Picture John Smith from the 1960s, 70s or even 80s. Life followed a fairly linear pattern of school-job-retirement. A layoff may throw a spanner in the works, but it was definitely not the norm. If John was, say, a draftsman in an architect’s office, he could hope to get a steadily increasing payslip, maybe change jobs to bigger firms, or even go to night school and become an architect himself. Continue Reading “The new normal in learning”
As devices become smaller and cheaper, every person and organization on the planet is generating huge amounts of data. Data Science is one of the hottest fields around, as data scientists harvest the petabytes of data to derive actionable insights.
Did you know that the average worker in the US will have 11 distinct jobs during his career?
Technology is not the only thing that constantly keeps changing in today’s times. With technological advancements come the added challenge of skills becoming obsolete before you know it. If you do not brace yourself and upgrade your skills, you may as well bid goodbye to career growth. Continue Reading “Taking Quality Education into Learners’ Laptops!”
Something changed towards the second half of the 20th Century. Along with civil rights and suffrage in the US, elite universities across the West started welcoming students of all classes, colours and genders. New countries such as India emerged from the ashes of colonialism, and sought to build egalitarian societies with education for all. Continue Reading “The Great Democratization of Education”
As the dust settles and organizations go back to work, the question many a CEO is asking is: Are we resilient enough to prosper in the shadow of the social and economic impact of COVID-19?
Resilience is a concept that represents an organization’s capacity to adapt and thrive in a new harsh environment.
Adaptability is closely linked to the ability of the workforce to learn and pivot to a rapidly changing environment.
That is why a recent Deloitte article “returning to work in the future of work” remarked, “COVID-19 reinforced that it is more important to understand what workers are capable of doing than understanding what they have done before.”
“Now is not the time to pull back on workforce development efforts, but instead to double down on commitments to building a resilient workforce that can adapt in the face of constant change.”
How do you build resilience?
Resilience is not just built ONLY on the foundations of innovation and entrepreneurship but also on less quantifiable capabilities such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and collaboration. Organisations, however, normally do not focus on developing these skills in their professionals, as it’s believed that these are attributes acquired during childhood or schooling. But research suggests just the opposite. For instance, psychologist Angela Duckworth, known for her research on “grit” (a combination of perseverance and passion), believes that this quality can be cultivated regardless of innate talent or intelligence. An MIT study recently tested this theory, and found that a 12-month workforce training program focused on improving communication, problem-solving and decision-making, time and stress management, financial literacy, legal literacy and social entitlements, and execution excellence significantly impacted productivity. The program delivered a 250% return on investment (ROI) within eight months of completion, with much of the gain being attributed to a jump in productivity.
Whilst this study is very encouraging, it’s often difficult to get employees to sign up for non-technical courses that do not have an immediate impact on their career. This concern is much more relevant in the current times when remote work is the norm. This is why we have a special focus on soft skills like critical thinking and emotional intelligence when designing Elite’s individual learning path. Elite gives you the flexibility to design learning programs that focus on technical skills as well as soft skills. As softs skills are seamlessly woven into individuals’ career maps, they are more likely to include them into the efforts taken to reach their career goal.
Leaders who want to forge ahead and thrive in the new norm must take positive steps towards encouraging meaningful learning in their workforce.
Revamping employability with a futuristic perspective is the key.
“Employability depends less on what you already know and more on how well you can learn, apply and adapt.” – Mara Swan, Executive Vice President, Manpower Group
In this world of constant change, organizational durability is highly dependent on the workers’ short-term and long-term resilience. Hence, it is crucial for organizations to equip their workers with skills such as creativity, leadership, and critical thinking, in addition to upgrading their technical skills.
Is ‘reskilling’ the answer? Disruptive forces like advances in AI, cognitive computing, and automation are slowly starting to rule the business and skills environment. Reskilling is not sufficient; the need of the hour is worker reinvention. Workers who can renew existing skills and develop new skills are the ones who will triumphantly ride the wave of changes at their workplaces. Likewise, organizations that mould their employees into a resilient workforce become sought-after employers.
Identifying the readiness gap is a big step in workforce development. Very few organizations take the steps needed to transform their workforce. According to a recent Deloitte article, 74% of organizations believe that workforce reskilling is important for achieving success in the next 12-18 months, but only 10% of them are ready to act on this information. This issue majorly arises due to a lack of insights. Over 50% of organizations stated that they were not sure whether their workforce was ready to meet their new demands, and 38% stated that their greatest barrier was identifying the needs and priorities of their workforce for development. But even if organisations have adequate insights, the investment needed in skilling becomes a huge barrier.
Further, organizations are facing pressure from the expectations of their own workforces. The 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte showed that 73% of workers identified organizations as the primary social entity responsible for updating their skills and capabilities (the respondents were allowed to select up to two options). Out of the other respondents, 54% considered it their own individual responsibility, 19% felt it is the responsibility of educational institutions, 10% felt that governments should own the task and another 8% laid responsibility at the door of professional associations and unions.
According to the 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte, 53% of organizations stated that nearly half of their workforce or entire workforce are required to evolve their skills and capabilities over the next three years. Navigating successfully through this enormous changing landscape efficiently is not an easy feat. The key winning strategy that emerges is to align organizations’ goals to individual interests and goals through on-the-job training.
This is exactly where our smart recommendation engine, Elite for Workplace, comes in. It lends a helping hand with a major saving of time and efforts required to search for appropriate skill training programs. The platform provides a personalised list of the most relevant courses that will significantly help empower individuals, thereby contributing to organizations’ overall goals. Elite provides a sustainable path for being resilient. No one knows what the future holds. But, that is no reason to stop planning!
We are at the epicentre of transformations both at a personal and organizational level. Organizations are focused on reinventing themselves to adapt and flourish in the new norm. Studies by industry experts like Deloitte, Mercer and Aon Hewitt have thrown the spotlight on learning and skilling as the main drivers for this transformation.
Deloitte’s recent study states, “A system that invests not just in workers’ near-term skill needs but also in workers’ long-term resilience can help build long-term organizational resilience in a world where the only constant is change.”
According to a recent Mercer Study, “Most companies (85%) expect the technological transformation to continue as a primary business disruptor.”
A recent McKinsey article says, “Amid crisis disruption or when preparing for the next normal, quickly delivering practical flexible learning can help shape a business’ recovery profile”.
So, in a nutshell, industry leaders opine that employee development is crucial to building a resilient organization poised for growth despite changes. What is needed is the right medium to bring about this transformation.
What are the hurdles to a successful L&D program?
Deloitte’s Modern Learner of the pre-COVID era depicts a harried and hassled individual who’s struggling under a deluge of information with not enough time to absorb anything of value. Here’s a depiction of the classic overwhelmed, overworked 21st-century learner.
The COVID-19 crisis has now added health and livelihood concerns to this mix.
How do you structure an L&D program that can rise above this cacophony and be heard?
You’ll have your employees on board and raring to go once you’ve addressed this very simple question. It’s a question that most individuals are likely to ask when presented with a skilling and training program.
“I get that this program is for the company’s overall success, but what’s in it for me?
Elite’s career path recommendation engine is your answer to this question. Each individual’s learning path is set to achieve his personalized career goal. Elite presents the learner with multiple career paths based on his current skill set and interests. Once the learner fixes on a career path, the journey is broken down into biteable portions or skills. The learner is not overwhelmed with information. The individual is encouraged to complete the journey one skill at a time. Learning is made more personal as the individual can choose to learn what he wants to, when he wants to. He can even choose from thousands of learning resources – podcasts, webinars, articles, courses and videos.
Elite has been built on the philosophy that humans respond better when they are presented with an achievable and tangible goal.
Most great inventions have been the result of someone asking questions.
The questions could be intended or unintended, like what happened with Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin. If Fleming had just thrown away the spoiled petri dish without asking the question of why the staphylococcus colonies did not grow near the mold that had contaminated the petri dish, we would not have antibiotics to treat our myriad illnesses. The key is to ask relevant questions and strive to find answers.
The Get Me A Course team’s endeavour to develop Elite has been a journey riddled with questions and answers. In Rohan Krishna’s own words, “Every time we tried to find a solution to a learner’s problem, we discovered something new. Our primary focus has always been the learner and all of our products have been just a means to enhance learner experience”
We started out with a simple question that was plaguing us,
“We have so many tools that allow us to compare and buy flight tickets and groceries online. Why not have something similar that will let learners find courses and learn easily?” This led to Get Me A Course – the world’s largest course aggregator. But we were not satisfied. An independent survey of 10,000 youngsters working in various fields revealed that most of them did not know where they wanted to be in 5 years. When 5000 college students were asked the same question, most of them came back with very definitive answers!
This strange divide made us ask another set of questions.
- What happened to these youngsters from the time they were in college to when they got into jobs?
- Why did they lose focus?
- How do we motivate them and get them back on the track of learning and fulfilling their goals?
We realised that humans learn better when they are focused on a goal – an achievable goal.
Our AI-driven career map engine was conceptualized as a result of this. The usage analysis of the platform revealed that users spend quite a bit of time on the career map. We now wanted to develop a method that would tie the members’ learning to their interests and goals.
This led to another question. Does the average learner have the time to spend on a 15-20 day course?
We realised that smaller nuggets of information in the form of videos and podcasts would help learners who did not have the time to spend on structured courses. We also realised that a person’s capability should be measured on their knowledge and not on certificates. This resulted in our reimagining a learning model where the learner could gain a skill through unconventional learning resources like videos and podcasts too. The skill could also be validated through peer reviews or our own internal review mechanisms.
Thus Elite was born out of this continuous striving for motivation for learners to reach their full potential.
This journey of discovery is not over, we are in fact at the very beginning. Like Kurt Vonnegut said, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Studies and surveys indicate that most workplaces have NOT tapped into the full power of their workforce’s potential. A recent Gallup survey of organizations around the world places employee engagement at a meagre 15%. Imagine what we could accomplish if we could tap into the 85% that’s hibernating.
So, why does employee engagement matter?
In simple terms employee engagement is one of the main pillars of an organization’s success. Here are some numbers that tell a clear story.
So does this mean that employee engagement is good to have but not having it causes no real harm? On the contrary, low employee engagement can cost the organization hard cash. A study on workplace engagement in the US revealed that low employee engagement costs USD 450-500 billion each year. Ignoring these numbers is like trying to build your business on quick sand.
What is employee engagement?
It’s an abstract concept that could mean different things to different people. Here’s a look at what some experts and leading research companies think employee engagement is.
According to Aon Hewitt it is “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization.”
Gallup defines engaged employees as, “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”
According to Quantum Workplace, employee engagement is “the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work”.
All of these definitions have one thing in common. It’s all about the employees’ emotional response and commitment to their workplace.
What triggers higher employee engagement?
There are many factors that contribute to employee engagement and I will not try to simplify its complexity by stating that I have all the answers. I will however not pass up the opportunity to draw your attention to a certain human behaviour that was highlighted during the recent COVID crisis. Catastrophes, after all, magnify and illuminate human behaviour like nothing else.
The recent COVID 19 crisis underscored the enormous untapped human potential available when people understand the end goal that their job is accomplishing. We’ve seen some consumer product companies and textile firms triple their output when they pivoted to produce sanitizers and masks.
Employees need to feel that their future and well being is intricately connected to the organization. The relationship between staff and management should have a personal feel, ideally that of a mentor and mentee.
Josh Bersin’s depiction of the 21st-century management style says it all. The organisation should be perceived as being invested in the individual’s interests and personal goals. Personalized learning programs that are aligned to the employee’s long term career goals reflect this perception. .
Backed by this belief we spent our energies to perfect Elite’s career path engine. With Elite each employee can be put on a personalized learning path aligned to their career goal. The easy-to-navigate path is broken down into skills that can be acquired through thousands of learning resources available to them at any time through their personal login.
Moreover, employees’ learning can also be aligned with the organization’s long term goal. This gives the employee the gratification of working towards a greater goal.
When an organisation invests in the personal growth of an employee, it definitely pays off.
Learning is not all about success in your career. While that is important, it is equally important to have a fulfilling life. And, what is most important for that? You guessed it – happiness. Do you want to be happy? Of course, you do! Who doesn’t? And in these times when everything (well, almost!) is available online, happiness is too. To be more specific, you can learn to be happy by using resources found online. Let us tell you about a few courses that can bring in loads of sunshine into your life.
The Science of Well-Being: Yale University
This course makes you work through a series of challenges that will put you on a path of well-being. The skills you will gain from this course are mostly intangible. You will soon count among your abilities, gratitude, mindfulness, and an ability to savour experiences and even things. Not all results from this course are intangible. The course curriculum aims to ensure that you eventually incorporate a specific wellness activity into your regular routine.
The Science of Happiness: Berkeley, University of California
This course is among the first MOOCs that offered to teach students positive psychology. The curriculum is structured in such a way that you will effortlessly imbibe science-based principles and practices which will help you raise the happiness quotient in your life. The course has been created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. The course is interesting as it uses a lot of cross-disciplinary research spanning fields such as psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and others.
A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment: Indian School of Business
This course is taught by Prof. Rajagopal Raghunathan ((aka “Dr. Happy-smarts”), a professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, and a visiting professor at the Indian School of Business. This course takes you through seven well-structured steps to reach your goal of happiness.
The course is based on the award-winning class taught by Prof Raghunathan at the Indian School of Business and at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Content for the course is drawn from various fields such as psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural decision theory.
The Year of Happy : The Positive Psychlopedia
This is a free email course that walks its participants through one major theme of happiness every month. Weekly emails with theme-based videos, readings, discussions, among other things are sent to participants. Gratitude, optimism, mindfulness, kindness, relationships, flow, goals, work, savoring, resilience, body, meaning, and spirituality will soon cease to be just words. All these concepts will become a part of your personality if you do all that the course instructors tell you to. 1-2 hours per week should do the trick.
So you now know that you can learn how to increase your happiness and also build habits that will make you more productive than you are currently.
And the certification for these skills will come to you from a source that will be brutally honest (if you let it be!) – your own self. And what’s more, this ‘certification’ can be revisited at any time by just looking within yourself! And if you find yourself wanting, you know what to do and where to get support.
Some of these courses do offer actual certification too! Check these and more such courses out at Get Me A Course.
The imbalance between our ideals and our way of living has put sustainable development on the line. With this thought in mind, the United Nations General Assembly drafted 17 global goals in 2015 intending to achieve them by 2030. These goals are known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals aim to achieve no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, and gender equality, among others.
As a result of this resolution by the UN General Assembly, nations all over the world have started taking global initiatives for sustainable development. But how do we assess the progress made by the countries, if any? So, June 2018 saw the birth of the online publication SDG-Tracker. Based at the University of Oxford and on the Our World in Data database, the SDG-Tracker monitors the progress made by the nations.
The UN has resolved to sustain our present to ensure a future.
Some global law initiatives for sustainable development are as follows:
- The NITI Aayog, established by the Government of India, is a step in the direction of sustainable development. March of 2018 also saw Haryana becoming the first state of India with its annual budget focused on SDGs.
- To monitor and make progress towards the SDGs, Bangladesh publishes the Development Mirror.
- The Baltic 2030 Action Plan is the result of the global law initiatives for sustainable development of the Baltic nations, via the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
- Bhutan has taken a holistic approach towards attaining the SDGs. It is currently in pursuit of Gross National Happiness (GNH) which has its goals aligned with those of SDGs.
Some of the independent global initiatives for sustainable development are as follows:
- Independent campaigns such as “Project Everyone” are also a part of the global efforts for pursuing the SDGs. This campaign has received support from the UN Agencies, which are a part of the United Nations Development Group.
- The “Le Temps Presse” festival in Paris uses cinematography as its medium to spread awareness about the SDGs.
Educating people about the SDGs will help provide nations with the tools to achieve them. Some of the free online courses that teach people about global initiatives for sustainable development are as follows:
- ‘The challenges of global poverty’ course provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..
- The ‘Organic farming for sustainable agricultural production’ course offered by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and NPTEL is available on Swayam.
- ‘An introduction to global Health’ course by the University of Copenhagen.
- ‘The best start in life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable development’ offered by SDG Academy.
- The ‘Understanding Violence Against Women: Myths and Realities’ offered by the University of Strathclyde.
The list of courses is not exhaustive, and neither are our responsibilities to attain the SDGs. It is high time we understand the predicament we are in, and take the necessary remedial steps.
MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) made an appearance in the last decade. They started out as free offerings on online portals. They caught the imagination of learners and trainers worldwide and now they are here to stay. However, it is not as if they do not have their share of challenges and problems. They do. Resources are one of the main concerns. Nothing can be kept free for long.
In the year 2011-2012, MOOCs platforms like Udacity, Coursera, and edX began to attract large investors, hoping to generate cash and publicity on the ever-expanding student population. Many of these MOOC companies started to seek connections with higher educational institutions.
The issues faced by majority MOOCs:
- Low Completion Rates: The typical student enrollment size can range anywhere from 10 to 180k per course. 180k being the extreme high-end while 50k students are registered on average. One of the biggest problems of MOOCs is their completion rates. Only about 10% of the students enrolled in MOOCs are likely to finish a course! The low completion rate signals that most of the MOOC institutions are having a problem with continued student engagement and less clarity in course content.
- Lack of one on one teaching and interaction: In a class of 50 thousand students, there aren’t too many chances to get a face-to-face interaction with your professor, as you might in a regular college or university. Hence the student is left unguided at times. These leave numerous students frustrated, searching for the answers.
- Integrity (Cheating): The lack of one interaction and less clarity in course content can lead to an absence of personal attention via teachers hence leading to a situation where core values such as honesty do not get communicated to students.
- No Accreditation: MOOC courses often lack credibility due to lack of accreditation.
- Intellectual Property Issues: Many MOOC companies have also raised concerns over intellectual ownership of the content uploaded to their sites.
Even though MOOCs have plenty of issues, this technology helps deliver education to deserving learners in the parts of the world who could not otherwise afford to gain access to the top universities in their respective regions.
With the help of technology, the world is rapidly progressing towards digitalization. The learning and teaching process has also evolved. E-learning arrived on the scene and has carved out a firm niche for itself on the learning landscape.
One can complete a course or degree online. E-learning portals are available on the web in many forms. Apps, websites and learning portals are a few of the ways through which e-learning can be distributed/ accessed. And all these platforms are great for videos. And as visuals aid learning to a large extent, it is no surprise that videos are a major component of e-learning courses.
Videos are favored by e-learning course creators for several reasons. It is easier to watch a video than read many pages. You can pause or play the video according to your comfort. Short duration videos cover only one or two concepts and are easy to understand. It is quite simple to replay the video lecture if there is a need for recapitulation of ideas.
Are videos the only way to learn effectively?
E-learning consists of but is not restricted to educational and explanatory videos. Quizzes, Q&As, and study materials, are all important components of an e-learning course, in addition to videos.
It is important to understand and accept that videos, by themselves, do not result in learning. Just watching a video is no guarantee of learning. It is important for students to engage with ideas and problems in various ways in order to understand a concept. ‘Digesting’ learning material is very essential.
It is important for MOOC creators to remember that lecture videos are prone to the same pitfalls as regular lectures. Too much of droning on and students are quite likely to tune out.
Hence e-learning courses should a good mix of various kinds of learning methods. Some overlap of content is fine. It will only reinforce the parts that get repeated.
Check out GMAC to find a course to suit your learning needs.
Learning, in today’s world, has become an evolving process. With so many changes happening daily, it is necessary to keep up with the latest techniques to understand new things. The teacher plays a crucial part in making an entire generation educated.
Now, the teachers must utilize effective methods of teaching like pedagogy, heutagogy, etc. to ensure proper learning.
Pedagogy, the art of teaching children, gives the teacher the responsibility to make choices related to the learning theories. Hence, this is considered as a teacher-directed instruction. This should be planned intelligently, keeping in mind the mental capacity of students, the curriculum’s requirement, the time allotted, and the resources provided.
Furthermore, teachers should engage in proper heutagogy methods. Heutagogy relates to challenging traditional methods of teaching. The goal is to create an atmosphere wherein students can set their aims and learning techniques to ensure the attainment of these aims.
It is essential that the method of teaching changes with time. It should be well-adjusted to fit the students and not the other way around. There are many kinds of theories available related to learning and education.
The A.G.E.S model is one of the most popular ones and it works wonders for adult learning. A.G.E.S is short for Attention, Generation, Emotion, and Spacing.
- Attention- The pedagogy style you pick should engage your students. Students should feel comfortable and stimulated at the same time. The teaching method employed should be able to hold their attention for a good period.
- Generation- The learning theories you choose to follow should help students understand better. They should be able to create images in their mind and relate it to what you teach them. To help them use multiple senses, you may use audios, videos, or presentations. This helps them retain information for longer durations, and learn to connect-the-dots.
- Emotions- If they associate an emotion with a topic, they’ll learn faster. Teachers can encourage positive emotions among students. Moreover, encouraging healthy competition helps students to do their best.
- Spacing- Dropping information on students is improper. There should be proper spacing in giving the knowledge to help them understand and retain topics. When students are made to learn too much in less time, it becomes a problem. Thus, it’s best to ensure spacing while teaching.
A.G.E.S was developed through neuroscience and is a successful method. This four-step model can change the way we teach and the way students learn. No wonder focusing on the right pedagogy is the need of the hour. A.G.E.S makes teaching easier and learning fun.
Students, whatever their age, are impressionable and their learning will stay with them forever. We need to make an effort to give them the best experience.