In 2017, FutureLearn researchers explored learners’ motivations to learn with us. As a result we defined seven learner archetypes, themselves divided into three broad context areas: Work and Study, Personal Life and Leisure.
For each archetype, we:
- defined their characteristic motivations
- summarised example needs and values in relation to FutureLearn and courses
- identified behavioural trends
- recorded key demographic information
Archetypes are designed to help us all to understand our learners and what they need from FutureLearn and your courses.
Archetypes will continue to inform and influence the development of FutureLearn and how we evaluate our performance, and we’ll be conducting further research to explore their needs and related opportunities in more detail. We also intend the archetypes to be useful to our partners when developing courses.
You can find out the breakdown of each archetype on a course run by accessing the Stats Dashboard and downloading the ‘Archetype Survey Responses’ CSV file. Please note you must have the Author or Organisation Admin permission to access this area.
This archetype survey is only presented to learners on listed courses such as courses that aren’t part of a program or a degree or on the sponsored model.
You can view more information on accessing datasets here.
Advancers are on their chosen career path. They’re ambitious and self-motivated to do better, progress and not stagnate. They may self-identify as lifelong learners and love learning generally.
They may want to stay up to date with the latest research and trends, support work projects, improve personal effectiveness, learn from others, share knowledge, improve future career prospects, and develop or refresh professional skills and expertise. Some do formal Continuing Professional Development.
Preparers tend to be starting out in jobs, careers or related study, having chosen what they want to do. They have specific career or study goals and learn to improve their chances of success, improve career prospects, stand out from the crowd and increase their confidence.
Example goals are learning English, succeeding in interviews, preparing for a career or to study, achieving good grades and doing well in assignments.
Explorers are evaluating their options and want to inform their decisions about what to do next. They might be looking to change career, find a better life balance, decide where to start their working lives, or specialise in a particular career area – which could lead to a return to education.
By doing FutureLearn courses they can reassure themselves about their readiness, capability and commitment to a new path, reignite passions and boost confidence.
Flourishers enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives. They may learn to be calm, manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, gain motivation, help others, share what they learn, keep their brain active, improve relationships and improve their mental and physical well-being.
This group overlapped with the Vitalisers, suggesting learning for enjoyment can improve wellbeing generally.
Fixers learn in order to understand or manage current aspects of their personal life. This could include the physical or mental health of themselves or those close to them, political or cultural issues, situations requiring practical life skills, or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy.
Their need to learn could be one-off or ongoing and might be related to a personal, serious or emotive situation.
Hobbyists learn to support their existing personal projects, leisure activities and pastimes. Our courses complement, inform and enable their activities. Their need to learn may be ongoing or relevant at a certain point in time.
Although they’re one of the least likely groups to be motivated by communicating with other learners, their hobbies could be socially orientated. For example, they may want to share what they learn with others, including online and local communities.
Vitalisers learn as a hobby and for the love of learning. They may be proud to call themselves lifelong learners, occupying themselves by learning anything of personal interest. They see learning as a enjoyable and stimulating activity, perhaps even an indulgence.
They also feel it’s a good, constructive use of their time; keeping them mentally active. They were one of the groups least motivated by communicating with other learners.