How to Target Learners During Changing Governments and Unsettled Periods

Joshua Stoneham
July 3, 2024

Learner urgency to learn is a key area that providers and educational institutions look towards to understand how best to market themselves to their target audience. Knowing when learners will be most open to the idea of taking on a new course can help you target them in the most effective way. 

But what is the best strategy during uncertain periods or significant political reshuffles? For providers who want to appeal to learners at all times, knowing how to navigate uncertain times can be a game changer in driving up engagement.

Targeting learners who face unsettled finances

For learners who are facing unsettled finances, but are considering using education as a tool to find a better-paid job, or open up a new career path, committing to a course can be a tricky decision to make.

Demonstrate Value

In this situation, providers need to help learners see the value that the course can provide for them. Testimonials, job outcomes and future salary expectations can be a great way to encourage a learner to decide to enrol. 

Asking previous learners for testimonials, including questions on how it opened up new careers and increased their earning potential, is a simple way to ease worries held by financially strained learners.

Focus On Flexibility

For learners facing financial difficulties, earning whilst learning can be a huge factor in deciding whether to enrol on a course. When advertising course listings, ensure that the learner understands that they can take a flexible approach to course delivery, especially if they need to access learning outside of typical hours. 

Depending on how you charge learners for courses, taking a flexible approach to repayments, either through accepting credit or allowing learners to pay in instalments, can give learners the peace of mind they need to study with you, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be burdened with large, upfront costs.

Encourage Small, But Effective Learning Programmes

For some learners, committing to expensive courses that take place over a long period of time can be a daunting prospect. Providers who look at encouraging subscription-based learning may find that learners are more keen to dip into learning programmes as and when it suits them. 

Having regular access to courses through a subscription model allows learners to more comfortably allocate a budget towards development, similarly to how they might factor in a subscription service such as Netflix or Spotify into their monthly budget.

Targeting Learners During Changing Governments

A government that is perceived to be likely to change, or one that has just recently changed can affect learner confidence in enrolling. This is because they may expect government-funded courses to be expanded, or cut, and learners may be considering how a change in government could improve their job prospects, making them less inclined to turn to courses for career growth. 

With both Australia and the UK having fortunes rising for new parties who aim to take on a more hands-on approach to learning, some considering courses may wait and see what additional funding may be made available for them, which could stop them from exploring courses in the short-term. However, there are also opportunities providers can capitalise on as governments change.

Get Ahead of Government Commitments

Providers that want to make the most out of changing governments should keep a close eye on promises made by incoming parties and be ready to capitalise on new opportunities. 

For example, an incoming Labour government in the UK promises to launch a new skills body called Skills England, which will work with local authorities and learners who are looking for work to set them up with courses and tutors that can supercharge skills development in Britain.

Understanding where an incoming government is looking to build skills, whether that’s geographical locations or particular job sectors, can allow providers to get on the front foot and ensure they have the capacity and resources to work alongside a new government to deliver their educational goals.

Understand What The Public Thinks

Elections can be an excellent way to understand where learners’ minds are currently focused. An education-first party coming into power can give signs of a population that is calling out for skills development, whilst a tax-cutting, business-first party could indicate that the public is keen to use a thriving job market to develop their skills rather than education. 

The bellwether of an election can be a great indicator of how you should target learners and can give unparalleled insight into learner urgency, and what might be causing a change or deviation in typical learner behaviour.

Capitalise On Positive Momentum

If a country wants to adopt a new strategy for boosting productivity and improving its economic outlook, educators need to show learners how they can contribute to this change.

Communicating to learners how education can be empowering and help them achieve their goals can chime well with an incoming government that is encouraging learners to be more ambitious in contributing to a skills-first society.

During times of significant change, providers can feel wrong-footed and unsure of how to approach learners in the best way.

Rather than seeing periods like this as a hindrance, with the right planning and strategy, providers can find significant opportunities for engagement and build lifelong learning relationships with their users. 

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Joshua Stoneham
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