2018 Learning Preference Survey Results

Posted by on Sep 17 2018

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts in my 2018 Learning Survey! If you haven’t take the survey yet, you can take it here. (Don’t peek at the results below until you take the survey, so you’re not influenced by what others said.)

This year, I asked three questions of small business owners, asking how they preferred to learn new business/professional information.

Here are the results.

First question: I’m creating a new virtual class (delivered through video conferencing), and would love your opinion.  The class has six hours of educational content in it. Which would you MOST prefer? 44% said they preferred 60 minute classes, with 23% choosing 90 minute classes.

Second questions: When studying a new business or professional topic, which learning methods do you MOST OFTEN choose? Most people (56%) learned through hands-on practice. People preferred video (54%) to audio (33%), and virtual classes (53%) to live in-person classes (34%).

What does this mean to you as a teacher or trainer? First, remember that the audience for this survey was small business owners. If that is not your target audience, you will need to ask these questions of your own customers to see if it mirrors what you’re seeing here.

It’s not surprising that people learn best by practicing what they’re learning. Are you giving them space in class to do homework or discuss how they will apply what you’re teaching to their real lives?

When I conducted the Learning Survey in 2015, some of the results were similar (video vs audio, for example). But the number of people who prefer live, in-person classes has dropped significantly, from 57% in 2015 to 34% in 2018, probably because people are more comfortable now with webinars and video conference based classes. (Click on image to see it larger.)



The third question: When learning a new topic or skill, how long do you prefer to focus on it?

This surprised me! Everyone says we have short attention spans and videos can’t be more than 5 minutes or people will stop watching. But clearly, when people want to learn a topic, they want to focus for longer: 30 or 60 minutes at a time. (Click on image to see it larger.)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey, and if you haven’t take the survey yet, you can take it here. I hope you find this information helpful when designing educational content for your audience!


13 comments for now

13 Responses to “2018 Learning Preference Survey Results”

  1. Always excellent information, Karyn. The focus time is enlightening. My take away is that one can offer a multi-week program with smaller teaching segments and time for taking action. 🙂

    Thanks as always for sharing your Learning Survey and results.

    17 May 2018 at 10:49 am

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    I couldn’t believe the focus time after everything we hear about “short attention span,” Denise. When you REALLY want to learn something, you want to DIG IN! 🙂

    17 May 2018 at 11:04 am

  3. Thank you SO much for publishing these very useful and interesting results. You do this So well, and I appreciate the results and YOU!

    17 May 2018 at 3:15 pm

  4. Karyn Greenstreet

    Thanks, Jeanne!

    17 May 2018 at 4:37 pm

  5. I’m not surprised at how long they wanted classes to be.

    I taught elementary school from 1972 to 1980. In 1978 I was teaching special education and for my masters in education thesis, I wanted to prove my theory that these kids (non – readers and disruptive) would focus on something longer than people thought. I took my own 8k Commodore PET computer into my classroom and had them do simple adding and subtracting questions on it. I allowed them 10 minutes on the computer but when their time was up they didn’t want to stop. They often spent at least 30 minutes on it.

    The computer was new to them and they were the only ones in the school with access to one. The fact that they spent more time than expected proved my theory that time spent is about motivation.

    Some things never change, do they Karyn!

    18 May 2018 at 12:53 pm

  6. Karyn Greenstreet

    I had thought MY attention span was getting shorter, Trudy. But I’ve just come back from a one-day workshop, eight hours of sitting in my chair, and I was TOTALLY ABSORBED in the material the teacher was presenting. Not once did I think about checking email or doodling around on my notepad. When the information is interesting (and important to your goals), and when the teacher is engaging, I can sit for DAYS!

    22 May 2018 at 12:14 pm

  7. Such a coincidence as I am thinking of how I’m going to set up a six week mastermind coaching series. I was thinking about definitely having it in person and an hour and a half, but maybe I should rethink. Thanks for sharing you research. 🙂

    22 May 2018 at 4:19 pm

  8. Karyn Greenstreet

    Carrie, when we run our mastermind groups, they’re 2 hours long, but that’s so we can get through all the agenda items in each meeting.

    22 May 2018 at 4:28 pm

  9. Thanks for sharing this information, Karyn. I think time spans come down to how interested someone is in the topic. That, and how quickly participants feel they can take action once they have the information. Read: I need this and should get started ASAP after I learn how. Or, from another perspective: “I’m already doing this and want confirmation that I’m doing it the best or right way.”

    22 May 2018 at 6:00 pm

  10. Sandi

    Thanks for publishing the results, Karen. I too was curious to see what had changed in the past few years! As always, I appreciate your insight and guidance! 🙂

    23 May 2018 at 8:04 am

  11. Very interesting findings. Thanks for sharing.

    24 May 2018 at 12:12 pm

  12. Sean

    Hi Karen,

    Could you share with us the sample size of the survey? Or if you have it, the confidence interval.

    I think it’s wonderful you are sharing the results of your poll with your users. Thank you! When I do surveys like these I do try to stick to tried and true survey analysis techniques to make sure my results are valid.


    25 May 2018 at 9:21 pm

  13. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hi, Sean, sample size at the time of the blog post was about 1,500. However, more people have taken the survey since, but the results appear to be holding the same pattern.

    26 May 2018 at 12:39 pm

Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes