The BBC, BSkyB and Microsoft are among employers that have declared they are willing to spearhead a government consultation on informal adult learning, it was announced today.
Working groups drawn from major organisations in broadcasting and new technologies will consider how to expand learning for adults, making more use of online technologies to deliver courses in a format the learner desires.
Other organisations signed up to take part in the work alongside the government include Help the Aged, The University of the Third Age, the Family Learning Network, English Heritage, and the TUC.
Skills secretary John Denham, who launched the consultation, claimed that adults did not always want to learn in formal classrooms, or study for qualifications. Instead he pledged to find out what adult learners in the UK want.
"Some courses are still taught in a classroom at a fixed time - an approach that would have been clearly recognised 100 years ago. But adult learning may be as easily stimulated by a TV programme that prompts a trip to a local museum, or an internet search that leads to a group of like-minded learners."
Ben Stimson, director of responsibility at BSkyB, said: "This consultation comes at a time of great opportunity - through the innovative use of technology we can really inspire everyone to learn, whatever their age."
Last year the government launched a major skills drive to inspire all UK adults to gain more skills, in response to the looming skills shortage.