Beth Porter, President, COO, Co-founder, Esme Learning

As proliferating technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and other augmentation tech become more accessible and readily available, there is growing pressure for organisations - and those leading them - to better understand how these new tools can be utilised. As it stands, I would argue that most organisations have not yet figured out how to acquire and use these tools effectively, particularly when it comes to data management, at the beginning of the process, and human-AI tech solutions, as a desired result. Half of the challenge is changing mindsets at a leadership level; the other half is training employees in new hard and soft skills that will help them evolve with the technologies.

Indeed, in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and cybersecurity, it is becoming ever crucial for working professionals to understand the latest tech trends that could affect both their sector and their employment. The most common complaint around AI from workers, for example, is that it may “steal your job” in the future. However, that won’t apply to workers who upskill now for the future of work. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that half of all employees globally need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new responsibilities driven by automation and new technologies.

It’s hugely profitable for businesses to invest in reskilling their employees, making the case for reskilling increasingly difficult for businesses to ignore. According to recent McKinsey research, 43% of all reskilling cases were found to yield payoffs in large enterprises and, in a further 30% of reskilling cases, small and medium-sized enterprises were found to receive a net benefit from upskilling their workers.

Higher education leaders must take action to ensure they provide executive education learners and instructors the right tools for a successful online learning experience.

Emerging technologies and a growing skills divide

At present, however, a skills divide is not only emerging, but growing. Take data, for example – now considered to be the lifeblood of today’s economy. Data literacy is essential to success if we are all to benefit from the increasingly data-rich environments that we live and work in.

However, in the UK, 48% of businesses are recruiting for roles that require hard data skills, and yet almost half (46%) have struggled to find talent over the last two years. The supply of talent with specialist data skills from universities is limited. While many companies will strive to train their own workers, there is still a lack of confidence in their ability to do so. Half of all workers surveyed reported they had not received any training within the last two years despite stating considerable interest in it.

This shortage of skills and expertise is concerning to leadership and executives. Just 16% of executives believe that their teams can deliver on their digital strategy. A re-think is clearly needed.

Executive education to support the workforce of the future

A skills gap of this magnitude is not easy to close. While it will require an array of approaches - including improved recruitment practices to proper upskilling and reskilling - I see edtech platforms as an unsung hero. Working together with higher education institutions and businesses, edtech can and will play a pivotal role in bridging the skill gaps within the workforce.

However, as with any emerging technology, nascent problems need to be addressed. Firstly, the sector needs to provide courses that focus on optimising learning online for greater student engagement. The global e-learning market is expected to reach $457.8 billion by 2026, yet most online courses haven’t evolved past pre-recorded and generalized lectures, static web pages, and basic multiple choice tests, which leads to incredibly low course completion rates. For comparison, most learning platforms have varying completion rates that hover anywhere between 30-70%.

The secret to higher completion rates is to ensure the online classroom environment is as engaging and collaborative as it is in an in person environment. Historically, this has been exceptionally difficult to do as most online platforms prioritise flashy user interfaces versus substantive course material, including technologies helping to ensure learner engagement and knowledge retention of the material.

For example, the digital learning platform I co-founded, Esme Learning, uses artificial intelligence embedded in video chat meetings and text chat environments to provide real-time individual and group feedback about social skills and team cohesion. This offers a holistic view of how learners interact in small groups through data. This also provides learners with interpersonal feedback around their situational and social awareness.

Finally, many edtech platforms deliver courses that lack the standards held within physical classrooms, ultimately leading to subpar education. The most impactful learning experiences are highly applicable, entertaining, and delivered with empathy – with genuine connections made among learners and their instructors.

What’s next?

While we cannot allow the skills gap to widen, we must also acknowledge the scale of the challenge ahead. There is no quick remedy; instead companies, educators and technologists within edtech must collaborate and invest in reskilling their workforces. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, arguably brought forward faster by the COVID-19 pandemic, closing the skills gap should be every leader’s priority.

Beth Porter, President, COO, Co-founder, Esme Learning

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page