Online survey report

Download online survey report (873kb pdf)

The Beyond Current Horizons online survey was designed to give us an important insight into the challenges that need to be addressed in order to create the education system that people want in 2025.

A report on the survey gives details about the participants, as well as key findings. The full version of the report can be downloaded as a pdf – see link above. On this page you will find the overview.


An online survey was conducted between 2-28 January 2008 to complement the workshops held with parents, educators and baby boomers. The goals were to:

  1. Identify which previously identified challenges from the Beyond Current Horizons programme the interested parties think it is most important to research further.
  2. Identify additional relevant challenges.
  3. Discover what the participants want from education in 2025.

The 215 adult participants classified themselves as: 31 parents, 118 working in education, 48 parents who also worked in education, and 18 who classed themselves only as ‘Other’. The survey was advertised through the Beyond Current Horizons project, Futurelab and associate organisations. From their self-rating of technology used they appeared to be technologically literate. On average they had used eight different types of technology in the previous month, for example mobile phones, the internet, digital/video cameras. However, they tended not to visit virtual worlds, eg Second Life, or social networking sites.

The key findings from the survey were:

  • The two previously identified key areas to investigate in order to create the ideal learning environment were: What sorts of education systems, methods and institutions do we need to help people cope with increasing complexity? What skills will we need to fully participate in increasingly virtual, visual and complex information societies? How new technologies may help education to meet the needs of a changing population.
  • All the groups felt the least important areas for further investigation were: How might technologies help the education system respond to significant society changing events, eg pandemics, climate change, cyberterrorism, economic failure? How might the balance between state and commercial delivery of education change in the context of technological development?
  • Over half of all adults from all backgrounds felt that the role of technology was to make learning fun and motivate students.
  • Parents and those in education felt another benefit of using technology would be to enable learning wherever and whenever a student wants.
  • The role of technology is not to: provide virtual worlds for exploration; keep track of the children’s location.
  • Technology should support learners to become more responsible and competent in their own learning.
  • There is a desire to stop the current examination system, implying an investigation is needed around assessment, what it should address, and how it should be used.
  • The importance of a relevant, fun and feasible curriculum introducing generic thinking skills rather than specific subject knowledge.
  • The role of teachers will exist, but how they can best be utilised should be investigated.

Looking at the method the responses indicate more work is required on setting a context for reflection on 2025 and beyond. Many of the suggestions appear to be immediate solutions or concerns rather than areas relevant to 2025 and beyond or visions of a future education system.

The rest of this report describes the participants and outcomes in more detail.