Who are our learners: Part 3: The ‘Personal Life’ archetypes

Who are our learners: Part 3: The ‘Personal Life’ archetypes

A research-based insight into FutureLearners.

Part 3: The ‘Personal Life’ 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 which included the Advancers, Explorers, and Preparers. You can read more about our insights into these learners in Part 2: The ‘Work and Study’ archetypes.

In this article, part three of the series, Tracey focuses on another one of the groups of archetypes that came out of the research, the ‘Personal Life’ archetypes. Within this category, there were two different archetypes; fixers and flourishers – read on to find out who these archetypes are and what they want from FutureLearn.


Fixers learn in order to understand or manage current aspects of their personal life. This could include the physical or mental health of themselves or those close to them, political or cultural issues, situations requiring practical life skills, or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy. Unlike the work and study related archetypes, Fixers were spread quite evenly across 19-75 year olds  and therefore came from a range of employment types. A higher proportion of Fixers came from Asia (45%) and only 28% from Europe. Fixers had the lowest purchase rate by a long way of any group since proof is not the reason for their learning at all.

What do Fixers want from FutureLearn?

  • A range of quality, up-to-date courses to support needs
  • Pathways to learn more if desired
  • Empathy and understanding
  • Confidence and empowerment
  • Accessible, credible content and expert advice


Flourishers enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives. They may learn to be calm, manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, gain motivation, help others and/or share what they learn. Like Fixers, they come from a wide range of ages and employment, however, the highest proportion tended to come from Europe (40%). Flourishers had one of the highest number of enrolments per group.

What do Flourishers want from FutureLearn?

  • Up-to-date courses, covering well-being, health and the arts
  • Plenty of accessible content
  • Quality videos with engaging presenters
  • Reference packs of material and downloadable audio content to engage with on the move

Understanding more about who are learners are and what they want from our social learning platform helped inform our strategy and enabled us, alongside our partners, to build a portfolio of courses to target those learners.

In part four, our final part of this series, Tracey will look at the last group of archetypes, the ‘Leisure’ archetypes.

Read more in part 1: what we did and why, part 2: The ‘Work and Study’ archetypes and part 4: Who are our Learners? The ‘Leisure’ archetypes.

Research insights