The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it in myriad ways. Masks are mandatory in many states, cities, and towns across the country. People's daily lives and routines have been upended, with social distancing being a given now when, just six months ago, nobody was even using the term. Congregating indoors seems like a wild and reckless activity. Everybody has some form of "new normal" to deal with.
Industries and sectors of the economy are also undergoing massive changes. Education is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. As the summer of 2020 draws to a close and the new school year approached, nobody quite knows how classroom learning is going to work in this new era with logistical decisions becoming overwhelming. Many districts are grappling with mixes of online and classroom learning, staggering student attendance days to cut down on the number of people in the classroom at the same time.
Colleges and universities are in flux as well, with students getting packed up to move into dorms only to be told to hold off for the foreseeable future. Classes are being shifted online, at the behest of professors and other officials who don't want to risk getting COVID themselves. But that move is drawing ire from many parents and students alike. These parents (strenuously) object to paying standard tuition for an online education, and some are even filing lawsuits over it.
Nobody knows right now how it will all shake out for the education sector, but one thing is for certain. Online, digital courses will become an even more important facet of how people learn.
COVID's changes to education intersect with the workplace. For many of us, the workplace has undergone massive changes as a result of the pandemic. Not only has business itself changed, but the way we conduct it has changed as well. In addition to remote working becoming the norm, another powerful example is hiring, retention, and employment itself. The changes brought by COVID to education and the workplace intersect right there. It is raising many questions for hiring managers and HR professionals about the future of work.
- Will our potential younger workers be earning traditional degrees anymore? Even before COVID, education was moving toward skills, not degrees, and business was hiring for those skills.
- If enrollment in colleges and universities declines, where will young people get the skills companies need? The answer is by focusing on skill-specific online courses that they can verify with digital credentials.
- Will earning digital credentials on the job become not only a powerful way to upskill but a way to get foundational skills as well?
- Will employers replace colleges and universities as the place where workers get their skills if on-campus life goes away permanently?
- How will all of this upskilling and foundational skilling be funded? Will the burden be on employers?
- Will the opportunity to earn skills via digital credential programs be a must-have benefit for job seekers?
Pre-pandemic, the skills gap was already one of the top three concerns for CEOs, according to a study conducted last year by PwC. The immediate need for upskilling was pressing before the pandemic and addressing the skills gap through digital credentialing courses has been the solution for many forward-thinking organizations for months and even years. Now, with traditional education being shaken at its foundations even further by COVID, the need for employers to offer digital credentials will only increase.
It just may be that the workplace rises up and carries the educational ball in the not-so-distant future. At Credly, we're committed to helping companies offer employees the opportunity to upskill via earning digital credentials. Fill out the form below to learn how your organization can make a major impact on learning and upskilling.