The evolution of the professional education industry has been quite dramatic over the past decade, and I can truly testify to its considerable shift since its early days. Over these years, I have had the privilege to gain invaluable insight into the sector, and have had the chance to derive enriching experiences from serving Fortune 500 companies, government sector clients and organizations across the globe.
Succinctly put, there have been two major shifts in EdTech. The first being the evolution of the different formats of professional education, from mainly being classroom-based, to now being blended with online and classroom-based learning, and enhanced with experiential and simulation-based set-ups. The second being, the increased acceptance of these new formats by organizations and employees. Now, organizations are looking to do a lot more learning online or in blended formats, and have even questioned the need to employ standalone classroom-based learning. About 8-10 years ago, there were MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that came about – these were mostly an initial attempt at online learning by most schools or organizations in a self-paced format. The world of online learning has significantly evolved more recently, there has been a shift to SPOC (Small Private Online Courses) learning, focused on blending live learning, recorded modules, application based assignments, simulations and smaller cohorts resulting in a deeper impact with higher completion (85% or higher) rates and a better return on investment. According to a recent research report by Emeritus, majority of professionals (over 80%) – ranging from age 21-65 across the globe believe that online learning adoption will increase in the near term. Over 77% of respondents across nine countries stated they would consider a fully online or hybrid approach to learning.
The draw of EdTech
The education industry has always held a significant amount of attraction and interest for me, and I think my four years at the Eruditus group has only further strengthened this view. I also largely attribute my choosing of the Eruditus group based on the goal of making higher-education accessible and affordable across the globe. The emergence of these two organizations was of great consequence, as before this, if you had to undertake higher-education, it would entail taking a break from your career for a year or two, and going headlong into a full-time program at a higher-education institution. However, through our university partners, and the programs developed, both in the blended formats and the online formats, we provide participants with unprecedented access, and an alternative that’s free of compromises. In our State of Executive Education 2020 survey conducted, over 74% senior executives reported having seen a positive impact as a result of executive education.
The way forward for EdTech
The hastened changes, as necessitated by COVID-19, have ensured that the world has had to resort to online or remote learning in the primary, secondary, tertiary and professional education sectors. Previously, while there was a hesitancy to fully pivot to online-learning, there is now an increased need to re-think and re-imagine the curriculum to suit this medium across all levels of education. In a recent article, Ashley Chiampo and I shared our views on how organizations can determine ways of moving their face to face workforce learning online.
The next few months are going to be crucial as well, as organizations grapple with the new normal and the implications thereof. I think this is where we could step in and help organizations address their talent transformation needs. Provide them insights, and introduce them to a series of knowledge interventions from leading universities & educators across topics of innovation, digitization and data-analytics, as well as design programs that best equip their teams to bring about a smoother transition to the new normal of their choosing.
Compliments and challenges
A good day at work for me would be one where I hear from our corporate clients on the impact we’ve made on their lives and careers, and the tangible benefit to their organizations. Typically, a good day is also one where I get to spend time with clients, listening to them, understanding their particular needs and thereby helping them design and develop effective programs. On the other hand, a challenging day at work is characterized by a client approaching us with something unusual or ‘not standard’. This is what we enjoy & what keeps us driven & motivated – designing solutions to transform their teams and deliver impact across their organization.
The impetus to innovate
There has hardly been a better time to be innovative in EdTech than the present, as the pandemic has prompted us to push the innovation button more than ever. In keeping with this, we developed and launched a series of short online learning sessions with our educator network that involved renowned and expert speakers from academic and practitioner backgrounds from across the globe. These sessions, named Emeritus Knowledge Bytes, delivered informative and valuable discussions and debates on interesting topics that enabled us to keep our employees and clients motivated and engaged over the last few months.
Vision for 2030
While it’s difficult to predict the future, if I may take a stab at it, I see our companies being the largest education enablers and the largest education platform in the world by 2030, as we continue to make professional education universally accessible. As such, there has never been a better time to be a part of the Eruditus family, and the future looks bright indeed!
This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse