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What Kind Of Online Learner Are You?

In 2018, the MOOC platform FutureLearn published a series of articles exploring who its learners are. Based on a survey of 7,000 learners, FutureLearn’s User Experience Research Team identified seven archetypes, corresponding to seven patterns of behavior among users of FutureLearn.

The FutureLearn UX Research Team grouped these archetypes into three types: Work and Study, Personal Life, and Leisure. Work and Study describes people who are primarily on the site to improve their career prospects. Personal Life archetypes are using FutureLearn to address aspects of their personal lives. Leisure archetypes are pursuing hobbies or a love of learning.

The seven archetypes are summarized below. Do you see yourself in any of them?

Work and Study Archetypes: Advancers, Explorers, and Preparers

Advancers: Advancers are working in their field of choice and are seeking to pick up additional work-related skills. They are primarily in the age range of 26-35 and are likely to purchase upgraded course certificates.

Explorers: These learners are considering a career change and are using online courses to evaluate the options. They are also mainly in the age range of 26-35 and are slightly less likely than Advancers to purchase course certificates.

Preparers: Preparers are younger (19-35) and, as the name suggests, are either preparing for a chosen career field or have recently started working in that field. These learners are using online courses to pick up skills that will help them stand out. Like Advancers, they are likely to purchase course certificates.

Personal Life Archetypes: Fixers and Flourishers

Fixers: These learners are evenly distributed across a wide range of ages (19-75). They are using online courses to manage a personal life situation, such as their health or the health of a loved one, a political situation, or a social issue. They are generally uninterested in certification.

Flourishers: These learners are using online courses for personal development. They are the group most likely to take multiple courses.

Leisure Archetypes: Hobbyists and Vitalizers

Hobbyists: Among Hobbyists, a large portion are retired and fall between the ages of 56-75. These learners take courses to support their personal interests and projects.

Vitalizers: For this group, learning itself is their hobby. Like Hobbyists, many are retired. Vitalizers have wide ranging interests and may take courses on a diversity of topics.

The researchers emphasized that it common for there to be overlap among these types and that few people identified with only one archetype.

What about you? What kind of learner are you? Let us know in the comments.