal. However, this has its price. With an average of 46 euros for broadband internet access, New Zealand was at the top of the comparison. With a total of 74 points, it came eighth in the ranking for digital education.
# 7 Austria
Austria achieved comparatively average results in the top 10 in most areas. That was enough for 76 points and seventh place. However, Austria was clearly bad in terms of the average surfing speed on broadband. According to the information, it was only enough for 57 Mbit / s in summer 2020. That was only around a third of the speed achieved in the country with the fastest data traffic.
# 6 Sweden
Sweden scored points in the ranking with the third fastest broadband of the 30 OECD countries examined. Online lectures are unlikely to fail due to poor data connections. A share of 93 percent in private computer access helped lift Sweden to sixth place with 79 points.
# 5 Netherlands
In none of the 30 OECD countries examined had more people access to a private computer than in the Netherlands. Preply recorded an almost perfect share of 98 percent. Fast Internet and 36 percent of GDP per student led to 85 points and fifth place in the e-learning ranking.
# 4 Luxembourg
Luxembourg had only nine distance learning programs and courses. That was by far the lowest value in the top 10 – but no wonder given the small number of inhabitants in the mini-state. 95 percent private computer access, high spending on higher education and high-speed broadband Internet gave Luxembourg 94 points and fourth place in the OECD.
# 3 Switzerland
In Switzerland, according to the information, only about nine out of ten residents have private access to a computer. That was only enough in the top 10 for midfield. However, Switzerland scored with fast and inexpensive broadband and many online learning opportunities.
# 2 Denmark
Denmark was beaten by only one decimal place in education spending, with 43.1 percent of GDP. According to the study, the mobile Internet can be expanded. According to the information, Danes paid an average of only 26 euros for broadband internet access, the cheapest price in the top 10. Overall, our neighbor scored 99 points and was only exceeded by one OECD member in digital education.
# 1 Norway
Norway was the measure of all things with 100 points in the ranking. According to this, 95 percent of residents had private access to a computer and were able to use the Internet quickly both stationary and mobile. According to Preply, broadband was almost one and a half times faster than in Germany at 127.2 Mbit / s. The Federal Republic landed in 13th place among the 30 countries examined.