Back To School: The Age Of Continuous Learning

Learning is a never-ending venture which starts in the cradle and continues the entire lifetime.

Albert Einstein once said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” These words have always inspired me to never stop learning. And, as we stand today amidst the global pandemic, this quote becomes even more pertinent. Learning is not confined to reading some dry books, pass an examination and attain a credential. It is a never-ending venture which starts in the cradle and continues the entire lifetime.  

We are living in the age of continuous learning where an individual is expected to upskill herself at least 6 times in her career span. The pace at which businesses are evolving is fast-paced and to get or retain the job, one needs to equip themselves with the right skills set. Online skill development programs ensure contextual based learning by providing industry exposure through industry use cases, simulations, industry-driven projects, master classes by industry experts, which will make the learning interesting and fun and help them develop a skill gradually over the time.  

Why upskilling is gaining prominence? 

The fourth industrial revolution coupled with Covid -19, has posed a daunting yet a significant challenge to the corporate world – an unprecedented digitalization of businesses, regardless of their present-day capabilities. Concept of virtual teams had been gaining currency in the run-up to the crisis; the onset of the global pandemic and shift in the use of videoconferencing has unleashed the future of work as remote, where possible. Regardless of the sector, Indian companies have leapfrogged the use of AI, Machine Learning to adapt to the changing environment. As technologies and business continue to evolve rapidly, employees need to accelerate their upskilling to thrive and grow.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are drastically modernising business processes.  A World Economic Forum report indicates that about five million occupations will cease to exist by 2030, as artificial intelligence and robotics replace human involvement. Moreover, there is mounting evidence of considerable skills shortage in the MENA region, and almost 40% of employers in the region claim that skill deficit is a major obstacle to business development. According to ManpowerGroup's 2019 Skills Revolution 4.0 report, the talent gap is at a 12-year high. 

In hindsight, emerging technology, advances and innovations have contributed to an increase in demand for a skilled and job-ready workforce who can combine STEM skills with core domain knowledge, integrate business context using analytical tools to quickly adapt to business strategies, to provide data-driven insights to business in the concurrent market conditions. 

Investing in blended, online learning 

Trends indicate that a barrier to professional upskilling is taking time off from full-time jobs to pursue full-time professional courses or formal education, especially during the current economic uncertainties. Another factor in play for professionals is being able to pre-empt the skills required to stay relevant.  

Fortunately, the surge in adoption of online and blended learning has provided both employees and employers a platform to bridge the skills gap with job role mapped, professional certification programmes. Online learning not only facilitates learners with the comfort of scheduling the learning at his/her own pace but, let the learner tailor their programmes as per their and industry needs. There is a significant breakthrough in upskilling where AI is being used as a sorting hat to suggest career tracks and skilling paths as per their interest and performance. 

The idea of education has transitioned from a mere college degree to real-life industry skills, especially through digital courses. The learning industry itself is on the threshold of transformation to cater to the two large demographics: the future workforce as well as the existing workforce. This transitioning phase requires a robust foundation of an aligned learning ecosystem to foster new-age skills and an everyday innovation mindset which can be achieved through bridge education solution offered by online learning.

- The article is authored by Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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Continuous Learning online learning Blended Learning

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