Lockdown learning: New data reveals online learning trends for UK students

New data from online learning platform, Firefly, reveals learning trends in the UK with parents eight times more engaged with their children’s studies than they were prior to COVID-19.  
 
The data analyses activity from over 400,000 students across 500 schools which shows the shape of school day has significantly shifted since going online – with a clear morning rush with 81% more learning now occurring before 1pm. 
 
As well as its existing school clients, Firefly has offered all schools around the world access to its platform free of charge.  
 
While findings are consistent across all age groups, the data shows a spike in online learning from primary schools who were not previously engaging with online learning in the same way. Primary school students are 17 time more likely to engage with online learning now than prior to the pandemic – potentially highlighting a new future for early learning practices. online learning
 
The morning rush is in part due to a shift in teachers streaming lesson and engaging students with video form time which tends to take place at the start of the day. In addition, Firefly has seen schools across the country adapt to ensure online learning is a success with many now streaming assemblies for students at the start of the day.   
 
Firefly has also found that students learning appetite varies based on the day of the week – with activity on the platform 20 per cent lower on a Friday compared to Monday. 
 
It’s not only students who are adapting to a new learning week – Firefly has found new trends from teachers navigating online learning practices. Most notably, teachers are spending 9 times as much time online on a Sunday preparing for online learning and setting tasks for the week ahead compared to before the pandemic. 
 
While there is an increase in parental involvement in student learning, this is taking place after bedtime as families continue to juggle life during lockdown. Parents are much more likely to access the platform out of hours, with nearly a fifth of time outside the hours of 6am-6pm. 
 
Currently 1.2 billion children in 186 countries are affected by school closures due to the pandemic. As schools begin their next phase, online learning will still be integral to education as children go back to in person learning at different times, understanding how children respond best to this form of learning is essential. 
 
Joe Mathewson, Founder of Firefly comments: “We have seen an unprecedented shift in how schools operate and how learning is managed, yet we have seen the majority of schools adapt to this quickly and continue to deliver a great education.
 
“The data highlights how we can continue to use online learning to its full advantage to ensure going forward we are creating and inclusive and successful education system that will get the best out of every student, as well as the importance of parental involvement.”
 
James Hoyle of Skipton Girls’ High School and designated EdTech Demonstrator School commented: “Since the significant transformation of the education sector to online we have seen a fantastic transition and new independence for all our student. 
 
“Firefly has been essential for this, with 96% of students reporting they can continue making progress with their learning online. The ease at which digital learning has happened has meant we will continue using Firefly as a platform and ensure online learning is built into education going forward.”

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