Research suggests that virtual learning is the most popular method for adults

The study suggests that British adults prefer learning new skills online, opposed to in person alongside other people

New unweighted research into virtual learning, commissioned by learning management system provider Digits, has shown that watching online videos and taking part in online courses are now the most popular learning methods in the UK.

On average, over one in four of the 2,000 people polled say they most enjoy learning via videos and courses on the internet (29% and 28% respectively), while face-to-face options, such as in-person classes with others present and one-to-one tutoring, were favoured by less than one in four people (23% and 19% respectively).

“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” — Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits

There are also distinct generational divides between how different age groups enjoy learning new things. The research suggests that baby boomers are three times less likely than Gen Z and millennials to have specific requirements around how and where they like to learn.

Over two-fifths (43%) of survey respondents over 55, compared to just one in seven (14%) of those aged 16 – 34-years-old, report having ‘no method of learning in particular that they most enjoy’. Over a quarter (29%) of generation X-ers, aged between 45 – 54-years-old, say the same.

Commenting on the results, Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits, said: “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.”

What are people choosing to learn?

Based on Digits’ findings, the top five most sought-after online courses, by average monthly search volumes in the UK, are Microsoft, Angular (for building mobile and desktop web applications), Microsoft Excel, data analytics and JavaScript.

Digits’ virtual learning report is available to view at The results are based on an unweighted survey of 2,000 people in the UK aged over 16, conducted by Censuswide for Digits, in January 2022.

Read more: ‘Future of education must incorporate online, collaborative learning’

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