Many e-learning websites, even free-of-charge platforms, have told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the number of Vietnamese people using their services for studying is small and unstable.
Zuni.vn, one such site, has seen a strong decrease in its number of users over the last few months.
The Vietnamese site said it had over one million visitors in April, May and June, but this figure decreased to around 700,000 per month for July and August.
In the meantime, the number of people registering to learn at the site in May and June was 20,957 and 40,278, respectively, and then fell sharply to 9,624 and 5,399 in July and August.
“This may be because the period from April to June was when students studied for the high school graduation and university entrance exams, so the number of learners sharply increased,” a Zuni.vn representative shared. “Then it decreased after the exams.”
According to several other online educational websites, Vietnamese users currently access their services only when they need to search for information, and have no long-term study plan.
Only Khan Academy, a world famous online educational website which introduces lessons in the form of videos and does not require fixed learning schedules, expressed optimism over the situation.
“During the last 12 months, we have received more than 150,000 learners from Vietnam,” a representative of Khan Academy told Tuoi Tre. “The number was 20,000 in August alone. Most of them are hard-working.”
Phan Le Vu Loc, a student at the Ho Chi Minh City International University, shared his reason for not favoring online learning.
“I have heard about online studying websites but thought they would cost too much so I was hesitant to register,” he said. “Besides, I prefer the traditional way of studying because of its interactivity. It would be boring and hard to concentrate if I study alone with the computer.”
Minh Trang, from the Ho Chi Minh University of Industry, said the material she is given at school is enough for her.
“There are numerous interesting free online learning courses, but I am too tired of them when I get home, so I just want to relax while surfing the Internet,” she said.
“Not to mention the language barrier, because most well-known sites are in English,” she added.
However, Trang admitted that she only likes watching music videos and is too lazy to access English learning sites, even though she really wants to improve her language skills.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Lan, from the University of Economics-Ho Chi Minh City, said that young people are not interested in studying online because “students do not need to know much, they just need to know what they need to know.”
“So we prefer playing games and doing part-time jobs in our free time,” he shared.
According to Tran Minh Cong, of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, who has improved his foreign language knowledge via e-learning, besides the above reasons, e-learning has not been promoted well.
“If we spend time searching online, we can find numerous material sources for many aspects of our life,” he added.
Nguyen Diep Quy Vy, a lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, also shared her perspective.
“The factor which has the strongest influence on the situation, for me, is that young people’s awareness of self-study and progress is not high,” she said.
She also suggested that schools and instructors encourage and guide students to take advantage of e-learning resources – which help learners save money and proactively manage their time – instead of using the Internet for entertainment.
“We can flexibly integrate content provided by online learning websites to make lessons at schools more vivid,” Vy said, adding that e-learning is an effective way for people who need to improve their foreign language skills, as well as those who want to find knowledge from other countries’ curriculums.
“We can join classes with professors from top universities and colleges around the world. E-learning also helps us balance to avoid pointless activities on the Internet,” she said.