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TikTok Generation Accuses the UK Education System of Exclusion in learndirect Report

Group of young people posing in a photoshoot

Gen Z students are calling the education system into question by claiming that it doesn’t cater to everyone, according to new research. 

Surveyed students aged between 18-25 believe that the UK education system is failing to meet the needs of people from all walks of life, according to research published by learndirect

Findings from the UK’s leading online learning provider’s report, The State of Learning, shows that 61% of Gen Z learndirect students believe that the current education system in the UK fails to cater to everyone. 

But why? With younger audiences growing up in the digital age and using TikTok as their primary search engine, the way people process and consume content is changing rapidly, so are traditional institutions keeping up with digital demand? 

Kyle Fedyszyn, Group Chief Digital Officer at learndirect, said:

“Inclusivity is key when it comes to learning – everyone should have an opportunity to access education that will better their lives and careers. Younger generations are much more involved in conversations of equality and diversity, and we’ve found that many don’t believe that the current education system in the UK caters to everyone. 
“We also can’t ignore that Gen Z are digital-first, and many would have had to adapt their learning style when schools were closed during the pandemic. We have to wonder why some younger generations are losing faith in the current system. 
“Is this a case of simple misunderstandings? Are colleges and universities struggling to keep up with the way in which younger generations consume their content? We know that Gen Z are using TikTok as a search engine more frequently, and this level of convenience and accessibility is yet to be translated into standard education.” 

Faith in the education system has waned since May 2020, according to YouGov, going from 52% of adults feeling good about the UK’s education to just 37% feeling confident in November 2022. 

Between April 2022 and April 2023, the nation started questioning the government’s treatment of the education sector, with 60% believing that Westminster is handling the issue of education badly, up from 52% the previous year.  

Meanwhile, criticism of the government’s approach to education increased by 13% from September 2022 to April 2023 by those aged between 50 and 64, suggesting that it isn’t only younger generations that are feeling disillusioned. 

While traditional institutions may be behind the curve, private businesses like learndirect are providing a solution through digital means, creating a platform-based product that enables learning through adaptable online features. 

In fact, 41% of surveyed students of all ages claimed that their preferred way to digest learning is via an interactive online platform, while 16% cited videos and just 7% claimed they like to learn using academic papers. 

Dr Kate Strohm, Head of Learning Content at learndirect, said:

“As a leader in the commercial education space, we endeavour to provide accessible online learning courses that come in various types of content, including videos, infographics, and interactive features. We aim to cater to all needs and motivations, from academic development to skills-based qualifications.  

“With adults being able to learn skills and gain knowledge from the comfort of their own home, perhaps the conversation needs to be around whether traditional education is offering a curriculum that ticks every box.” 

learndirect’s report explores the state of the commercial education sector, delving into the mindset of the modern learner via their customer database.  

As well as gaining insight into learners’ thoughts about the current education system, the report also considers how motivations for learning have been affected by the cost-of-living crisis. To read The State of Learning report in full, download it here

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