I attended the 2021 Education Summit last week where I had the pleasure of listening to Yuval Noah Harari and Michelle Obama. One of the key topics was the need for continuous education and the evolution of shorts courses and micro credentials.
Ever since I have studied for my A-Levels, I have always questioned the lengthy process of education and compared it to the consistently changing environments we are all involved in. The Education Summit interestingly outlined how the ‘currency’ of education will change from a degree-based education to a portfolio of education.
The Summit outlined that short courses and micro credentials will be stackable, forming an individual’s unique portfolio of education. This makes you wonder what will happen to university degrees, will fewer people commit to the duration of a degree, will degrees be split into smaller offerings? The British Council say by 2030, Universities will place an emphasis on flexibility by offering a tailored education approach. If Universities do not embrace these trends and changes and stick to the current ways, they will be left behind completely.
Looking beyond University and from an employer’s point of view, there are various benefits of this approach to education. Employees can get a tailored education approach and gain the necessary qualifications for the organisation they are in, without investing in multiple years of learning. A wide range of skills alongside the availability of quicker micro-learning, enhances an organisation’s agility to adapt to an elastic environment, something all organisations had to do in March 2020. Employees engaged in continuous learning in relevant skills will help an organisation respond to new trends and developments, influencing competitiveness and market share.
The World Economic Forum’s research outlined UK business leader’s three main priorities when it comes to reskilling/upskilling employees:
1. Analytical skills
2. Leadership and social influence
3. Active learning and learning strategies
These three skill categories are the most frequently identified across businesses in the UK, with most reskilling needs either taking over a year or less than one month. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, new skills have become high in demand, with organisations looking to accelerate the adoption of digital processes and ways of working. Creativity, complex problem solving, and emotional intelligence are emerging as desired skills by employers. This makes you wonder, what skills will be demand in 10 years? Will our employability be dependent on our ability to use AI for example?
Finally, it will be interesting to see what this does to the recruitment process in organisations. Will there be a focus on finding people who have a degree/education, or finding individuals who demonstrate acquisition of specific skills relevant to the job?