Do you realize that sometimes you won’t even understand yourself until someone starts explaining themself? Then you’d be nodding your head and be like, yeeeah, I can relate. That sounds exactly like me😁

One of the easiest ways to start and finish an online course is to first understand yourself: Who am I? Why am I enrolling in this course? This can help you, as a learner, find motivation for the course.

I have taken a lot of courses because they interest me or maybe I like how the title sounds: Storytelling 101; The Future of Work; Graphics Design made easy; Intro to Chatbots; Philosophy of Everyday Living. I only derive pleasure from enrolling in these courses so I never finish them. In fact, I’m ok with the stress of coming. Besides, there are no defined benefits coming to me.

Now I understand why.

Let me show you.

With the view to understand their learners, FutureLearn, an online learning platform, carried out a survey to understand who their learners are (their personalities and characteristics, their demographics) and why they come to their platform (so they can serve them better).

Online Learner Archetypes

An archetype is “a pattern of behaviour that others are likely to follow.”


Archetypes reflect human behaviour at the cognitive level, they represent typical attitudes, motivations and goals and so help us to understand what learners do, how they do it, and most importantly, why.

Following are three broad categories of what they call archetypes.

  1. Work and Study Archetypes

Work and Study describe people who are primarily on the site to improve their career prospects. It is further split into Advancers, Explorers, and Preparers.

  • They are usually youngsters between the ages of 26 to 35.
  • They are preparing for a chosen career field or have recently started working in a particular field. So they are using online courses to pick up skills that will help them stand out.
  • They are considering a career change and are using online courses to decide on options.
  • They are working in their field of choice and are seeking to pick up extra work-related skills.

** Advancers have a high tendency of purchasing premium courses and certificates.

  1. Personal Life Archetypes

Personal Life archetypes are learners using the platform to address aspects of their personal lives. They can either be fixers or flourishes.

  • These learners are fairly distributed across a wide range of ages (19-75).
  • They are using online courses for personal development.
  • They can also be using online courses to manage a personal life situation, such as their health or the health of a loved one, a political situation, or a social issue.
  • This group are most likely to take multiple courses. And are generally not interested in certification.
  1. Leisure Archetypes

This type of learners are just something else. They are pursuing hobbies or a love of learning. They can be either hobbyists or vitalizers.

  • Leisure archetype comprises largely of retired people who fall between the ages of 56-75.
  • They take courses as a hobby or to support their personal interests and projects.
  • Because personal interest varies with time, this archetype is likened to take courses on a diversity of topics.

You can belong to any of the three archetypes depending on your stage in life. At this particular moment, I can see myself in the Advanced archetype.

However, looking at how seriously we all yearn to be better versions of ourselves, most of us belong to the personal archetype and any other type corresponding to your life’s stage — career development or retired.

Till we meet in the comment section, do think about this. Maybe it’d help put more perspective in that course you’re about to enrol in.

Hat Tip: What Kind of Online Learner Are You

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