The huge increase in demand and supply of learning in the last three years calls for the data for development community to reflect on the preferences of its audience.

This study aims to explore how learners engage with learning activities, and what key challenges and barriers they face. 

We hope the insights support those designing learning activities or platforms for data for development learning audiences to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Digital learning and education expanded during and after the pandemic; this study pays special attention to it.

This report is based on evidence from two main sources: a desk review and qualitative primary research to gather first-hand insights from over 50 individuals in our network, across different countries, continents and sectors.

What we discovered

  • Learning is in the DNA of the data for development community and is highly valued.
  • Our audience is composed of adults, and we identified three main types of motivations for them to engage in learning: work-related reasons; personal drivers; and social motivations.
  • The key purpose to engage in learning is to find solutions to the audience's needs (especially work-related).
  • Learners' preferences are not fixed, but rather they opt for different and complementary formats, types, and styles of learning to better understand a topic.
  • Together with gaining practical knowledge, interaction is the most valuable characteristic of any learning activity, whether in-person or online.
  • Increased interaction, engagement, and focus are the main advantages of in-person learning over digital.
  • Naturally, the perks of learning come with some challenges and trade-offs.
  • Although these challenges affect both in-person and digital learning, there are barriers that are specific to digital activities.
  • When designing platforms/websites for learning purposes, network partners should consider "three must-haves" to be relevant to their audience: being easily accessible and user-friendly to navigate; being participatory; and being interactive and allowing for peer engagement, so that learning can expand their networks within and beyond their organizations.   

Download the report or read the blog about the research.

This report was produced by consultants Alicia Torné Palacio and Martiño Rubal Maseda, on behalf of the Global Partnership.