Try Magic Notes and save time.Try it free
Try Magic Notes and save timeCrush your year with the magic of personalized studying.Try it free

Introducing Quizlet’s State of Remote Learning Report 2020. Key Insights for Back-to-School

Quizlet in EducationNews · Posted by Amanda  August 13, 2020
State of Remote Learning Report (2).png

In 2020, the advent of COVID-19 has caused perhaps the largest disruption of our modern education system. According to the United Nations, the pandemic affected nearly 1.6 billion learners and up to 94 percent of the world’s student population. Our goal at Quizlet is to help our users practice and master whatever they are learning. Today, that includes being a helpful resource to students, educators and the community-at-large as they navigate a new and changing learning environment.

Over a billion questions are answered on Quizlet each week. With the incredible amount of studying that takes place on the platform, across a wide variety of subjects, we’re able to synthesize the data and identify broad patterns in study activity. We turned to our data to understand how high school and higher education students’ study behaviors were affected amid school closures, and to identify key takeaways that can help close the learning gaps as students head “back to school” this fall, whatever that may look like.

Explore our full "State of Remote Learning Report 2020" or download it here. Check out some of our key findings below too!

COVID-19 impacted independent learning

Research shows that typically, students in higher ed study longer hours than high school students. Prior to COVID-19, high school students were studying about 65 percent as much as higher ed students, on average. But when remote learning hit, high school study duration dropped to 50 percent that of higher ed – which represents a 23 percent disparity in study duration. This data spotlights an increasing gap in independent study. Remote students and incoming college freshmen may face challenges as they adapt to time management, different class formats and new forms of assessment. For today’s incoming college freshmen, proactivity and self-discipline will be an even more important skill to master independently, as many students embark on a fully remote class situation this fall.

Students sought personal interests

In the absence of a structured school week and regularly held classes, and as testing and final grades were no longer required in many areas of the U.S., students shifted their learning priorities. We found that sports were of particular interest to students, coming back at 73 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels in high school and 75 percent in higher education. This includes studying the history and stats around sports and athletes, as well as studying actual strategies and plays. Hobbies also rebounded at 58 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels in high school and 61 percent in higher ed. Popular hobbies studied on Quizlet include creative endeavors like cooking recipes, gardening and plant care, and travel-related topics, as well as life skills such as interview and resume tips. As students head back-to-school, in addition to testing, teachers should consider assigning project-based learning opportunities that allow students to explore their own interests. Encouraging students to apply their real-world hobbies to course content can help them get excited and stay engaged in the material, especially when remote.

Remote learning widened the education gap

By comparing U.S. Census Bureau data on income levels by region, we found that, prior to the crisis, students in both the highest income regions and the lowest income regions studied, on average, an equal amount online. However, after school closures took effect, students’ studying in low income regions fell off the most over time.

In addition, we found that usage of desktops and/or laptops while studying jumped from 67% to 78% for students in higher-income regions ($100k+), while students in lower-income regions ($0-$50k) continuously hovered around the 65% mark with no real increase in desktop usage – and continued to rely on cell phones and tablets for learning. With students in lower-income regions facing a digital divide as they head back-to-school, technology support and resources are needed to narrow the gap. In addition, teachers can consider adding in a review of key concepts from the prior year instead of introducing too much advanced material upfront, and provide activities that don’t require high speed internet to help groups that may have fallen behind.

As we all enter a unique back-to-school landscape this fall – whether remote or not – we hope these findings will provide awareness and guidance for students to feel engaged in their learning and for teachers to help counter potential learning gaps in their classrooms.



This is really interesting, and I can confirm as a high-school kid that it's much easier to slack off when no one is keeping you accountable or blocking games on your computer... but I can't help but wonder if part of the disparity (especially in the US) was the fact that the school year was already ending (does pre-COVID19 mean March-July average or Jan-Mar 2020?) Plus, most of the tests were modified or cancelled so that hard memorization was less important. Perhaps cheating was more viable, as shown by the hilarious search result trends for the 2 hour windows of AP tests (did Quizlet get more views too?)... however, cheating off your friends is harder when teachers assign research and FRQ practice to avoid plagiarism. I'm no data scientist, though! This is cool, and I'm sure COVID-19 still had a huge impact no matter how you adjust the comparisons. Thanks for such a well-written report that helps us think about where to go from here!


Very interesting. Thank you for the information. Our school system and hopefully those across America have worked together along with our communities to put technology in the hands of ALL students. It is a challenge but hopefully one that we can embrace and do what is best for our students. It is my hope that good can come from this. We always take a look at the devastating affects of situations... but as a Business Educator my hope is that students along with their families will see the importance of those soft skills you mention. Many of the lessons I have learned in life I learned by making mistakes. We as teachers need to take this time as an opportunity to show students the importance of "Behavioral Education" as I like to call it. Developing those transferable skills that allow us to be successful in the REAL world and it starts in the home!


Hopefully since the US is lagging behind., somehow we learn from this data and use it to make changes for more effective and efficient learning. This is a wake up call!


I do hope the nation truly recognizes and acknowledges this digital divide and commits to its future leaders, students and educators. I know that the true educational community will continue to remove the barriers faced in achieving this monumental task.


This was very interesting. I teach English to English speaking students in Israel and have found that these findings correlate with the educational reality here as well. I hope the upcoming year ,with it's plethora of new tools and focus , will be more enjoyable and effective pedogogicaly.