Methods of learning

These charts show the methods of learning used by adults. Most surveys from 2009 onwards included a question asking current and recent learners, how they did their learning.

Respondents were asked to pick from a list of options. These have been grouped into:

  • Work based training e.g. ‘on the job’, ‘on a training course at work’;
  • School, further education and higher education e.g. ‘through a university’, ‘through a further education college’;
  • Other locally based training e.g. ‘through a local adult education centre’, ‘through a leisure or health club’;
  • Online e.g. ‘through an app’, ‘through YouTube’;
  • Independently e.g. ‘independently on my own’, ‘independently with others’.

Year-on-year, around two-fifths of adults say that they learnt through school, further education or higher education; the exceptions are the 2017 and 2018 surveys, where roughly a third of adults did so. A further 26 to 36 per cent each year say that they learnt through work. Between 14 and 21 per cent of adults say that they learnt independently, with fewer than one in 10 learning online or through other locally based training.

Use the boxes at the side of the chart to explore breakdowns of the overall trends by demographic characteristics. The buttons at the top show a separate chart for each demographic; the additional buttons on each chart can be used to show breakdowns by how learning was completed.