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50% Of Learners In India Use Internet For Self-studies: Survey

Pearson, the world’s learning company, today released the results of its Global Learner Survey, a new study capturing the voice of learners worldwide.

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Learners around the world are now taking control of their education through a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) mindset, adding to their formal education with a mix of self-teaching, short courses and online learning to keep pace with the talent economy, revealed a survey by Pearson, a learning company.

According to the survey, the learners are thinking beyond the traditional notions of learning, signalling a massive opportunity for education providers to reinvent learning to meet the needs of a new economy.  

Pearson, the world’s learning company, today released the results of its Global Learner Survey, a new study capturing the voice of learners worldwide. The findings point to massive global transformation in education driven by the shifting economic landscape of the new talent economy, the vast influence of technology and perceptions that education systems are out of step with learners. Pearson conducted the study with Harris Insights & Analytics to give learners in 19 countries including India, the opportunity to voice their opinions on primary, secondary and higher education; careers and the future of work; and technology. More than 11,000 people, ranging in age from 16 to 70, participated in the poll. In addition, Pearson released today Opportunity for Higher Education in the Era of the Talent Economy, a guide to the survey’s implications and opportunities for higher education.   

“Gig jobs, unconventional careers, tech disruption and lifelong learning have ushered in the talent economy. Now more than ever, learners understand the need for lifelong education,” said John Fallon, Chief Executive, Pearson. “People are meeting the demands of this new world of work by taking control of their own learning. Now, technology and innovation are giving educators, governments and companies the greatest opportunity in human history to rise to the occasion and improve lives through education.” 

The Global Learner Survey’s Top Findings

A DIY mindset is reshaping education: In India, 79 per cent believe that learning will be more self-service the older you get. India, along with China is the market where parents do not expect the educational systems to do everything for them, but actually play a large role in supplementing their children's education, whether it comes to hiring tutors, consultants or English classes to help their kids succeed or get admitted to college. People are layering on to their traditional education by mixing and matching what works and what they can afford to get trained up for the new economy. Globally, 81 per cent of people say that learning will become more self-service as people get older. Americans, Australians and South Africans agree most strongly. When they have to retrain for work, 50 per cent of learners in China and India and 42 per cent of learners in the US self-taught using internet resources. When asked what learning methods they prefer when upskilling, about 80 per cent of learners in China, the US, Australia and Europe cited professional short courses or online tools. 

In the next decade, digital and virtual learning will be the new normal. 78 per cent of Indians believes that students today have the benefit of using technology to support their learning, which makes it easier and more fun. There is a strong belief (74-79 per cent) that smart devices will play a greater role in learning, virtual learning will become more common, print textbooks will become obsolete, and YouTube will become a primary learning tool. 80 per cent of Americans believes that smart devices and apps will be used to help learners, with people in countries like China and Brazil are even more enthusiastic about its use. Globally, 76 per cent of people believes that college students will be taking online courses within 10 years and 67 per cent believe more primary and secondary students will too. 70 per cent of Americans believes that print textbooks will be obsolete in five years. Nearly 70 per cent of people in the US, UK and Europe and 90 per cent of people in China believe that AI will have a positive impact on education. 

Lifelong learning is not just a philosophy, it’s a new reality: 84 per cent of Indians end up choosing a career based on what they majored in out of which 31 per cent ended up switching careers eventually. 76 per cent believe that the notion of working for one employer your entire career and the idea of traditional retirement is old-fashioned 25 per cent of Indians aspire to start their own business post-retirement; followed by a second career doing something they love (20 per cent) or a part-time job to get some sort of income (15 per cent). 60 per cent of Indians believes that the world is shifting to a model where people participate in education over a lifetime. Globally, there is wide agreement that people need to keep learning throughout their career to stay up-to-date in their careers. 87 per cent of Americans embraces lifelong learning, believing that learning doesn’t stop at school. That belief rises to 96 per cent of people in China and 94 per cent of people in South Africa. 73 per cent of Americans like to reinvent themselves by learning new skills, and 52 per cent intend to “retire” the traditional concept of retirement by pursuing a second career or part-time job, starting a business or taking classes. 

Confidence in education systems is wavering, especially in the US. 59 per cent of Indians believes that the education system in the country works well for the current generation and helps them keep up with the latest trends in technology and changing workforce. 60 per cent of Americans says education systems are failing the current generation. That perception is just as strong in Europe and even stronger in South Africa, Brazil and Hispano America. 67 per cent of Americans believes college is getting more out of reach for the average student. Almost as many in the US don’t believe colleges and universities are teaching the right skills for today’s jobs

Gen Z thinks you can be successful without a traditional college education. In India, 22 per cent learners indicated that formal education is nice, but not necessary or relevant today as one can create their own success and prosperity without it. 39 per cent of college-goers says that given a choice, they would get a trade or vocational training instead of college while 15 per cent say they would go straight to work after leaving high school. Despite statistics showing higher lifetime earnings with a college degree, half of Gen Z learners in the US, UK and Australia think you can do “ok” in life without it. Globally, 68 per cent of learners think you can do just as well with an education from a vocational or trade school. 

India, China, Brazil and Hispano America is outpacing the US and UK in the upskilling race and defining a new global economy.  More than anywhere else in the world, people in India, China, Brazil, and Hispano American believe education is driving the global economy. More than two-thirds of learners in these countries have been looking to re-skill in the past two years, compared to only 31 per cent of Americans and 24 per cent of British learners. Workers who do upskill are enrolling in short courses, taking courses offered by their employers or professional associations, degree programs or are self-teaching.  

Soft skills have an advantage over automation: In India, most agree that they need to do more to develop their STEM/tech skills (76 per cent) there is also a high percentage that says they need to do more to develop their soft skills (78 per cent). While STEM skills aren’t forgotten, many also realize that uniquely human skills will give them the edge over machines and that they are very hard to learn. Globally, 78 per cent of people say they need to do more to develop soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity, while 85 per cent of Americans and 91 per cent of Chinese believe universities need to increase their focus on teaching these skills in preparation for the job market. 

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