Survey of DeVry University Students Reveals Ways to Reduce Transition Curve to Online Learning

Naperville, Ill - Apr. 28, 2020 - To help ease the transition from “traditional” in-classroom learning to online learning, DeVry University surveyed 4,000 of its online students last month on what best practices, tools and resources they would offer to new online learners, as well as what the benefits are to online learning. According to the survey, experienced online learners were more likely to recommend certain success strategies and tools for moving from traditional in-person to online learning that could be applicable to students moving online during the current healthcare situation.

In their opinion, more experienced online students who had taken 31+ courses were more likely to respond that online learning was “better than on-campus,” citing more positive evaluations of lifestyle convenience factors (flexibility, work/life balance, scheduling). Overall, 31.7 percent of students said that work-life balance was what they liked most about online learning. These factors are important during the current COVID-19 crisis in which typical schedules, living arrangements, and other factors have been upended.

“Making any abrupt change is always challenging, and learning a new way of doing something, like going to school or taking classes – can be intimidating,” said Shantanu Bose, provost, DeVry University. “Our study highlights the experiences of DeVry’s tenured online students, with the hopes that new online learners everywhere can apply these insights to reduce their personal transition curve.”

The students also shared their tips for online learning. The most important factors cited by almost one-third of surveyed students were “manage your schedule,” “ask questions,” and “complete assignments.” Interestingly, 14 percent more of the tenured students ranked “Manage Your Schedule” as the number one tip. They recommended the following to help transition from in-classroom to online learning (in ranked order):

  • Manage your schedule
  • Utilize resources
  • Focus
  • Create a good workspace
  • Be disciplined

“Be a keyboard hero,” said Ryan Welch, a senior at DeVry University. “Take as many scheduled live lectures or discussions as you can. Participate by asking questions and commenting. This will keep your mind sharp and keep you engaged in the conversation as you learn and create fellowship with your peers.”

Across all student groups, 56 percent ranked headphones and headsets as the number one technology tool for success, with many citing noise cancellation as a key benefit. With many forced to cohabitate during the current healthcare crisis, this tool could be equally beneficial for new online learners. When comparing responses, the biggest difference in tool recommendations was “Workspace” with 9 percent more of the tenured students citing having a dedicated workspace as an important tool, technology, or resource that is most helpful in transitioning to online learning.

The most important tools, technologies, equipment and resources experienced online learners found most helpful in transitioning to online learning included (in ranked order):

  • Laptop, Monitor and Desktop
  • Headphones and Headset, like earbuds
  • Internet Access
  • Microphone
  • Calendar

“The headline is to embrace your institution’s virtual opportunities and make sure you have access to the right equipment, workspace, and mindset as you transition,” said Bose. “With education going online during this pandemic, we hope to help students all over maintain their success through these tips from DeVry’s seasoned online learners.”

The survey was conducted during the week of March 30, 2020, among DeVry University students, with 1,891 who had taken 1-5 courses compared to 195 who had taken 31+ courses.

EDITORS NOTE: For your reporting, DeVry University can identify students or faculty to speak about teaching or learning online based on your beat or location.

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap and address emerging talent needs by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online in Business, Healthcare and Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit