In an era marked by rapid technological advancement, a pandemic and other unprecedented global challenges, ongoing learning is essential for personal and professional growth. This holds especially true for the data for development community, where the thirst for knowledge has seen an extraordinary surge over the past few years. As this demand for learning increases, the need to tailor these opportunities to the preferences and challenges of learners is paramount. 

A report about how we learn

Enter Data for Development Learning Audience – Understanding Preferences to Improve Learning Offers: a research product featuring the collective insights of our Global Partnership network to explore how learners engage with learning experiences and the challenges they encounter.

This research draws on an extensive desk review and qualitative primary research involving 50+ network partners, including individuals and organizations from different countries, sectors, and continents. Our diverse range of participants includes representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations, governments, academia, and multilateral organizations.

What we discovered 

  • The value of learning within the data for development community is indisputable. Learning experiences span a wide spectrum, encompassing not just traditional education but also activities such as advocacy meetings that contribute to skill enhancement, knowledge growth, and network expansion.

  • The motivations behind engaging in learning activities are equally diverse, and are influenced by a learner’s career stage, the maturity of their data ecosystem, and even geographic location. 

  • The pursuit of solutions to professional needs remains a central driving force, with learners seeking new perspectives, practical knowledge, hands-on experience, and tangible outcomes from their learning activities.

Opportunities to innovate

While the benefits of learning are abundant, challenges and trade-offs inevitably emerge. Time constraints, language barriers, relevance and quality of learning resources, as well as costs are common hurdles faced by learners. However, amid these challenges lies a world of opportunity. The study uncovers the potential for innovative approaches that enhance interaction, engagement, and focus on both in-person and digital learning settings.

At the end of the report, you’ll find a comprehensive roadmap for designing learning platforms that truly resonate with the data for development audience. The recommendations emphasize accessibility, user-friendliness, participatory engagement, and peer interaction as cornerstones for effective learning experiences. These insights pave the way for the creation of platforms that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of learners, while also addressing the challenges that might hinder their journey.

Join us as we seek to convene and create inclusive and accessible learning experiences for learners in the data for development field.

Download a copy of the research here.

If you'd like to learn more or collaborate with us to shape the future of learning, email Charu Vijayakumar, Director of Impact and Learning and Lesley-Ann Blackburn, Learning Manager