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British adults prefer online learning

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Watching videos is most popular learning method

According to new research commissioned by Digits, a learning management systems provider, more than one in four people say that they prefer learning through videos and internet-based courses. However, less than one in four of the 2,000 people polled favour face to face options. Only one in six people prefer listening to online or in-app content.

When given the option between in-person one-to-one tutoring and online tutoring, the latter was the least popular, with only one in eight respondents preferring this method.

The results also showed differences between male and female learning preferences.

  • 31% of men prefer watching online videos compared to 27% of women
  • 31% of women would opt for online courses compared to 26% of men.

Further distinctions were found between the various generations:

  • 43% of respondents over the age of 55 have no particular preference for learning methods compared to only 14% of respondents aged 16-to-34-years-old.
  • 29% of generation X-ers, aged 45 to 54, say they have no particular preference for learning methods.
  • 24% of people over 55 who did show a particular preference are more likely to try online courses than online videos (21%).
  • Video content was preferable to everyone under 55.
  • 25% of the 16-24-year-old age group prefer in-person learning to online courses – this could be attributed to pandemic-related disruption, where many learners missed in-person learning.

The study also researched the courses and topics that people have been searching for in recent years. The five most sought-after online courses, based on monthly search volumes, were:

  • Microsoft
  • Angular
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data analytics
  • JavaScript

Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits, says: “I don’t think you can underestimate the effects of the pandemic and the seismic shift that it’s had on society as a whole. We’ve proven that we can do so much more virtually and remotely than we could ever have thought possible just a few years ago. It has changed how we interact with each other on many levels, and, as a knock-on effect, how we want to interact and experience learning and development – both professionally and personally.

“I think people really enjoy the flexibility that online learning brings – being able to learn at a time of their choosing, when they are ready to learn, for the length of time that they want to devote to it. As these survey results clearly show, people prefer learning methods that are less prescriptive and give them more personal choice in when and how they learn. I think it’d be really difficult for some people to imagine going back to how certain things were pre-2020. And why would they? Face-to-face learning, taking place at a set location and point in time, isn’t always as easy to fit in around the rest of people’s busy lives as online learning is.

“Of course, there is and will always be a demand for face-to-face learning. And that’s the challenge for HR and L&D teams – and anyone that offers training – as we move forward. When we’re designing a piece of learning or a development activity, it has to work on many levels: it has to be able to cater for different audiences, with different learning needs and preferences, who will all want to interact with it in a slightly different way.”

After more than two years of being forced to stay home, it is clear that eLearning has never been more popular, and most people enjoy the choice and control over how and when they learn.

 

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