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Who are our Learners? Part 4: The ‘Leisure’ archetypes

A research-based insight into FutureLearners.

Part 4: The ‘Leisure’ archetypes.

By Tracey Walker, User Experience Researcher at FutureLearn

In part one, Tracey explained how the research and data team at FutureLearn set out to understand more about our learners. You can read more about this in Part 1: what we did and why.

In part two, Tracey focused on the ‘Work and Study’ group of archetypes while in part three, she focused on the ‘Personal Life’ group. In this final article in the series, Tracey focuses on the last of the groups of archetypes that came out of the research, the ‘Leisure’ archetypes. Within this category, there were two different archetypes; hobbyists and vitalisers – read on to find out who these archetypes are and what they want from FutureLearn.


Hobbyists learn in order to support their existing personal projects, leisure activities and pastimes. Our courses complement, inform and enable their activities. A high proportion of Hobbyists were retired and therefore more likely to be in the 56-75 age group and 61% of them were from Europe. Hobbyists had the best activation rate and the best full participation rate in comparison with other learners on the platform.

What do Hobbyists want from FutureLearn?

  • A wide variety of non-vocational courses to suit their hobbies, e.g. history topics
  • Courses they can join when needed
  • Opportunities to go into more depth
  • Packs of course content and access to related resources


Vitalisers learn as a hobby and for the love of learning. They may be proud to call themselves lifelong learners, occupying themselves by learning anything of personal interest. They see learning as an enjoyable and stimulating activity, perhaps even an indulgence. The majority of vitalisers were retired and more likely to come from Europe (63%). Vitalisers had the highest number of enrolments of all archetypes.

What do Vitalisers want from FutureLearn?

  • Regular supply of diverse and interesting courses, allowing them to learn regularly
  • To spend personal and luxury time learning
  • Sound, accessible content and good reference materials
  • To feel stimulated, mentally active and entertained
  • To feel good about themselves, their identity as a learner and their good use of time

What type of learner are you?

At FutureLearn, we are obsessed with understanding our learners and will continue to do research to explore learner motivations and how they might be changing and evolving. In fact, very few of our learners in the research identified with only one archetype and it was very common for a learner that strongly identified with the Advancer archetype, for example, to also think of themselves as an Explorer to some degree.

We are very excited about the prospect of other archetypes emerging over time and exploring what we can do to cater for their needs. You never know, you may be our new Archetype. What type of learner are you?

Read more in part 1: what we did and why, part 2: The ‘Work and Study’ archetypes and part 3: Who are our learners: The ‘Personal Life’ archetypes.

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