What I learned about learning from 250 people in two weeks


Two weeks ago, I sent a short survey called Gut Check. Over 250 of you replied.

That’s awesome.

Why? Because this summer, we’ve been taking time to make sure we’re building things that are truly able to improve people’s lives through education. Your feedback goes a long way in making sure we’re on the right track.

One thing that caught our attention… 
Even though “not having enough time” was the most common barrier to learning, it was the time-intensive learning models that you mentioned as your favorite way to learn (ie: in-person and apprenticeships/group projects).

It confirms what we’ve been seeing and hearing in different ways this year — that learning together, even when the learning is self-directed, is crucial. Support and accountability is more valuable than speed.

For those of you who love digging into numbers as much as we do, here is a closer look at the other things we read and lessons we learned:

What stage of life are you in?

92% of participants were career professionals (whoa!). The majority were either early or mid-career. And 49% identify as working at an established company.

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised here. We sent the survey via email — during the middle of a summer day — which isn’t exactly the best way to reach high school and college students. Still, it was a helpful reminder that a lot of you have either just begun your jobs or are graduating to a new level in your careers.

Also, only 10% identify as being a student but nearly 20% feel like they’re in a place of transition.

What are you most interested in learning?

The three most common areas people wanted to learn more about were:

  • Business (Finance, Data, Sales, Launching & Leading a company, Change Management)
  • Software Dev (Coding, UI/UX, Unity)
  • Personal Growth (Peace, Wholeness, Time Management, Travel, Language)

Other interesting fields included Cybersecurity, Film, Writing, Community Health.

Biggest Hurdle?

Time was the #1 biggest hurdle for ongoing learning.

Again, no surprise. People are busy. Especially people around Ei. They’re bold, working on big initiatives, and working to serve a lot of people. So time is tight.

What was surprising, however, was how many people noted the need for a community or accountability. Which tied into the next question:

Which method do you most enjoy for learning?

Nearly half of participants’ favorite way to learn was in-person — which is presumably the most time-consuming way to learn…but the most transformative.

Also, nearly a third of you mentioned apprenticeship/shadowing or guided individual projects and that the role of an expert/mentor is important.

I care most about the future of…?

37% Learning in the workplace
26% Future of Higher Education

Even though the majority of the participants are in a relatively traditional workplace, there’s a surprisingly strong interest in the future of formal higher education. Most of you have been down that road, and you want to see it change.

Where do we go from here?

Here are a few threads we plan to follow…

  • Programs for career professionals: Many of you know that your future is only as bright as the light you shine on it. And that light is learning. So, we’ll continue improving our 60-day program for career professionals. We’re also curious about ways to bring you together for shorter “pop-up” classes for you to meet one another and learn something helpful and meaningful, together.
  • Working with college students and universities: Life during and after college without real-world experience is a sort of the Wild, Wild West. Meaningful experiences are what give students the confidence and the ability to launch into their next step. So we want to continue infusing college with more opportunities for student-guided experiences outside of the classroom. Currently, that’s a work/study program during college. But we’re curious about other “bridge” opportunities right after college graduation. More on that soon…

Thanks again for being part of Ei. We love this work and hope to continue serving up helpful programs and tools for you and your community in the coming months.

Happy Wednesday,