21 Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities: Research and Findings

Education and training initiatives differ from one organization to the next; we created categories of learning based on what we observed in the data. There were five elements common to the experiences of working learners successfully participating in education and training initiatives across the different categories: goals, encouragement, flexibility, choice, and relevance.

Learning opportunities are not necessarily “opportunities” for all learners if the characteristics and aims of the education and training initiatives do not match the goals of the working learners, are not relevant to the working learners, do not fit into the life of the working learner, or do not offer the working learners choices. Working learners need encouragement and material support, not only from family and friends but also from employers. When one or more of these elements are missing, successful completion of the learning experience or advancement is less likely.