Young learners turning from formal education to WhatsApp, YouTube
- People aged 16 to 30 are leaving more traditional learning methods behind as they search for new platforms like games, social media and virtual reality, according to a new study from the Institute for the Future.
- The study is based on interviews of 60 internationally-based "lead learners" — "innovative young people who are forging their own work+learn paths, often using new tools and unexpected affordances of their communities," the report said. Those interviewed use platforms like WhatsApp and YouTube over organizations like Coursera or Udacity to "teach, learn, convene learning communities, and even build income streams as they learn." Innovation in technology, a push for open and free access to content and the need for adaptation are driving this change, the report said.
- Study participants still valued formal education, however. Few of them said they believe a direct path links formal education and secure jobs, but many of them said they see the benefits of such experiences.
As this report indicated, mobile learning has changed the way employees discover learning opportunities; many learners won't wait for their employer to provide the chance to upskill. Employees are increasingly looking online and through their L&D offerings for quick study, on-demand materials that apply directly to the work being performed. As businesses race to provide more mobile-friendly options, the trend will likely grow.
Millennials have lead the pack in wanting and accessing self-directed learning initiatives. It makes sense, then, that those interviewed in the study have adopted that trend in their personal career path. Some research has suggested employers give employees full access to learning; allowing them to take ownership of their growth leads to appreciation of learning and a desire to make it a lifelong endeavor, whether on the job or personally.
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