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The digital divide in online learning in China during the COVID-19 pandemic

Congbin Guo and Boshen Wan

Technology in Society, 2022, vol. 71, issue C

Abstract: In recent years, online learning in the education sector has increasingly become prominent. While many believe that online learning has the potential to reduce inequity, the debate on whether it bridges the gap or widens it continues to persist. This study examined equity issues in online learning in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used data from the Online Learning Survey of High School Students in China to analyze the influencing factors of the first, second, and third-level digital divide. The study found that the digital divide existed in online learning during the pandemic. It was primarily presented as differences in equipment quantity and network quality, students’ adaptability to online teaching, and their offline learning outcomes. These findings suggest that the development of online learning alone cannot eliminate achievement gaps. The promotion of education equity requires efforts from various stakeholders and interventions specifically targeting disadvantaged students.

Keywords: Online learning; Covid-19; China; Digital divide (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102122

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