Wednesday, 16 April 2008

How online are lower skilled learners (pre level 2 learners) and harder to reach learners? (plus the marathon!)

I ran the London Marathon on Sunday so had plenty of time to think about my blog!! The marathon was great fun (!!!). The crowd was fantastic, particularly for the first 10 miles where I ran near a naked man (with "free tibet" on his backside!). He got the crowd going in Mexican wave style the whole time!! The highlight was running past Gordon Ramsay at mile 9 (I didn't swear at him!). Anyway, back to learning and technology............

There is often the unchallenged assumption that lower skilled individuals do not really use the web much and they are therefore not as appropriate for online learning (in Britain by lower skilled learners we mean learners that do not have the equivalent qualifications we would expect of a 16 year old). What do the facts say?

At Ufi learndirect, we use an approach that breaks the market into 10 segments. These segments range from “enthusiastic and enlightened” (very positive to learning) to “disaffected and discouraged” (most negative to learning, many barriers to learning, over half are out of work). There are 7.6 million pre level 2 learners in England (TGI 2006).

Interestingly (well to me in any case!!!), there are 2.7 million lower skilled learners (ie. pre level 2 learners) from the 3 segments most positive to learning. Over 80% of these 2.7 million pre level 2 learners have internet at home (compared to 64% in the general population). This is a big number!

In segments 4 to 6, there are a further 1.6 million pre level 2 learners who have above the population average internet access at home.

This shows that contrary to popular assumption there are millions of pre-level 2 learners that are web savvy and are actually more online than the population in general (ie. a large target market for online learning).
Well that’s the good news (I say good news because I work for a online learning company focused on pre level 2 learners!). The downside is that there are still roughly 2 million pre level 2 learners that are a combination of some or all of the following: negative to learning, have no or low qualifications, have multiple barriers and are also offline. It is these very hard to reach learners that Government would ideally like to focus on.

From Ufi learndirect’s view we have helped all market segments via online learning (we have helped between 11% to 19% of all segments). Our model is a mix of e-learning and e-support. The challenge we face in the future is to continue to introduce more web 2.0 stuff and multi media (eg. gaming, video assets) that help pre level 2 learners learn. The only way you do this is understanding your market segments inside out!!

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