New study reveals what skills Americans are focusing on learning in 2024

"Just YouTube it!" It's a phrase we've all heard tossed around when trying to master a new task or skill. These days, it seems like there's a tutorial or how-to guide for just about everything on YouTube. According to a new Preply study, we aren’t just hearing this phrase, we’re living by it, too—85% of us turn to YouTube as our go-to for learning new skills.

But it's not just about DIY crafts or cooking tips: Americans are planning some serious self-improvement in 2024. Instead of resolution lists that fizzle out by February, Preply dug into what we’re learning, how much we’re willing to invest in our new skills, and what obstacles we face along the way.

So get that YouTube tab ready! You might just be inspired to join one of the top learning trends of 2024.

Skills Americans are learning in 2024

Gym gear, hiking boots, or a yoga mat—which one made it into your Amazon shopping cart? For the vast majority of Americans (65%), learning health and fitness skills are our #1 priority this year.

Though losing weight or hitting the gym more often are pretty standard New Year’s resolutions, some of us are really catering to our inner fitness freaks, with weightlifting/bodybuilding (57%), hiking (45%), and yoga/pilates (41%) making the top 20 list of specific skills we’re learning.

Let’s not forget another type of fitness: financial fitness. Coming in as the second most popular area for learning (59%), almost as many Americans are reaching for their calculators as they are their dumbbells.

Within the realm of financial skills, budgeting (#2) and investing (#4) are our top learning priorities. After a year where things like Bitcoin and cryptocurrency became dinner table topics, Americans seem keen to take control of their finances and build their nest eggs through new opportunities.
Meanwhile, last fall’s “cozy girl aesthetic” is still very much our vibe, with 56% of Americans saying they’re focusing on honing home and lifestyle skills. Modeling a trend toward sustainable living and DIY culture, Americans are choosing to learn skills that were traditionally seen as chores but are now undeniably chic.

Cooking and baking tops the list with a whopping 84% of new learners. This trend definitely tracks with previous years, especially 2020—who didn’t try to perfect their sourdough recipe when we were all stuck indoors?

Our homebodying continues with home repairs and maintenance (72%), and even more creative pursuits like writing (59%), knitting/crocheting (56%), gardening (47%), and painting (46%). Americans might be taking “home is where the heart is” to heart, filling their nests with rewarding and comforting activities.

Language learning trends for 2024

In 2024, 39% of Americans have set their sights on learning a new language. Spanish leads the pack with 56% of learners, followed by Japanese, French, German, and Italian to round out the top five.

Why this sudden urge to parle and habla? A massive 84% of those surveyed pointed to personal enrichment as the main motivation fueling this endeavor. Do we sense a nation of polyglots in the making? Perhaps! But the benefits aren't just personal. Almost half of the language learners also see this as a gateway to professional advancement, providing them a competitive edge in our increasingly globalized job market.
However, ambitious goals aren’t without barriers, and language learning is no exception. Interestingly, the biggest hurdle isn't as cerebral as you might think. About 21% of Americans hesitate to venture into a new language because they feel strapped for time.

That said, the motivations far outweigh the obstacles. A little over 40% of those surveyed believe that adding another language to their repertoire will positively influence their relationships. Conversations go beyond the usual small talk, and understanding a loved one's native language or culture becomes easier.

And the “language of love" takes on a whole new meaning here—1 in 5 learners think learning a new language could even improve their dating prospects. So whether for work or pleasure, building bridges between cultures or simply challenging oneself, one thing is clear: Americans are ready to talk the talk!

Why Americans want to learn new skills in 2024

Let's face it—2024 is a challenging economic year, and it's got Americans pondering over their skill sets as much as their wallets.

According to the study, a significant 56% of respondents shared a common worry: They feel their current skill set might be holding them back from earning more. In this “survival of the fittest” market, the correlation between learning new skills and economic gains has never been clearer.

So, why learn new skills? The reasons are definitely more layered than just money. Sure, 40% of Americans aspire to clear off debt by building a new skill—a noteworthy goal, given that they're spending an average of $32 per month as an investment toward this aim. But the desire to learn stretches beyond just these financial goalposts.

An impressive 72% of respondents view learning a new skill as a gateway to a more fulfilling life. For many, it's about embracing a new hobby, creating a sense of accomplishment, or simply deriving pleasure from the process of learning itself.

And even when it's about work, it doesn't have to be boring! With around 39% of Americans hoping to introduce a little excitement into their professional lives, the intention to learn new skills is often driven by a quest to find more engaging and stimulating work. After all, who wouldn't want to jazz up their nine-to-five routine with something more meaningful?

So, while financial pressures play a significant part in driving learning, they’re not the sole motivator. Whether for enjoyment or employment, learning new skills contributes to our overall quality of life.

What’s hindering Americans from learning a new skill in 2024

Every goal involves stumbling blocks. Preply’s study touched on quite a few obstacles Americans face in their learning journeys.

A significant chunk of these are mental hurdles. Nearly half of the respondents feel they lack the patience to commit to learning for the long haul. Another 27% mentioned mental health challenges while 14% said they felt they aren’t intelligent enough. Lastly, 5% cited learning disabilities, showing just how much our “mind over matter” comes into play in our skill-building journeys.

Digging a little deeper, the study also shed light on some demographic constraints that seem to hold Americans back. Finances emerged as a major hitch with 63% of participants admitting that money troubles get in the way of their goals.

Age and family responsibilities followed with 38% and 25% of respondents, respectively. The age factor, though, isn’t just about feeling too old to learn: a surprising 46% confessed they've felt too past their prime at some point to even try learning a new skill.

Sadly, obstacles can be pretty demotivating and often translate into less time devoted to learning—and, in some cases, giving up early. On average, Americans spent 60% less time than planned on skill development each week. Nearly half of us (48%) have surrendered learning a new skill in just a few weeks or less.


If you’re thinking about investing in yourself this year and learning a new skill, there’s no time like the present. Whether you’re inspired by the skills other Americans are learning or keen to start your own passion project, the possibilities are endless.

No matter what skill you choose, learning is a long and sometimes bumpy road. Recognizing that it’s not an overnight process—but more like a series of small victories—can help you persevere when the going gets tough. Remember, every setback sets you up for a comeback, and every obstacle you face now means a bigger payoff in the end. Here’s to making 2024 your most rewarding year yet!

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