Every workplace can be a place of lifelong learning


While companies across all industries have been working on a digital transformation for several years, covid-19 has accelerated this shift across all industries. New technologies are advancing at a rate that requires employers to continually retrain their workforce to stay up to date. Organizations must become places of learning if they are to prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

Joe Schaefer is Director of Transformation at Strategic Education.

The World Economic Forum published an estimate suggesting that technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) could displace 75 million jobs by 2022 but could also create 133 million new roles, and a study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value predicted up to 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies, it may be necessary to retrain over the next three years due to a growing shift towards automation and AI. This ladder of retraining and workforce preparation requires a fundamental paradigm shift. For employers to thrive in this new digital arena and stay ahead of their competition, they need to invest in the continuing education of their employees. In turn, employees should be encouraged and willing to continue learning in order to progress on the job.

As employers begin to recognize their role in retraining and developing employees, they are not qualified educators. For the workplace to successfully double as a place of higher education, employers will need to build strong partnerships with higher education providers that offer flexible curricula and incorporate innovative technologies to help these working mature students. to take the next step in their career.

Here are three technologies that we believe contribute to the success of busy adult learners:

Virtual assistants. Time is a precious resource for those who work and learn. Students who are working do not have time to be put on hold or referred to support staff to find answers to their administrative questions.

Virtual assistants in online higher education can help students with a variety of areas, from their admissions processes to class updates to assignment deadlines. They should also be designed to record interactions, create insights, capture insights, and deliver a more personalized experience every time students engage.

Many of us have learned to rely on virtual assistants, such as Alexa or Google Home, to save us time and make our lives easier. Expanding their use to facilitate lifelong learning makes perfect sense.

Predictive analyzes. Predictive analytics is a powerful tool to help anticipate a student’s success in a course by leveraging the interplay between machine learning, AI, and other technologies to help adult learners persevere . It allows higher education institutions to identify a learner who is struggling to complete their assignments and may be at risk of dropping out of a program so that counselors, faculty and other support systems can intervene early with individual support for the student. For employers partnering with higher education institutions, this is a powerful tool to ensure their employees are on track to complete a program they have invested in.

These relatively simple nudges are important. Life can, and often does, hamper the education of working adults, who may juggle family or other priorities at home, so reminders and offers of support go a long way in helping a student achieve their educational goals. education.

Gamification techniques. Gamification places game mechanics, such as point systems and tracking, achievement levels, rewards and prizes, in non-gaming situations. This is already part of our daily lives, in many industries. , such as fitness class rankings and airline loyalty programs. Studies have shown that gaming strategy motivates consistent participation and long-term engagement among users. For example, a study in finland found that a simple gamification strategy of issuing badges to students in a post-secondary computer science course had a positive impact – a majority of students said trying to get badges increased their motivation.

Higher education needs to adopt and invest in gamification technology to help promote good student behaviors and boost learning success.

Online learning can make student engagement difficult. Even before the pandemic hit and all courses went live, online education came under scrutiny for its failure to keep students engaged and on track. Add these challenges to the additional responsibilities of adult learners, such as work and childcare, and engagement becomes even more difficult. Gamification is a way to help motivate adult learners and instill a sense of responsibility and commitment, and it makes a great foray into online learning for students new to this type of teaching, those who are new to online learning. helping them feel more comfortable doing homework online and getting them to do necessary tasks such as reading a program or logging into message boards.

Use technology to manage your training and benefits

If your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement programs as a benefit, they likely have some sort of education management platform to handle back-end operations such as disbursement. benefits and program verification. But these platforms can often be clunky, with employers maneuvering between multiple interfaces to get information about an employee’s progress and education expenses, and employees determining which programs are covered by their expense assistance benefits. of schooling. In partnership with institutions that offer simple and easy-to-use platforms, such as Labor advantagebecause tuition assistance programs can help encourage employees to take advantage of tuition benefits and allow employers to better track their return on investment in these programs.

Work, a place of higher education

As with any technology, it is very important to keep the end user in mind. The busy, working adult is not the same as the 18-year-old who just graduated from high school and is ready to spend four years on campus. Training and retraining programs for adult workers must be flexible, accessible and engaging. With the right technological and educational partner, every employer can become a place of higher education, helping their employees achieve professional and economic mobility while staying one step ahead of their competitors with a highly skilled workforce.

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This content was produced by Strategic Education. It was not written by the editorial team of the MIT Technology Review.



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