Back in the 1990s or even 2000s if you wanted to learn something new you had to physically attend classes in the brick-and-mortar institutions. The courses were few and generic and the model was simple; Enroll, pay the fees, attend classes, appear in exams, get your degree or diploma and walk out. But, those were the old days. The dynamite of the fourth industrial revolution and technology disruption blew this framed system of generic courses into a jillion skills and specializations fragments, each unique in its form and composition. Generalized courses were tossed out of the employment window and employers became nit-picky on the kind of skill they needed. But the question was where were they to find talent for these skills? Education overhaul was almost impossible overnight. Thankfully, e-learning came to aid.
Today, both the industry and online education system are working hand in hand to build a swift, efficient and sustainable skilling system. They have turned a skilling wheel that is unlikely to slow down any soon. According to McKinsey “we could expect eight to nine percent of 2030 labor demand will be in new types of occupations that have not existed before” and “About half the activities people are paid to do globally could theoretically be automated using currently demonstrated technologies.” By 2030, 75 million to 375 million will need to change their skill category and between 400-800 million jobs will be displaced. Most of them are already geared up for the challenge. This new breed of learners is constantly upgrading itself, hunting and shooting for the right courses. The industry couldn’t be happier!
Online development is a win-win deal for both learners and employers.
For learners, two arresting benefits root online education better than its conventional skill alternatives: speed and availability. They don’t have to physically relocate to the training venue and the best expertise in the subject matter is just a few clicks away. Online learning has dulled the global skill boundaries. Learners can build an international community of professionals who, in addition to their ace skills and knowledge, serve cultural heterogeneity in the learning platter. Constant detectable presence instills more learning responsibility as there can be “no Hiding under the chair” in online classrooms. Affordability of these courses comes as yet another topping on this big skill advantage cake. Online courses are fine-tuned to the preferences of the gadget-friendly millennials and Gen-Z talent. The mobile learning market will reach USD 37.60 billion by 2020.
For Enterprises, online development offers speedy reskilling solutions. A risky disruptive work environment in which skills are remodeled almost every 6 years exacerbates this need. The advantages of continuous training are not restricted to skills. Mary Shindler, senior program manager L&D at LinkedIn says “Data is showing that team members who engage in learning are found to be happier and feel more satisfied in their careers.”
Online professional development is not an option in the Industry 4.0 age. Traditional manufacturing processes are being revamped almost at every value chain node by automation, Internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics. While developed nations like Germany, the US, Japan and France are ahead in the game as the first mover, developing countries face a threat of losing their competitiveness. The same applies to big and small competing organizations, hence many leading ones mandate professional development as a part of their continual employment proposition. Online professional development can ease this competitiveness dilemma at both the micro and macro levels.
Here are our few trends to watch out for:
Microlearning: Learning in snackable learning modules of 15 to 20 minutes.
Flipped classrooms: Gives the learner a chance to ponder outside the classroom and discuss ideas and thoughts during online discussions, webinars and conferences, etc.
Social learning: Organizations are seeping in their employees’ personal learning networks. Often inadvertent, social learning can have a huge impact in terms of consumption and connections.
Certifications: Conventionally degrees were seen as the standard of higher education and, certifications as a method of continuous education. Standards-based-certifications are blurring these lines and certifications are playing a bigger role now. With their suitability for the contemporary business environment and their global acceptability, certifications have emerged as the biggest game-changer in the online professional development sphere to bridge the skills gap.
Which route are you planning to pick?