Thumbs up to applied learning from teachers across the UK

Thumbs up to applied learning from teachers across the UK

According to research commissioned by Young Enterprise, 94% of UK teachers feel it is important for young people to have opportunities to apply their learning as part of their school education.¹

Applied learning is an active process in which learners use existing knowledge and understanding to address practical, real-world challenges. It can involve building more problem-solving and scenarios into lessons, through to arranging bespoke activities and events which get learners to put their knowledge and ideas into practice. It can be used across a wide range of subjects, age groups and settings, and it is cost-effective and practical given it is changing how teaching is delivered, rather than adding new content to an already packed curriculum.

Evidence shows that applied learning can increase learner engagement, improve attitudes to learning and build transferable skills. It helps learners to make the connection between what they learn in the classroom and how this can be valuable for them in the real world.

This research gives us, for the first time, an understanding of teachers’ level of support for applied learning from a representative sample across the UK, and it also finds that strong support for applied learning exists across all nations, key stages, school types and subjects.

When asked what makes the biggest difference by providing applied learning opportunities, separate research by Young Enterprise² finds that teachers highly value applied learning because the context is real and relevant, and it gives young people the opportunity to solve problems and be creative.

It is not only teachers giving the thumbs up to applied learning

Young Enterprise recently organised a letter to the Education Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer advocating for more recognition in the curriculum, teacher training and better support for schools to deliver applied learning opportunities, including as a means of addressing the UK’s £22bn skills gap³ and enhancing productivity of the UK’s future workforce.  We were delighted that more than 40 other youth and education organisations also signed the letter, increasing our collective voice and highlighting the strength of backing in the sector.

For more information about the benefits of applied learning, and to add your support to our campaign, please visit:


¹ All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1009 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th – 19th February 2024.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK teachers (aged 18+).

² Young Enterprise (2021) Annual Teacher Survey (Total sample size of 231 UK teachers).

³ Skills Builder Partnership (2023) Essential Skills Tracker,

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