How Corporate Training Programs Set Up Lifelong Learners For Success
Technology and automation advancements are quickly changing the types of roles companies need to hire for and the skills required to fill those roles. As this shift occurs, both employees and organizations are becoming increasingly aware that they will need to set new expectations for what a typical career path might look like.
It is projected that those entering the workforce today will pursue four or five different careers, not just different roles over their lifetime, and employees are acknowledging that learning will be a lifelong process as a result. According to a Pew Research Center survey, “The State of American Jobs,” 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.
At the same time, companies also recognize the need to enhance learning programs of the past to facilitate new skill development in a more dynamic work environment. As career paths become less linear and more complex, 56% of companies have redesigned or are planning to redesign their career model to ensure roles are defined to help close potential skill gaps.
Lifelong learning represents the new norm
This trend is not new, as 73% of adults already consider themselves lifelong learners and that number will surely grow over the next few years as workforce trends continue to evolve, demanding new skills for new roles. Lifelong learners report seeking out learning activities to help them feel more well-rounded, to improve job skills, and to advance them in their careers, but feel their employers aren’t on the same page. Nearly 60% of respondents of Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report agreed that their companies are not giving them enough opportunities to develop.
How can organizations re-architect corporate learning to ensure lifelong learners are set up for success? Here are a few tips to consider:
- Upskill employees to prepare the workforce for technology integration:
Upskilling or retraining employees is gaining popularity. Notably, AT&T created the Workforce 2020 Initiative to subsequently help upskill nearly 100,000 current employees whose jobs would be irrelevant in ten years. While upskilling entire workforces will not be a feasible or easy adjustment for all organizations, it’s important to understand that the dramatic belief that artificial intelligence (AI) will eliminate all jobs, is not true. According to Gartner, AI will actually create more jobs than it eliminates, particularly in healthcare, the public sector, and in education. Training employees on how to manage and build these AI tools will be crucial.
- Offer access to credentialing opportunities to help learners achieve their highest potential:
Many industry boards and associations require continuing professional education requirements today. Experts believe alternative credentialing mechanisms will emerge to help learners demonstrate proven skill sets along the way as they aspire to grow, without heading back to a formal classroom. There is a growing interest for organizations to accept competency-based credentials to serve as a reflection of a candidate's skill or expertise. Quick and efficient access to acquire these skills through online courses or other non-traditional education environments could have a huge impact on a student's motivation to attend college and attain traditional degrees.
- Expand the digital classroom:
Lifelong learners, like most learners today, demand access. Online courses will continue to expand and accelerate the ways in which information is sought and taught. Today the MOOCs landscape already includes 9,400 courses, 500+ MOOC-based credentials, and more than a dozen graduate degrees. With advancements in augmented and virtual reality, digital learning will be even more accessible and attractive for learners. However as learning migrates online, ensuring learners get the most out of their digital learning experiences should be considered through a balanced, blended learning approach.
Lifelong learners understand the direct correlation between education and employment and are paving the way for how learning can lead to success. As the workforce continues to evolve and organizations establish what their future workforce looks like, they could learn a thing or two from lifelong learners and their determination to adapt and stay relevant based on changing needs. Identifying and retaining employees who possess lifelong learner characteristics can ensure your workforce stays adaptable, highly skilled, satisfied, and agile in an ever-changing market.
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