Udemy and Others Offer Exposure to this Growth Massive Market

By: February 21, 2024

Learning Beyond Formal Education, also sometimes called Lifelong Learning or Adult Education, describes the concept of ongoing learning and informal or non-formal education beyond what is generally described as formal education: school and college/university.

According to the US Department of Education and Science, Learning Beyond Formal Education is defined as the continuous and voluntary pursuit of knowledge, building of skills, and improvement of abilities for personal or professional reasons.

That is a very broad definition, which is why Learning Beyond Formal Education can look very different for individuals.

  • In some cases, it describes that someone continues to upgrade their skillset for professional reasons in their current career, e.g., when a programmer engages in courses to learn a new coding language.
  • In other cases, it describes that someone pursues knowledge in a topic out of pure interest without there being a connection to one’s career, e.g. when an engineer wants to learn about history.
  • In other cases, Learning Beyond Formal Education describes courses and retraining that is being pursued when someone wants to change careers. This is sometimes done when the individual seeks to change careers or jobs, but in other cases, companies seek to retrain their employees if some skills are no longer required. If a job is automated via AI, for example, the company may retrain its workers to do other jobs instead.

Learning Beyond Formal Education is a major trend, as we can see in the following chart from Statista:

 (source: statista.com)

The above chart shows the participation rate in education and training in the previous four weeks in countries across Europe among 25-64-year-olds. With as much as one-fourth of the adult, post-college-aged population engaged in education, gaining new skills and knowledge is highly important to many people.

The fact is, as more digital natives enter the workforce, the bigger this potential market becomes. Also, as employers get younger, they’ll likely want more of this kind of ongoing training for their employees, increasing demand from that end as well.

The same holds true in other countries, such as China:

(source: statista.com)

The above chart shows the market growth rate for comprehensive lifelong education in China. We see that growth rates are, on average, easily in the double-digits.

How To Benefit from the Learning Beyond Formal Education MegaTrend

Investors that are interested in the Learning Beyond Formal Education MegaTrend can benefit from this trend in several ways. Of course, self-applied Lifelong Learning can further one’s career, but there are also investment choices that can give us exposure to this trend.

Investors could, for example, choose to invest in companies offering remote learning, courses, tutoring, and so on. Some of these companies are traded publicly, including New Oriental Education & Technology Group (NASDAQ: EDU), which offers a range of services, including tutoring, private learning centers, and so on.

Lincoln Education Services (NASDAQ: LINC) is another publicly traded education company that primarily offers career education and training in single, applicable skills in areas such as information technology and health sciences.

Udemy, Inc. (NASDAQ: UDMY) is an online marketplace platform where technical skills, business skills, and even personal skill development is being taught to more than 50 million learners.

Since many of the offerings in Lifelong Learning are done online, one can also make a case for an additional investment option: Online learners need equipment, thus companies, such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) or Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), could benefit from the growing Lifelong Learning MegaTrend as well.


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