Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Older Workers Are Learning New Skills Online, AARP Survey Finds

Language, technology and speech courses are popular

a man taking an online course
Getty Images

member card

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

Whether it was to improve job opportunities or personal skills, many people age 50 and older took online courses and other training programs over the past two years, according to a survey from AARP Research.

See more Entertainment offers >

One way older workers can stay competitive in the job market is to add new skills. And based on AARP Research’s survey, many of them are interested in receiving courses and training. The survey asked 2,163 people 50-plus questions about job training earlier this year. During the past two years — a time when many people were looking for ways to make the most of pandemic quarantines and restrictions — 32 percent of respondents took job-related skills training or courses. And even more said they were interested in such opportunities to build skills. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would learn new skills if an employer asked them to.

“As we continue on our path toward a skills-based workforce, acquiring or refreshing the in-demand skills that recruiters are after is especially important for older workers,” says Karina Hertz, director of strategic communications for AARP Work & Jobs. “It not only demonstrates to prospective employers that these workers are up-to-date in their respective fields, but it also helps combat the outdated misconception that workers close to traditional retirement age are less invested in continuous learning.”

Online learning platforms are popular

In many cases, training programs and other learning opportunities are provided through employers. But the survey suggests that some people age 50 and older are taking the initiative to learn on their own.

The most popular type of skills-building opportunities for adults 50-plus was computer or technology training, taken by 12 percent of those surveyed. Another 47 percent said they would be interested in taking courses in these fields in the next year.

Many of the people surveyed already appear to be quite comfortable using internet technology, as suggested by the number of people who said they took courses through online learning platforms such as LinkedIn, Coursera and other websites — many of which offer free or low-cost courses.

Looking to take courses? Try AARP Skills Builder for Work

Among the most popular subjects older adults studied on these online learning platforms were:

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.