The Changing Age of Self-Learning

By: Mark McCrindle

In today’s digital age, self-learning has taken on new dimensions, with different generations turning to diverse platforms to acquire knowledge.

The social media platforms of TikTok and Instagram have emerged as not only places of entertainment, but as significant hubs for learning for younger generations, while YouTube remains a robust choice for knowledge-seeking.

Social Media as Learning Hubs

Among social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram have emerged as powerful enablers of self-learning, particularly for Gen Z. Almost half of Gen Z turn to TikTok (48%) and Instagram (46%) to teach themselves new things daily. This stands in sharp contrast to older generations, with only 29% of Gen Y, 13% of Gen X, and 2% of Baby Boomers relying on TikTok. Similarly, for Instagram, the figures drop to 38% of Gen Y, 16% of Gen X, and 7% of Baby Boomers. These social media platforms have become essential hubs for Gen Z, offering bite-sized and visually engaging content that resonates with their learning style.

YouTube and Podcasts

While YouTube remains popular across all age groups, it is notable that older generations display a preference for this more established visual platform compared to other social media platforms for learning. Gen Z (42%) and Gen Y (41%) continue to turn to YouTube for self-learning daily, while Gen X (27%) and Baby Boomers (14%) also find it a valuable resource for acquiring new knowledge.

Podcasts have garnered popularity as another avenue for self-learning, with 38% of Gen Z and 34% of Gen Y tuning in at least a couple of times each week. In contrast, 15% of Gen X and 5% of Baby Boomers embrace this audio medium for their learning endeavours.

The Influencer Effect

As social media platforms continue to shape the learning landscape, influencers have risen to prominence among young Australians. Almost two in five Gen Z (38%) and 29% of Gen Y seek information from influencers more than once a week. This trend is less common among Gen X (12%) and Baby Boomers (2%), highlighting the growing influence of these digital content creators on knowledge acquisition in recent years.

The Evolving Realm of Knowledge

Today’s screen culture underscores the dynamic nature of self-learning, with different generations embracing various platforms to acquire knowledge. As the landscape continues to evolve, these insights will prove vital in navigating the diverse avenues available for self-education, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth across generations.

Generation Z Infographic


From explaining the defining traits of each generation to shining a light on the emerging Gen Zs and Gen Alphas, this infographic provides a fascinating overview of the generations.

Download now

Article supplied with thanks to McCrindle.

About the Author: McCrindle are a team of researchers and communications specialists who discover insights, and tell the story of Australians – what we do, and who we are.

Feature image: Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash 

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