Human beings today need access to online courses delivered within a culture of learning to adapt to our evolving and increasingly complex scenery of work. We’re in a computational world now, witnessing the unprecedented rise of smart machines, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and automation.
Look at what’s taken place in the western world in the last seven years alone (2008-2015). It’s truly shocking on all fronts and in every format. Career paths look completely different, mainstream unemployment is at epic levels, and long-held definitions of corporate training have been thrown right out the window.
In fact, even physical workplaces are coalescing with the digital empire. The common “office” today is either a shared-space center in a commercial hub, at home, or on the bus or train using Wi-Fi and a PC …
We are in an era of 21st century drivers, novel forms of social intelligence, the demand for multi-disciplinary thinking, and cultural competencies that require a somewhat heavier cognitive load. Businesses large and small from Pan-Africa to Indianapolis are scrambling to adjust to this rapidly developing media ecology and the seemingly endless stream of disruptive “startups” flipping industries on their head.
The Dawn of Virtual and Augmented Reality
Thanks to machines and pioneering tech “business needs” are growing so fast their workforces are having a hard time keeping pace. The vast majority of Fortune 100/1000 companies already know that their teams aren’t adequately prepared.
What’s the most prolific advance soon to be unleashed upon workforce? True virtual and augmented reality. It’s going to change everything yet again and add layers of depth to corporate training, coaching, mentoring, social media, and eLearning:
- Imagine how people will collaborate online in 2016.
- Picture how dramatic the impact will be on human communication by 2018.
- Envision virtual whiteboarding or team meetings enhanced by augmented reality in 2020.
Corporate Training Has Transformed
The eLearning Revolution is in full swing and it’s a big part of the answer for both individual entrepreneurs, rag tag venture backed teams, and super-structured organizations. Consider these numbers from 2012:
- Over 1 billion people were taking a training course for both soft and hard skills.
- Corporate training investments scaled to $200 billion that year, $52 billion went towards online courses. That number is now well over $130 billion worldwide specifically for eLearning.
- 77% of US corporations were investing in online learning, leading the charge.
There’s still gargantuan amounts of expansion yet. While OpenSesame currently offers more than 20,000 corporate ecourses that’s a drop in the bucket. As outdated education models continue to breakdown, student loan bubbles burst, and the final legislative straws are broken which completely shift modern culture towards the eLearning environment these numbers will swell.
Check out this snippet from a recent Forbes article entitled, Spending on Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now A Priority, by Josh Bersin:
“And the skills challenge is huge. Recent research shows, for example, that the Oil and Gas industry needs 60,000 petrochemical engineers by 2016 yet only 1300 graduate from US schools each year. This means that oil companies have to train, retrain, and jointly educate a lot of energy engineers to grow.”
Over the next decade or so, these gaps will be filled through the eLearning revolution. Incoming students from “college” will already be accustomed to the web learning curves, online testing, self-teaching and development, leadership courses, etc. Let’s take a look at 5 soft and hard skills in fantastically high demand already.
For your convenience, each highlighted term in the following two sections is linked to relevant results within the OpenSesame ecourse database to give you a clearer picture of the current landscape.
Hard Skills eCourses Create Improved Productivity
- Software Proficiency: the entire gauntlet of established and newer software programs that are involved in countless areas of business, marketing, collaboration, development, data warehousing, cloud computing, ecommerce, etc.
- Information Technology: everything from programming, computer languages galore, and mobile app development, to project management, algorithms, recruitment, tech/customer support, etc.
- Engineering: robotics and automation, aerospace, petroleum and alternative energy, electrical, industrial, and basically the whole nine yards.
- Sales & Marketing: content marketing, information marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO)…all this is commonly summed up with the term Digital Marketing.
- Writing: emails, reports, reviews, training journals, copywriting, fundraising, PR, etc., and this includes research skills.
Consider the difference in price and ROI relative to a typical public or private university education. Here’s a revealing quote from another Forbes article entitled, The Critical Skills You Need To Succeed In The Job Market Of 2020, by J. Maureen Henderson. She interviewed Karen Siwak, Executive Director of Resume Confidential who said:
“I am seeing an increasing labor supply-demand disconnect in hard-skills areas such as electricians, plumbers, engineering technology, robotics, and I don’t see this ending any time soon. Part of the issue is that high school graduates aren’t being directed to these kinds of career paths, but many colleges have eliminated their hard-skills programs because they are too costly to deliver. They require investment in expensive labs and equipment, compared to softer skills programs that can be delivered via computers and part-time faculty,”
That was in 2012. The costs are going down while corporations are seeing higher productivity and employee satisfaction from hard skills courses. We’re transitioning from the degree economy to the skill-set economy and hard skills will continue to dominate for some time.
Soft Skills eCourses Make Better Learners
- Problem Solving: being a multi-skilled team player takes problem solving skills!
- Critical Thinking: we’re in an intellectually driven world where innovative conceptualization, the ability to spot problems, analyze data, get down to specifics, and process complex sets of information into action is required if humans are to compete.
- Design Mindset: web design, mobile design, PC design, software, green design, user-experience (UX), program design, etc.
- Time Management: in our brave new world where most workers have far more freedom and power over their time, this is one of those skills that’s dramatically increasing in importance.
- Communication: along with writing, human body language, public speaking, giving presentations, interpersonal communication, interviewing skills, etc.
The internet is littered with studies and survey results that show how soft skills are becoming as important as their hard skill counterparts. In a collaborative global culture many of them go hand in hand.
If we’re to follow the spending, management and leadership skills come in first place because as the independent millennials take over and seize power these skills are invaluable to them. The global leadership gap is astounding, but filling quickly thanks to the blooming corporate and private eLearning marketplaces.
Conclusion: Embrace a Modernized Culture of eLearning
For any serious business to survive the next five years and beyond, and to catch up to MOOC culture, eLearning must be embraced. Workers themselves increasingly demand and expect consistent corporate training and access to ecourses/information products to increase their personal value.
Business that don’t offer them, or keep up with trends, will quickly see their talent leave or end up going broke on turnover and re-training costs. Take a look at the online workforces being created by the likes of oDesk that will soon represent tens of millions of skilled (and quite independent and demanding) professionals. A brave new world indeed.