Back to top

Int’l students seek “hybrid model” of learning – report

International students paint an "optimistic picture" of global student satisfaction in a recent survey, as they rally behind the post-pandemic hybrid model of study.
July 14 2023
3 Min Read

International students paint an “optimistic picture” of global student satisfaction, as they rally behind the post-pandemic hybrid model of study in a recent survey.

The results of the Tribal i-graduate‘s annual International Student Barometer have been published, detailing student satisfaction and how international students want their studies to look, with a minority of internationally mobile students preferring a purely-in person learning experience.

“I’m pleased to report that the data points towards some positive trajectories for our participating institutions, as well as a more optimistic picture regionally and globally,” said Nick Pidgeon, business unit director, surveys and benchmarking at Tribal i-graduate.

Satisfaction among international students across all elements of online learning have increased since 2021, with the exception of satisfaction with online lectures – which remained at the same level.

Source: Tribal i-graduate


“While results obviously vary from institution to institution, the progress made in the quality of online learning at an overall level is clear in results from the last three waves of the International Student Barometer,” said Kyla Steenhart, director, Tribal i-graduate New Zealand.

“Institutional improvements to pedagogy and systems have paid dividends in student satisfaction with online learning, with a large increase in satisfaction in the year following the initial response, and a gradual year-on-year increase in satisfaction since.”

Just 8% of international students globally said they would like all of their held lectures online. Meanwhile, 10% said they would like the entirety of their tutorials to be virtual.

Only 24% of students surveyed said they would like more than 50% of lectures to be online.

It seems that the continuation of a hybrid solution is what students are seeking, one which gives them the flexibility to balance their studies with work and personal life as they see fit.

The findings show that, at a global level, international students would like approximately a third of lectures and tutorials to be delivered online, with the remainder taught in person – although preferences vary across origin country and subject of study.

Chinese and Nigerian students have the highest average preferred proportion of online lectures, at 40%, closely followed by Indian students at 39%.

Meanwhile, German and American students preferred a lower proportion online learning, at 30% and 31% respectively.

Source: Tribal i-graduate

“One of the main factors that has been so helpful for me personally is the multimodal learning options and the ability to learn online without any detriment,” said one student respondent.

“It provides so much flexibility and allows me to work without trading off university work, which is important to me as it is currently difficult to get by with the cost of living crisis and wanting to minimise my potential exposure to Covid-19.”

The report suggests that international students particularly value having access to online recordings – especially those who are being taught in a language not native to them, giving them the flexibility to rewatch lessons to gain a better understanding.

“Institutions need to consider what delivery modes they will offer going forward”

“While it is now possible, in most cases, for institutions to return to full in-person delivery, in light of the clear preference amongst international students for some form of hybrid learning, institutions need to consider what delivery modes they will offer going forward and how these can be optimised for both academic quality and student satisfaction,” said Steenhart.

“An in-depth understanding of student expectations and preferences and to what extent these are being met – not just by an institution but also by those in its peer group – is crucial for institutions in ensuring that they remain relevant and attractive in a landscape that is continuing to evolve.”

Add Your Opinion
Show Response
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *