Every workplace can be a place of continuous learning

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MIT Technology Review

While companies in all sectors have been working towards digital transformation in recent years, Covid-19 has accelerated this change in all industries. New technology is advancing at a pace that requires employers to continually retrain their employees to stay up to date. Organizations must become places of learning if they are to prepare workers for the jobs of the future.

Joe Schaefer is Chief Transformation Officer at Strategic Education.

The World Economic Forum released 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 the IBM Institute for Business Value predicts up to 120 million workers The world’s 12 largest economies may need retraining in the next three years as automation and AI increasingly shift and adopt. This level of retraining and preparation of the workforce requires a fundamental paradigm shift. In order for employers to be successful in this new digital area and to be one step ahead of the competition, they must invest in the further training of their employees. In return, employees need to be encouraged and willing to continue their education in order to move forward at work.

While employers are beginning to see their role in retraining and upgrading workers, they are not trained educators. For the workplace to serve as a successful higher education venue, employers need to build strong partnerships with higher education providers who offer flexible programs and incorporate innovative technology to support these working adult students in their next career move.

Here are three technologies that we have found to help busy, adult learners succeed:

Virtual assistants. Time is a precious resource for those who work and study. Working students don’t have time to stand on hold or hand over to employees to find answers to their administrative questions.

Online college virtual assistants can assist students in a variety of areas, from their admissions process to class updates to assignments deadlines. They should be designed to also record interactions, gain insights, capture analysis, and provide a more personalized experience every time students engage with it.

Many of us rely on virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Home to save time and make our lives easier. It makes a lot of sense to expand their use to facilitate continuous learning.

Predictive analytics. Predictive Analytics is a powerful tool for anticipating a student’s success on a course by leveraging the interplay between machine learning, AI, and other technologies to help adult learners persevere. It enables colleges to identify a learner who is having difficulty completing assignments and potentially at risk of dropping out of a program so that counselors, professors, and other support systems can intervene early with individualized support for the student. For employers working with higher education providers, this is a powerful tool for ensuring that their employees are completing a program they have invested in.

These relatively simple nudges are important. Life can and often does get in the way of working adults juggling a family or other priorities at home. Reminders and offers of support therefore play a key role in helping students achieve their educational goals.

Gamification Techniques. Gamification places game mechanics – such as scoring systems and tracking, performance levels, awards, and prizes – in non-game situations. It is already part of our daily life in many industries, such as B. Fitness class leaderboards and airline frequent flyer programs. Studies have shown that a game strategy motivates users to participate consistently and to show long-term commitment. For example, a study from Finland found that a simple gamification strategy of awarding badges to students on a post-secondary computer science course had positive effects – a majority of students said that trying to achieve badges increased their motivation.

Higher education must embrace and invest in gamification technologies in order to encourage good student behavior and increase learning outcomes.

Online learning can make student engagement difficult. Even before the pandemic broke out and all coursework was relocated online, online classes were being screened for their inability to keep students busy and on track. Add these challenges on top of the additional responsibilities for adult learners, such as: B. Working and caring for children, and engagement becomes even more difficult. Gamification is a way to motivate adult learners and instill a sense of responsibility and commitment, and it’s a great foray into online learning for students who are new to this type of class, helping them complete assignments online Get Them Done And Engage Them Do necessary tasks like reading a curriculum or signing up for message boards.

Use technology to manage your training and services

If your employer offers student grants or reimbursement programs as a perk, they likely have some sort of education management platform in place to manage the back-end operations like benefit payouts and program review. However, these platforms can often be clunky as employers switch between multiple interfaces to get information about an employee’s educational progress and expenses, and employees find out which programs are covered by their student grant benefits. Working with institutions that offer simple, easy-to-use platforms like Workforce Edge for study support programs can help encourage employees to take up the coursework and make it easier for employers to better track their return on investment in these programs.

Work, a place of higher education

As with any technology, the most important thing to keep in mind is the end user. 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 should be flexible, accessible and engaging. With the right technology and education partners, every employer can become a place of higher education that helps its employees achieve professional and economic mobility while staying one step ahead of the competition with a highly qualified workforce.

More information is available at www.workforceedge.com.

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

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