Crowdlearn: online platform work and skills

Cedefop’s CrowdLearn survey is the first study to examine how EU workers in the online platform economy develop their skills, and how these platforms match skills supply with demand, with a view to drawing lessons for European skills and education policy.

About 2% of European citizens depend heavily on online platform work to earn a living. Insights on what skills gig workers learn and need to be successful in the online gig economy can provide useful insights for how to make vocational education and training more relevant to trends in the future of work, such as increasing reliance on self-employment, multiple jobs, contingent work, virtual remote work and algorithmic management.

Cedefop’s CrowdLearn study addresses the following research questions:

  • What skills do crowdworkers develop through their work and with what learning processes – individual and social?
  • Are there differences in learning and skill development practices between crowdworkers and workers in traditional labour markets?
  • Do platform markets promote effective skill development and utilisation of crowdworkers’ skills?
  • What about recognition/validation and portability of crowdworkers’ skills and credentials?
  • What policies can improve skill development and matching of crowdworkers?

The study findings are based on a dedicated qualitative data collection phase, interviewing in-depth crowdworkers, representatives of stakeholder organisations and platforms. A key contribution of the project is the compilation of a unique dataset of 1 000 online platform freelancers from four major online labour platforms and an additional supplement of 1 000 microworkers.

Key outputs:

The project’s final seminar ‘Skill development of workers in the platform economy: anticipating the future of work and learning’ and seminar literature discussed the challenges and opportunities crowdworkers face.

The final CrowdLearn report, Developing and matching skills in the online platform economy, is now published.

The follow-up Crowdlearn report focused on microworkers, Skill development in the platform economy: comparing microwork and online freelancing, is now published.

Please see Cedefop’s note ‘Working and learning online in the Covid-19 era'.

The Crowdlearn survey microdata is now available.

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