COVID-19 on learning – FutureLearn report

February 23, 2021

FutureLearn report reveals the impact of COVID-19 on learning

New Study From FutureLearn Reveals the COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Issues Have Fundamentally Changed the Global Learning Landscape – and the American Dream

FutureLearn, a leading global online learning platform, today unveiled its report developed with YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm. Measuring the future of learning worldwide, it features commentary from experts and insights from three global markets – U.S., UK and Australia. The report spotlights America’s changing attitudes towards learning and the educational landscape impacted by COVID-19 and social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement.

The survey reveals:

10 Global Trends Over The Next Decade Including:

  • Women believing that education has the power to make the world a better place
  • Inclusivity and accessibility is being addressed
  • The younger generation is accelerating change with online learning increasing
  • “Jobs for life” are rapidly on the decline


Attribute the pandemic to losing their jobs

Key Takeaways:
  • The pandemic has impacted careers across the globe forcing people out of jobs and re-evaluating careers, increasing online learning
  • 49% of the global population think online learning creates better access for disabled people
  • 38% of women believe education is key to improving human rights
  • Millennials (22%) and Generation Zs (37%) turn to social media to educate on societal and political issues
  • Younger generations are driving online learning; 21% strongly agree it provides similar benefits to traditional education
Of Americans surveyed:
  • 40% attribute the pandemic to losing their jobs, which has increased online learning by 34%
  • 30% believe online learning will help develop their passions and change career paths in the next decade
  • 25% say they’d spend their own money to learn a new skill to start a new job despite record-breaking unemployment numbers in the U.S.

Four Themes Were Explored:

  1. Women and learning
  2. Generational distinctions
  3. Access, inclusion and self-education
  4. Personal and professional development


  • The core benefit to online learning is being able to learn with people who you wouldn’t normally be in a class with and “the ability to share experiences, the ability to connect with others is amazing,” said Patricia Davidson, Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  • In the next five years, 40% of Americans will learn online
  • 20% of Americans would prefer to work in a different industry altogether by 2030

“…Online learning grew in popularity during the pandemic and will continue as technology advances (like virtual reality) and as access becomes universal – especially given world issues that people want to know more about – climate, inclusivity and diversity,” said FutureLearn’s Director of Learning, Matt Jenner