Education is back as one of the hottest and widely discussed topics around the world. Since 2010, there has been more than $2.3bn invested in education technology companies in the US alone, while global investment within the sector reached over $9.5bn.
With almost 40% of American employers saying they cannot find people with the skills they need and UK. organisations spending almost £6.3bn on temporary workers, recruitment fees, and training, as a result of skills gap in the UK market, it is clear to everyone that the current education system is broken and needs a clear and deep fix. An action needs to be taken!
Many years ago, people started looking for online learning solutions to replace or complement their on-campus education. However, there are some trends that started to rise in the past 10 years that worsens the status even more.
Information overload and content explosion
More than 3m blog posts are published daily, and content is expected to increase 600% by 2020. It is crystal clear that there are huge amounts of content and that people have limited time and resources to make use of it all, simply because the average learner devotes less than one hour a week to reading.
Unfortunately, a huge portion of this content is not even meant to live beyond the moment in which it appears. Spam is everywhere and many authors and publications aim solely at taking a few shillings out of the public’s pocket. Some statistics claim that 9/10 of our present online literature is clickbait.
Rise of recommendation engines
Why listen to the same old radio if you can listen to personalised programmes and music with Spotify and Apple music? People are increasingly loving customised content and services as they do not have the time (nor the mental capacity) to choose for themselves. People value the context and relevance offered by recommendation engines and products, especially in the learning and knowledge discovery spaces.
These trends are set to accelerate now with the explosion of MOOCs and online education (supply) and the fact that professionals need to redevelop their skills every 12-18 months to cope with the market change and technology advancement (demand). Around 90% of CEOs believe that their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends.
It is clear now to everyone that the whole education ecosystem needs a fundamental rebuild. The learning experience has to cope with the dramatic shift in market demands and technology advancement. It has to be adaptive and personalised to the learner’s needs and goals and most importantly, it has to reduce the time wasted going after good quality content buried under layers upon layers of spam and clickbait. On top of all that, the learning journey has got to have a materialistic goal that can be used to measure the effectiveness of the learning process.
A career-oriented learning model that focuses on the right and relevant skills needed for the different career goals is what the world needs. And it started to turn into reality with many initiatives led by big names like Google, Coursera, and rising start-ups.
These initiatives are not just trying to fix a learning problem. They are creating a new university education model. A university for a better future for the upcoming generations. So the next time you are looking for a new lifelong learning app or a product to try, make sure this product is free of clickbait, serves a goal that you can measure and that it is personalised to your learning style and relevant to your own personal experience.
Ahmed El-Sharkasy is the co-founder and CEO of Knowledge Officer