Skillsoft Blog

Skillsoft Study Shows Modern Learners Place a High Value on Books for Learning New Skills

By Mark Onisk

In a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny, one of the lead characters, says on seeing a bookstore where a night club used to be “I thought we got rid of them”.  Cue the laugh track. But the truth is, she’s not alone in thinking books have gone the way of the dodo bird. Yes, over six billion hours of video content consumed on YouTube each month. Yes, we have recently witnessed the unprecedented adoption of video within the corporate environment, but the truth is, the popularity of books is not dead, or even dying.

How do we know this?

We recently completed one of the most extensive analyses – surveying over 2,000 end-users – we have ever conducted on the use of e-books and other content modalities in eLearning.

The results will surprise you.

In short people want a buffet style approach, a smorgasbord of learning assets if you like. They want options that include video, books, and opportunities for practice.

Over 80% said books were an important part of their learning experience. And before you jump to the conclusion that this number is made of Boomers or Gen x, it is not. In fact, it was the Millennials who rated books ahead regarding their importance as compared to the other groups.

Naturally this begs the question “why?” Why are books still so relevant despite video’s popularity?

There were several reasons given, but in a nutshell, this is why – books are better at teaching complex material, they go deep and importantly, are trusted reliable sources.

What does this mean for you?

Primarily it means don’t abandon books.

As we have seen, learning is becoming ever more focused on providing an individualized experience.  And included in this is choice, no longer does a one size fit all format work. People want variety, so it is crucial to the success of any L&D program that users are offered a selection of ways to absorb knowledge.

And books must play a big part in this.

Want to read more? Download the full report here.


Mark Onisk is General Manager & Vice President, Books at Skillsoft.

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