Global Learner Survey 2019

New Pearson report gathers opinions of 11,000 learners in 19 countries.

The first ever Global Learner Survey sought input and opinions on a wide range of education topics including the quality of national education systems; careers; technology and the future of work.

Key trends

A DIY mindset – people are patching together their own education from a range of options and sources, enabled by technology. A DIY approach allows people from all walks of life, ages, jobs and levels of educational attainment to engage in life-long learning. Among those who said they needed to upskill for their jobs in the last two years, globally 43% said they found information online and taught themselves. In many countries, such as China and India, DIY-ing education starts at a young age with a focus on hiring tutors or consultants.  Ready access to online learning, resources, short courses and certifications (contrasted with declining trust in traditional education institutions) mean that many people believe that DIY learning is the future.

Lifelong learning replaces ‘the 40-year career’. Globally, 70% of people agree that the notion of working for one employer for your entire career is out-moded. Personal reinvention and new careers are replacing retirement. Globally 65% think that the notion of traditional retirement is old-fashioned. Many are eschewing free time and hobbies in favour of part-time jobs, starting a business, or starting a second career.

Tech-enabled learning will be the norm. Technology can enhance the learning experience and increase accessibility. People expect digital and virtual learning to be the new normal in the next decade.

Confidence in educational institutions is wavering. Value for money and workplace readiness top the list of perceived issues. Most respondents think traditional educational institutions are failing to reach working adults with the skills they need for the future of their working lives. 74% of respondents felt universities should offer better options for working adults. They also want to see governments doing more to make this kind of learning accessible to all.  High percentages of students in the UK (51%), US (44%), Europe (45%), Australia (42%) and Canada (42%) state that HE is failing to prepare them for their careers.

Upskilling - a global upskilling divide is emerging. Workers in China, India, Brazil and Hispano-America are more likely to retrain or upskill for their jobs than those in the US and in the UK

Soft skills – learners believe soft skills will give them the advantage and they need help in developing them. Workers everywhere want to brush up on the skills that AI can't compete with (e.g. critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity). Educational institutions aren't yet meeting this need.

Online bullying and social media are making school more difficult for today’s students.  School safety, online bullying and social media are real concerns, especially in the US. Bullying and negative online behaviours are making the school environment difficult.  Universities and colleges can — and must — help workers do more to build human skills of the incoming workforce Globally, universities have an opportunity to use their expertise to increase soft skill offerings.

Equitable education

Many respondents say higher education is harder for the average person to access. In the US 67% of people say HE is getting more out of reach for the average person. People look to government to level the playing field when they can’t do it themselves. This holds true both in terms of making education more accessible — but also in terms of helping people upskill and connect to jobs.

The full report can be downloaded here