79% students use smartphones to take online classes: Survey

59% are using WhatsApp and Zoom calls for their online classes, while 30% are using their institution’s online platform, says a survey by Vidyasaarathi

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A majority of students (79%) use smartphones to study online reveals ‘India Lockdown Learning’ report by Vidyasaarathi. The report goes on to state that only 17% of students attend their online classes using laptops and computers and rest 4% of students attend it through mediums like tablets. Vidyasaarathi is one of the largest scholarship management portals in India - promoted by NSDL e-Governance.


Vidyasaarathi’s ‘India Lockdown Learning’ report is basis of a nationwide survey conducted by collecting data from over 10,000 students across 400 cities to understand the transformation happening in the educational eco-system.  The survey helps us to take note of how students are adopting e-learning which is becoming the norm and the challenges they face in the transition. The survey is holistic in capturing all the essential data for us to discern the pros and cons of the new normal.

The report that provides unique insights and perspectives on the e-learning scenario in India further finds that WhatsApp and Zoom Calls to be the most preferred medium of 59% students for conducting online classes; followed by 30% of students using their school’s or college’s online platform to attend online classes.

While online classes are part of the new normal, 75% of the students still prefer physical classrooms over online learning. Poor internet connection was highlighted by 57% of students as their biggest challenge for e-learning. 31% of students finding it difficult to focus and 12% finding it difficult to get doubts clarified while studying online.


Interestingly, over 60% of the students spend around 1-4 hours on e-Learning; followed by 31% spending 4-8 hours and 8% spending 8-12 hours studying online. This shows that despite the challenges, the students’ willingness to learn and the commitment of teachers towards online education.

Moreover, among the total number of students who are utilizing online classes, 62% of them are using it for curricular and 38% for extra-curricular activities. Amongst the extra-curricular activities, 39% are taking online courses on art & craft. This indicates a shift from traditional learning methods.

A majority of the students who took the survey were in the age groups of 12 to 28 years where 62% were males. The respondents are in their undergraduate and postgraduate courses. They come from middle-class families, with around 90% of students belonging to families with annual incomes below Rs 7 lakh.

Students are also well aware of the benefits of online classes. A majority of them cited that the biggest advantage of e-learning is the accessibility of the course content at any time. Students also highlighted the ease of use and convenient doubt clarification to be the other motivators for online education.

Indian students are new to the e-learning culture. Online classes in this pandemic situation have been a challenge for educators and for students as well. This survey highlights the need for good IT infrastructure so that the challenges of digital learning do not weigh it down.