Last updated: 18.05.16

Brits ‘increasingly turning to digital learning’

A desire for privacy and flexibility while learning is driving online uptake of training courses with 43 per cent of UK adults turning to digital technology to develop new skills at home, according to Halifax Insurance. 

Research from the fourth annual Digital Home Report found that a number of skills passed down between generations can now be learned either online or through apps.

Some 66 per cent of users have learned or improved cooking skills this way, 61 per cent have developed DIY and home maintenance skills, and a third of learners are heading online for sewing tips.

Activities which have required face-to-face instruction in the past are now also being developed online with exercising, learning a musical instrument and learning a foreign language proving the most popular subjects. 

It is the desire for privacy and flexibility which is believed to be the driving force behind digital learning. 

Data from the study showed that 96 per cent of those who learn online do so in the privacy of their home, and 54 per cent of respondents claimed that having the opportunity to learn on their own is the main reason why they use digital resources rather than traditional methods.

Some 60 per cent of respondents say they prefer learning this way so they can do so at their own pace, and a quarter enjoy being able to track their own progress. 

Dr Kairen Cullen, educational psychologist, commented: "One drawback for this type of learning, rather than more traditional teacher-led classroom settings, is that opportunities for socially interactive learning may be reduced. 

"However, social media and ever-evolving online teaching methods offset this to some degree, as does the fact that people now have access to a huge array of resources that can help expand their knowledge, thinking and practical skills.”

Learners are also able to study at times that suit them, mostly during the evening (59 per cent) and at weekends (37 per cent).

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. From pre-school through to adult learning, Virtual College offers online learning resources and tools that help with training at each level. For more information, please visit: