Meet the new modern learner

Anna Johnston
August 5, 2019 · 4 min read

Gone is the idea that learners attend a bricks and mortar university fresh out of school. Today’s learners are diverse, global and online. What does it mean for learning techniques?

In times gone by, if you’d pictured a university student, you might have imagined a school leaver, nervously entering the library on campus for the first time.

But the world has changed, and the modern learner is a completely different prospect.

As higher education has moved online, it’s become accessible to learners of all ages, and life stages, across the globe.  

So when we’re designing our learning materials, we have a very different learner in mind.

According to Gallup, more than 90% of students pursue higher education to build a career, and many of these learners are already in the world of employment. They’re looking for learning options that fit around their existing work and family commitments, and provide immediately relevant solutions for their career directions.


Who is the modern learner? We know that today’s employees are overwhelmed; typically just 1% of their working week is spent on learning and development. They’re distracted, unlocking their phones up to nine times an hour, and impatient; online, designers have between just five and 10 seconds to grab a user’s attention before they click away.

How does this impact how we plan your learning journey? These are some of the things we have in mind when making sure our planning matches our learners’ needs.

Made for digital nomads

Today’s learners are often untethered. They might be working from multiple locations, and working flexibly to fit in work, family and education commitments.

At Nexford, we’re flexible. We fit around your schedule. All you need is an internet connection and a device. Have you read our blog on microlearning? Take a look and see how our bitesized approach to learning means that you learn in short chunks, processing information quickly and accumulating knowledge in a progressive way. Fit in learning sessions on your commute, over your lunchbreak, or whenever works best for you.

Life is on-demand

When everything, from your TV to your GPS navigation, DIY instructions and social life is on-demand, we think your education options should be, too. People are increasingly turning to their smartphones for real-time solutions to their problems. And we believe your higher education options should be the same. You won’t need to take time out to study with us. We offer a personalized learning journey that fits with your career commitments and ambitions. We’ll tailor your program to make sure that you’re learning relevant skills that can be brought straight into the workplace.

We’ve analyzed more than 30 million job vacancies and surveyed leaders who employ more than 2.5 million people worldwide, so we really understand what employers want and need from their workforce. The skills you’ll learn at Nexford are designed to have immediate impact in our workplace. No waiting three years for your degree certificate, no time out, no missed promotions.

Collaboration is key

Today’s learners are not solo operators. They value collaboration and teamwork. Some 80% of workplace learning happens on the job, through interactions with peers, teammates and managers. We know that our learners are unafraid to ask questions, and generous in sharing their own knowledge with others.

At Nexford, you’ll be part of a global network of peers. Our learning may be online, but we’re not robots. We’re real humans, and we’re here to support you on your learning journey. You’ll be assigned a dedicated success advisor, and our faculty members are full-time, and on hand to and offer you real time feedback. Plus, you’ll have access to peer support networks, and join a global community of learners.

Taking control

Just 35% of workers say they have opportunities for learning and growth within their organization. And 62% of IT professionals say that they’ve paid for further training at their own expense. We know that our learners are empowered when it comes to seizing the initiative and seeking new training opportunities outside of their organizations.

At Nexford, you control your learning experience. On average, it takes 18 months to complete our MBA and 36 months to complete our BBA. But in reality, it’s your program. You choose when you start, you fit your learning around your existing commitments, and you choose when you finish. You drive the program structure and pace and fit your programme around your work and life.

We map your career prospects with our Career Planning Guidance and Tool (Cary), and our learner-centric model will help you set realistic goals to make your way through your curriculum. It’s completely personalized, and up to you to seize control.

All statistics cited in this blog are from Bersin by Deloitte, unless otherwise stated.

Find out more about learning at Nexford at

About the author
Anna Johnston
Anna Johnston

Anna Johnston is an award-winning Head of Content, who tells galvanizing stories with a creative team at Nexford.

Anna was the overall Award 2020 winner for the business case: Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset, with Professor Herminia Ibarra and Aneeta Rattan. She is formerly a writer at London Business School, consistently ranked among the world’s best its MBA.

Anna’s work has been published in Forbes, Thomson Reuters, Huffington Post, HR Magazine, the Financial Times, and thought-leading firms such as Accenture and McKinsey & Company.

Anna is a speaker, coach, and presenter. More information about her can be found on LinkedIn.

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