The past few years have changed how the world approaches education, with a shift towards online learning. This has increased our reliance on education technology, also known as edutech, to deliver seamless learning experiences anywhere, anytime.
The edutech market saw explosive growth and innovation at the start of the decade. This was particularly the case in the higher education space, where hybrid learning models are growing in demand. Our Digital Learning Pulse Survey suggests that nearly two in three college students (61%) prefer and want more hybrid learning options in the future. Moving forward, we will continue to see edutech providers offer hybrid learning models to keep education accessible, flexible and affordable.
At Cengage Group, we're focused on reimagining how we can support the future of workforce learning as a leading edutech company. Over the past few years, the edutech market has redesigned higher education processes and offerings. As a result, we continue to expand our focus on hybrid learning models.
With nearly 10 million job vacancies in the U.S, there is a growing need for professional development education. Edutech provides workers with the skills needed to fill those positions and enables them to advance their careers. Here are a few areas that employees and employers need to focus on to address these vacancies.
Technology and Digital Proficiency
A recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that one-third of all U.S. workers have limited or no skills with basic digital tools. This includes essential workplace technology like email, word processors, video conferencing and more. The U.S. ranked 29th out of 100 countries for students studying software, computing and mathematics. This trend is poised to continue.
Technology continues to reinvent itself. Employers must invest in upskilling and reskilling employees to adopt these technologies and meet new, evolving business needs. Prioritizing employee professional growth and development improves company culture and creates a skilled and equiped workforce to move the business forward.
Employers who facilitate skills-based learning will see continued growth and innovation, and improvement in employee engagement, morale, and collaboration.
Educational institutions must also prioritize digital literacy of instructional technology for their faculty. This is especially important as edutech shifts course content, curriculum, and design away from lecturers and toward knowledge facilitators. Educators and institutions should understand how edutech can enhance their teaching and learning practice and the value of digital tools in the classroom.
Edutech for Professional Education and Training
In addition to improving employees’ digital proficiency, employers should also consider offering professional certification courses. This will help entice and retain high-quality workers who are looking to build and expand career ready skills.
Professional education and certifications are especially important for IT professionals and those looking to enter the frield. These certifications cover a wide range of topics, including the basics (such as Python 3 or SQL) to more advanced certifications (such as CompTIA's Full-Stack software development and web design).
Mainstay certifications like web development, IT management and software development will continue to remain popular. We’ll also see new edutech courses emerge around designing for online accessibility. We expect more edutech companies will seek out developers who have the skills needed to create more accessible websites and applications.
Increasing Access to Technology
Moving forward, 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 passed by Congress in the U.S. provides funding to roll out and improve internet connectivity throughout the nation, especially in rural, remote and otherwise underserved communities. It's a step in the right direction to provide every learner access to improve their skill set.
Cybersecurity will continue to be a focus through the remainder of the decade. Businesses and educational institutions are increasingly becoming targets for new, sophisticated ransomware and social engineering attacks. These threats change how organizations secure their networks and work with their technology providers. Online security continues to be advanced by increasing regulatory requirements at universities and in school systems.
Edutech at Cengage Group
Moving forward, greater digital proficiency and improved access to training and certification courses will be important to creating a robust workforce. This will help employers adapt, innovate and grow in the years ahead. However, workers and employers cannot accomplish this alone. Edutech companies must remain committed to creating solutions that encourage lifelong learning for employees.
At Cengage Group, we "walk the talk" when it comes to being an edutech company. While a core part of our business focuses on skill certifications, we actively cultivate 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 participated in one of our internal courses, which included DevOps and Scrum Master.
The end result was extremely positive. Employees shared their learnings and creative productions on our internal communication platforms. This 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.
We continue evolving and expanding our edutech offerings to stay on the cutting edge of technology education. 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 dreams. To learn more about the edutech skills and courses we provide, visit our ed2go page.