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The State of Learning: Commercial Education Industry Adapts During National Economic Uncertainty

17th April 23

learndirect’s first annual report provides insight into the current commercial education landscape; how it’s evolving in a digital-first age and adapting during the UK’s cost of living crisis. 

Led by Group Chief Executive Officer Wayne Janse van Rensburg, the UK’s leading online learning provider found that affordable education, flexible learning, and digital solutions are key priorities for the modern learner. 

The business conducted research from a sample of learndirect customers, exploring their motivations for choosing online courses during economic uncertainty, their learning preferences, as well as their opinions of the current education landscape in the UK. 

learndirect's The State of Learning Report front cover

Wayne Janse van Rensburg, Group CEO of learndirect, said: “As the world continues to incorporate digital advancements as well as adapt to the ever-changing political and economic landscape, the commercial education space has had to follow suit. Our annual report delves into the minds of consumers, giving us an overall picture of the online education industry and where it fits in a nation that has been plagued by a global pandemic and economic uncertainty.

“Affordability, convenience, and accessibility are key drivers for consumers, with the commercial education industry shifting focus to ensure that these needs are met. Our research provides insight into the sector and the demands of the modern learner, as well as how this may affect the education landscape in the future.” 

The key findings from the report tell us that: 

  • Affordability and flexibility are key drivers for customers choosing online education 
  • Families are willing to spend on education despite rising living costs  
  • Gen Z are losing faith in the UK education system  
  • Boomers are more digitally savvy than we may think  
  • NHS strikes are not putting off everyone, with adults still keen to study towards a career in nursing 
  • There is a North/South divide, with northern learners valuing affordability and those in the South prioritising convenience 
  • Qualifications are a route to economic recovery as many adults believe education will get us out of the cost-of-living crisis 
  • Traditional learning could be irrelevant in 10 years’ time 
  • Workers are taking control of their own upskill training by learning outside of work 

These findings provide a snapshot of the commercial education sector and the motivations and demands of the modern learner, while the full annual report from learndirect explores the evolution of online learning and its positioning in the future. 

To read The State of Learning report in full, click here to download it

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