Do-It-Yourself Learning Gaining Stream

Tamara E. Holmes
Do-It-Yourself Learning Gaining Stream

If you’re thinking about getting some extra training, perhaps to help you score a promotion at work, formal education isn’t your only option. In fact, a new study suggests many people across the world are instead embracing a hodgepodge of do-it-yourself learning options.

Education solutions provider Pearson conducted its Global Learner Survey, which looked at how people in the U.S. and 18 other countries view primary, secondary and higher education, and how education applies to the future of work. To collect the data, Pearson conducted an online survey of 11,083 people between the ages of 16 to 70.

The findings suggested that is there’s no one-size-fits-all educational solution. In fact, according to the survey, respondents, including some whom have already been formally educated, are embracing education via other means, such as online classes and workshops, short courses and even self-teaching.

An overwhelming 81% of respondents said they believe learning will become more of a self-service affair as people get older. Many are already doing their own thing, as 42% of U.S. respondents have used Internet resources to teach themselves something when they’ve needed additional training for work.

In terms of how they studied, a large majority of learners (about 80%) in the U.S., China, Europe and Australia said professional short courses and online tools were their favorite learning methods for enhancing their work skills.

And looking toward the future, 80% of Americans said smart devices and apps will play a role in helping people to learn in the future.

One reason people may be searching for fresh educational options is because they see learning as a lifelong process. Among U.S. respondents, 87% said learning does not end after graduation. Education is also viewed as a way to pivot in one’s life, as 73% of U.S. respondents said they like to reinvent themselves by learning new skills, and 52% said they planned to pursue a second career, start a business or take classes after retirement.

Americans also appear to be somewhat disillusioned with the formal education system. In fact, 60% said education systems are failing the current generation of students, and 67% said college is becoming out of reach for the average person.

Nearly half — 44% — of U.S. workers said they didn’t think higher education prepared them for their current careers. The nation’s youngest workers were even less impressed with the importance of a degree, as half of Gen Z respondents in the U.S. said they think you can do “OK” in life without one.

In order to stay competitive in the workplace, it’s a good idea to keep on top of current trends and continue to improve your skills. In fact, some companies point to a growing “skills gap” between the capabilities they are looking for and the competencies that job applicants actually have. And similarly, there’s a big difference among college degrees when it comes to the opportunities and salaries they often lead to.