In recent years, education has been reshaped and reimagined in order to better fit the needs of the current generation of learners as well as the economic situation they find themselves in.
As a consequence of this, learning has become much shorter and niche. Students and employees are scrambling to showcase unique skills that can help them stand out from the rest of the crowd. In fact, a survey by the OECD showed that the main difference between high-performing adults and low-performing adults is that the former undertook new skills across their lifetime.
For today’s workforce, learning after acquiring degrees isn’t a bonus, it’s a necessity to survive.
Consuming short content and courses
Taking short courses have proven to be an effective way to improve job prospects, with many individuals vouching for them. As such, MOOCs faced tremendous growth last year, having attracted a total of 110 million students. It grew in terms of subject offerings and the types of programs available as well.
On the other hand, stackable credentials have also become quite popular. Learners get to mix and match classes and programs in order to acquire the specific skill sets that they are aiming for. This type of learning allows greater flexibility for learners so that they can take the courses when they are most able to. It also gives them the opportunity to learn the latest technologies and develop their professional knowledge constantly.
The hyper-competitive learning market
In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, companies need individuals who have the knowledge to operate such tools. Thus, the race for acquiring skills began, alongside the boom of education providers.
Now with numerous platforms to choose from, providers are competing to offer the best packages or features available for their user base. Of course companies can attract a wide range of learners with subjects and topics offered. However, companies can also go deep instead–teaching skills to learners that are seeking specific and advanced courses for their fields.
Here are some of the factors that students consider before signing up for a course:
- Subject offerings
- Employment rate
- Price tiers and loan programs
- Instructor expertise
- Time flexibility
The corporate world backing up employee learning
In the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, it is estimated that 1 billion employees will need to be reskilled by 2030 in order to remain competitive. The reason for this massive shift is because many jobs are expected to be lost due to artificial intelligence.
As a result, lifelong learning is being equated to lifelong employability. Top companies such as Google and Microsoft incorporate mandated training into their employee’s work routines by allotting 20% of their workweek to be solely dedicated to developing their skills, even ones not directly linked to their current positions. This is a win-win situation for both company and employees as it allows for the discovery of new ideas, products, and processes that can uplift the company.
Higher ed adapting to lifelong learning needs
As mentioned earlier, having a four-year degree is no longer the be-all-end-all solution in achieving people’s career goals.
Due to the reforms asked by current students and alumni regarding costs as well as losing competition to their non-traditional counterparts, even higher ed institutions have made curriculum changes to adapt to the lifelong learning mindset.
Not only that, initiatives are being launched by various universities such as:
- Job readiness seminars
- Shifting the goals and expanding the time frame for career counseling
- Digital badges
- Specialized lifelong learning committees
- Partnerships with MOOCs so students can use the online courses they’ve taken as credits for their degrees
- Partnerships with local businesses for credentials on employable skills
Having said all of this, it seems like lifelong learning is not just a passing trend. It has become a new dimension–and even a foundation–for the growth of many companies and industries. With that in mind, the only way education platforms can keep on thriving is to keep on growing and reaching out to better fulfill the needs of its learners.