The past two years have changed how the world approaches education and has increased our reliance on education technology (edutech) to deliver seamless learning experiences anywhere, anytime.
In 2021 alone, the edutech market saw explosive growth and innovation, particularly in the higher education space, where hybrid learning models are growing in demand. Our 2021 Digital Learning Pulse Survey suggests that nearly two in three college students (61%) prefer and want more hybrid learning options in the future. Moving into 2022, we will continue to see edutech providers offer hybrid learning models to keep education accessible, flexible and in most cases more cost-effective.
And while the edutech market has redesigned not only our higher education processes and offerings -- with a focus on improving hybrid learning models -- we’re also focused on reimagining how the edutech market can support the future of workforce learning.
With nearly 11.5 million job vacancies in the U.S, there is a growing need for education that provides workers with the skills needed to fill those positions and enable them to advance their careers. Here are a few of the areas that employees and employers alike need to focus on to address those vacancies this year:
Technology and digital proficiency
A recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that nearly a third of all currently employed U.S. workers have limited or no skills when it comes to basic digital tools, such as email. And this trend is poised to continue; the U.S. ranked 29th out of 100 countries in terms of students studying software, computing and mathematics.
Technology is continually reinventing itself, and employers must invest in upskilling and reskilling employees to adopt these technologies and meet new, evolving business needs. Prioritizing the professional growth and development of employees not only improves company culture, but also creates a workforce that is skilled and equipped to move the business forward.
While skill certifications are a core part of our business at Cengage Group, we also “walk the talk” when it comes to skills-based learning for our employees. Earlier this year, Cengage Group’s Global Technology team held its inaugural “Skill Up” week of learning. Nearly three-quarters of our employees took time to participate in one of our internal courses, which included DevOps and Scrum Master. The end result was extremely positive, with chatter on our communications channel skyrocketing as employees shared their learnings and creative productions, which ranged from poems and songs to reimaginings of our department logo. We were all motivated, energized and encouraged by the new technology skills we acquired.
Employers who continue to prioritize skills-based learning will not only see continued growth and innovation, but also improvement in employee engagement, morale and collaboration.
Continued professional education and training
In addition to improving employees’ digital proficiency, employers should also consider offering professional certification courses to workers who are looking to build and expand their skill sets. Professional education and certifications are especially important for IT professionals and those looking to move into this career path. These certifications span from foundational courses such as introductions to programming languages like Python 3 or database structures like SQL and range to more advanced certifications, such as Full-Stack software development, web design and Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) programs spanning from software and hardware, networking and more.
While mainstay certifications like web development, IT management and software development will continue to remain popular in 2022, we’ll also see new technology learning courses emerge around designing for online accessibility. We expect more companies will seek out developers who have the skills needed to create more accessible websites and applications that are more inclusive and user-friendly to all.
At Cengage Group, we’ll continue evolving and expanding our learning offerings in the coming year to stay on the cutting edge of technology education.
Greater access to technology
We know in the coming year that employers will prioritize skilling up the workforce and improving digital proficiency among employees. However, their ability to do so at scale will greatly depend on widespread access to broadband internet. The infrastructure bill recently passed by Congress in the U.S. provides funding to roll out - or improve - internet connectivity throughout the nation, especially in rural, remote and otherwise underserved communities. This is a step in the right direction to providing every learner access to the courses they need to improve their skill set.
In addition to providing access through broadband, by leveraging technology and rich content, curriculum and course design are shifting from lecturers to knowledge facilitators. In the same way that digital proficiency is a priority for employee skilling, faculty digital literacy must also be a focus for educational institutions. In addition, cybersecurity will continue to be a focus as businesses and educational institutions are increasingly targets for ransomware and other attacks. These threats will change how organizations secure their networks and work with their technology providers, and are being furthered by increasing regulatory requirements at universities and in school systems.
In 2022, greater digital proficiency and improved access to training and certification courses will be important to creating a robust workforce that can help employers adapt, innovate and grow in the years ahead. But workers and employers cannot go it alone. The edutech market must remain committed to creating solutions that lifelong learning for employees.
At Cengage Group, our commitment to workforce skills training is unwavering. We are passionate about helping millions more learners improve their lives and achieve their dreamso learn more about the skills and courses we provide, visit our ed2go page.