Community colleges traditionally were created to address the population of learners who pursued two-year degree programs, which often led to transferring into a four-year university degree. However, as global skills gaps have increased, the need to shift from a traditional student demographic and outcome, to one that meets the needs of lifelong learners seeking to re-skill or upskill to stay relevant, has become critical. Lack of funding and infrastructure created challenges for many community colleges seeking to pivot to meet this new demand.
There’s been a pretty constant and repeated refrain that we need reform and innovation in education to create a more equitable and inclusive learning and employment system. And it’s been believed for about the same amount of time that we will need technology to enable scale, trust and security.
Making the shift to skills starts with a process that many find challenging: surfacing skills that are actually taught and learned through existing courses, and making them visible to educators, learners, and employers. For that to happen we need to move from conceptual discussions to the realm of practical application.
Personal evidence and the skills they recognise are game changers for learners to earners and those seeking to progress their careers. But the greatest benefit by far, is that they provide a fuller picture to educators, learners and employers, in a way that is transparent, contextualised and relevant. Let’s look at why personal evidence is on the rise and its impacts on the stakeholders of the skills ecosystem.
Skills-based learning has developed beyond a conversation and has become the focus of many learning institutions from higher education to community colleges, career-specific educators, internal company training, and more. Why?
When we talk about education, we often describe it as a tool for economic mobility. We tell high school kids to go to college, get a degree, and that is the path to a good career. For adult learners, we advocate that they go back to school, finish that degree, get a master’s or a doctorate – easy ways to “get ahead” and enhance their ability to move forward in their careers.
In a recent article titled “College Ed Must Adapt or Die”, Jason Wingard, the President of Temple University in Pennsylvania stated simply, “Consider this my burning platform memo for higher ed.” What was he referring to? There is a crisis happening in higher education right now, and if it were any other type of business, there would be widespread panic.
We’re diverting from our Stakeholders in the Modern Credential Marketplace series in this blog post to talk for a moment about Dark Data. What is Dark Data? You probably generated Dark Data at some point today, not because you were travelling the Silk Road or looking for a new identity – but more for an activity like checking your bank balance, looking at your medical records, or digitally signing a document.
There is an entire ecosystem that revolves around skills, and that ecosystem is changing. It started with education, and the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which, while it did not have the impact many thought it would, spawned an era of self-paced alternative education that created a boom in online courses.
Over the past year, we’ve focussed our Lens on Learners: the types of learners, how they learn, and what they want from their education. With our Lens on Educators, we’ve explored what it will take for the education system to effectively bridge the gap between learners and employers.