COVID-19 Survey Results: The Impact of COVID-19 on Learning

See how Coronavirus impacted learning trends and changed learning priorities.


Please note: our survey is still open and we plan to track trends and changes in our learners' perspectives throughout. 

We're working hard to measure the impact COVID-19 is having on learning and with the help of our users, we've been able to pull out some preliminary trends on the impact of coronavirus on our ability to learn, our motivation to learn and our learning priorities.

Headline Statistics: The impact of COVID-19 on learning

  • People still want to learn. Since the UK went into lockdown, 49.23% of people (up from 45% pre lockdown) say they expect to learn more in the next three months due to COVID-19. See the UK lockdown survey results.
  • People's motivations for learning are changing. We're now motivated by the want to help our communities as well as to make use of the time we've found ourselves with. Skip to the preliminary report data
  • But our priorities when it comes to learning are changing. Safety is at the forefront of many learner's minds and they are looking to online courses or heavily-reduced classroom sizes to reflect a shift towards social distancing.
  • View the infographic

COVID-19: Does the lockdown* make us want to learn more?

The UK announced that it would go into lockdown on March 23rd, 2020 barring people from making any non-essential trips outside. We dug into the survey results we received within the first twelve days of the lockdown to see whether it had any impact on learner's motivation, ability and resources to learn. 

Q: Would you say the coronavirus (COVID-19) has made you more or less likely to learn something new in the next 3 months?

In the immediate days that followed the lockdown, we saw a spike of people wanting to turn their focus to learning

Compared with the overall picture of 49.23%* of people who said they were more likely to learn something new, nearly 62% of all respondents who replied during the first twelve days of the lockdown said they were more likely to learn something new.

*Overall picture - results from 1700 GMT 17/03/2020 - 0900 GMT 07/04/2020 inclusive 


Results taken during lockdown only - 00:01 March 23rd - 1700 April 4th 2020


Furthermore, the group of those who were less likely to learn something new in the next 3 months was drastically lower for those responding in the lockdown window than those who responded before the lockdown went into effect.

As you will see from our preliminary study below, before the lockdown, 29% of all respondents said they were less likely to learn something new. In the lockdown window, this reduced to 15.38%

Is there a more drastic shift towards learning now that the UK is in lockdown?

Our preliminary report showed that 53% of people who said they expected to learn more said it was because they had more available time. This jumped to 66% during the first twelve days of the UK lockdown.

Roughly the same percentage of respondents wanted to learn to make themselves more valuable to their employer (33% vs. 34% pre lockdown), however, the number of people learning to take their minds off the global situation jumped from 21% to 32%. 

"I want to strike while the iron is hot, fit in studying around volunteering and be ready to hit the ground running when we come out the other side."

- Respondent quote

Q: Why do you think that COVID-19 (the coronavirus) has made you more likely to learn something new?

Results taken during the first twelve days of UK lockdown:


Please note: respondents could select more than 1 answer to this question.

The challenge of time for lockdown learners

But the survey results also showed that the first twelve days of lockdown posed a new challenge for learners. In the preliminary study, the biggest barrier to learning was stress: 28.44% stated that they were too stressed to think about learning. In the first twelve days of lockdown, the biggest challenge to learning was time.

Of the 15.38% of people who said they were less likely to learn something new, 42.86% said they no longer had the time to dedicate to a course.

"I have a child at home now which does not leave me time and space to concentrate on any of my own learning as I am having to home school him."

- Respondent quote

Q: Why do you think COVID-19 (coronavirus) has made you less likely to learn something new?

Results taken during the first twelve days of UK lockdown:


*Results are taken from March 23rd 2020 - April 4th 2020 inclusive. The term "Survey lockdown period" therefore refers to the survey period of March 23 to April 4 inclusive, and not to the period of the UK lockdown as a whole. We will continue to collect survey responses and will provide a full update on this section once the UK lifts the lockdown, to gain the full picture.

COVID-19: Impact on Learning Preliminary Report Results

The results enclosed below are for all 785 survey results between 17:00 GMT 17/03/20 and 10:00 GMT 20/03/20

COVID-19: Impact on Individual Learners

Q: Would you say the coronavirus (COVID-19) has made you more or less likely to learn something in the next 3 months?


45% of respondents said they were more likely to learn in the next three months due to COVID-19, whereas 29% stated they were unsure.

For the 45% that said they were more likely to learn in the next three months, 56% already preferred online learning as a learning method, with one user saying, "Because I am already learning online and have been for almost one year now, the coronavirus won't really affect my learning. I’ve still got a few more years of learning to go as well."

For those that were unsure, 60% of them wanted training providers to do more to highlight online and virtual options and 29% wanted free re-booking options to help them make an informed decision in the coming months. 

Q: Why do you think you are more likely to study in the next 3 months?


Of those who say they expect to learn more because of COVID-19, 53% say this is because they will have more time to be able to dedicate to learning. For others, there is a real focus on employability and job-seeking ability with their learning: with 34% wanting to train to become more valuable to their current employers and 23% to help with their job-seeking efforts. 

Q: What are you looking to learn in the coming months?

There is a swing towards management training, as well as a focus on qualifications and skills in what learners plan to focus on in the coming months.

Leadership, named one of the Top 5 soft skills in our 2019 Learning and Development report has been overshadowed in the wake of COVID-19 by management and engineering. 

Q: Why do you think you are less likely to study in the next three months?


For those that expect to study less in the coming months, stress is a big concern. People also cited feeling distracted and unable to focus due to the uncertainly of the situation as one of the major reasons they will not be studying as much in the coming months.

For some working in the healthcare sector, time will be the biggest barrier to learning, with 12% of respondents saying they will have less time to study. 

Some users also stated that they needed more personalised face-to-face support in order to get the most out of learning. This might be an opportunity for some training providers to focus on a one-to-one tuition experience virtually to support these learners. 

COVID-19: Impact on Workplace Learning

Q: How has your L&D budget been affected by COVID-19?


Just over 30% of those working in L&D professionally state that their budgets for learning have been reduced for the coming months. 

Q: How are your learning and development activities being impacted in the short-term?


Most training, it seems, will happen as planned: either further into the future or as an online course. Only 19% of respondents reported that they have cancelled all training, compared to just over 80% who have moved it online.*

COVID-19: The Role of Training Providers

Q: Is there anything our training providers could do that would make you feel more comfortable with booking a course?


An overwhelming majority of users wanted training providers to switch their classes to online versions, or to provide information about virtual classroom options. Other ways that learners can feel more comfortable with booking training is if the provider offers free re-booking or makes changes to their cancellation policy in light of COVID-19. 

Final thoughts

Our survey is not over yet. If you would like to share your thoughts with us, please do so!

The Impact of COVID-19 on Learning: Infographic

You may use this infographic for your own content if you wish, but please ensure you cite


* Please note, respondents could choose more than 1 answer