Scaling digital lifelong learning innovations in the UK - RSA report - RSA

Scaling digital lifelong learning innovations in the UK


  • Education and learning
  • Technology

Lifelong learning opportunities are often inaccessible to those workers impacted the most by the forces of automation and the pandemic.

In a rapid-changing landscape, where an accelerated shift in the pattern of occupations is coupled with a shift in the skill sets required for jobs, this report - Scaling digital lifelong learning innovations in the UK - argues that escalating existing and emerging digital lifelong learning innovations, and enabling an inclusive system, is key to promoting economic security, social equity, and individual wellbeing.

As part of a multi-year partnership between the RSA, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and Bayes Impact – the winners of the Nesta 2021 Tech Challenge Prize – we set out to understand the barriers that are preventing many adults from accessing lifelong learning opportunities in the UK and the potential drivers that could enable digital innovations in this space to have impact at scale.  

We conducted a mapping exercise of the current lifelong learning ecosystem in the UK and identified nine key actors. We interviewed nine stakeholders from across the ecosystem to gather qualitative insights on the systemic lifelong learning challenges. We then brought together 16 stakeholders in a design-led blueprinting workshop to explore these challenges further and discuss ideas that can enable a lifelong learning system that works for all.

We found three systemic challenges to lifelong learning:

  1. High barriers to engagement with lifelong learning for those that would benefit the most from upskilling or reskilling.
  2. Ineffective skills system and lifelong learning infrastructure makes it challenging for people to identify and enrol in upskilling and reskilling pathways.
  3. Barriers to digital innovation and ineffective procurement practices mean public services do not harness digital innovation from outside of government.

To address these challenges, we identify three key policy areas where interventions are required to unleash the power of digital innovations in lifelong learning. These recommendations include those for:

  1. Lifelong learning policy and provision
  2. Digital innovation and delivery support
  3. Ensuring inclusive and accessible learning support

Read more about both these challenges and recommendations by downloading our report below.

Download the Scaling digital lifelong learning innovations in the UK report (PDF, 6.5 MB)

pdf 6.5 MB

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