The Gender Gap in Online Learning Has Narrowed During the Pandemic

Coursera, Inc., one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, released a new study that examines the pandemic’s impact on skills and learning trends among women. The Women and Skills Report compares pre-pandemic enrollment and performance data with trends observed on the Coursera platform since the onset of the pandemic through June 2021.

The study found that women in the United States are learning online at higher rates compared to the pre-pandemic period, representing 52 percent of new learners in 2021, up from 47 percent in 2019. In the U.S., the share of overall course enrollments from women increased from 42 percent in 2019 to 49 percent in 2021. For STEM courses, the gender gap narrowed from 35 percent of all enrollments for women in 2019 to 42 percent in 2021.

More women are also participating in certificate training programs aimed at entry-level digital jobs. These certificates, from industry leaders such as Google, IBM, and Facebook, are designed to prepare learners without a college degree or technology experience for a wide range of high-demand digital jobs.

The also study found that women online learners enroll more than men in courses taught by women instructors. Instructor representation is one of the most important factors contributing to increases in women’s enrollments. Forty-nine percent of enrollments from women learners are in courses with women instructors, compared to 38 percent for men learners.

The full report, Women and Skills Report, 2021: Addressing Gender Gaps Through Online Learning, may be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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