By Mayank Kumar and Subramanyam Reddy
In an ever-changing world, the learning curve is gaining critical importance. Linked to cost, efficiency, experience, and productivity, the learning curve is an essential measure of progress, a re-calibration and course correction that enables an organisation and its human capital to quickly learn, adapt and progress. Accelerating the learning curve has become important for skilling new hires as well as re-training current employees for new competencies and skillsets in a fast-paced market driven by the adoption of new technologies.
The need for skilling the global workforce cannot be denied, especially in the aftermath of the ‘double disruption’ caused by the pandemic. The economic impact and subsequent reliance on technology and automation, has created the need for a significant skilling overhaul to drive resilience and relevance. A report by Korn Ferry cites that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because of severe talent shortage and lack of skilled people to take on these roles, thereby leading to a consolidated loss of annual revenue to the tune of US$ 8.5 trillion.
With a young population entering the workforce, India too has the opportunity to create and leverage its high-quality workforce to drive sustained economic growth. According to the Global Skill Gap Report, the nation’s young population with around 65 percent below 35 years of age and the share of working age (15-59 years) set to grow from 62 percent at present to 68 percent by 2030, gives India a competitive edge and sets it apart from other countries in the world that are aging fast.
The challenge is that youth employability is falling, and the drop from 46.2% to 45.9% as per the India Skills Report 2021 data indicates the emergence of a skill gap that needs to be addressed. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to this with rapid digitisation and remote working taking not just employees but businesses too by surprise, as they scrambled to close skill gaps brought on by the new normal. But while building skills may close gaps, the transformation of skills requires personalised learning through adaptive systems. It is here that edtech platforms are upping the learning curve through the integration of Immersive Technology into the virtual learning experience and personalisation with NextGen Diagnostic Assessments and Skill Mapping.
Immersive Learning platforms
Learning platforms that allow 360-degree immersive learning bring many advantages. With live interactive instructor-led sessions stitched together with nuggets of microlearning, it is possible for learner comprehension to be assessed at every level with knowledge retention quizzes, assessments, assignments, and projects. A comprehensive assessment framework allows mapping of real-world job roles to the combination of skills needed to succeed in a world facing disruption with changing technologies and new ways of working. Each skill is also divided into subskills, and then further broken down into a set of core competencies that are aligned with the underlying technology or workflow that the learner is aiming to master.
Along with being mapped to categorical tasks that are likely to be encountered in a role, learning assets on the platform are also charted to a hierarchical framework. This allows observation of the learners’ macro-level progress as they progress through the program, with data fed into the reporting framework for real-time insights into the performance and progress of the learner.
The immersive online education platform also lets learners network with peers from different parts of the country or even continents, thereby expanding exposure. This frequently leads to further opportunities for collaboration with other individuals in a project’s implementation. Industry standards such as Bloom’s taxonomy levels are integrated into the mapping of assets to ensure highly effective assessment and pedagogical effectiveness.
NextGen Diagnostic Assessments and Skill Mapping
Learners range from complete newbies to professionals with some experience. This makes it necessary to gauge the present level of knowledge at the outset through a diagnostic assessment and helps to set a baseline that supports the mapping of knowledge and skills progression.
Virtual classes led by expert instructors are supplemented by bite-sized learning modules, carefully curated to ensure that the learner’s level of interest and motivation stays high. Hands-on exercises are inbuilt into the course, allowing interactive practice opportunities during the learning process. For tech courses, guided hands-on labs open alongside the browser for practicing coding skills.
Comprehensive module-end auto-graded MCQ-based assessments for the learner’s conceptual understanding of topics are mapped to the initial diagnostic assessments. The assessments help the learners gain valuable insights into their strengths and learning challenges with suggested sections and videos that they need to revisit in order to strengthen their core knowledge and skills till they can reach the required level of understanding
Assignments in the form of interactive micro-projects based on real-life scenarios help to test practical knowledge. Each assignment is an auto-graded exercise that requires the learner to build upon a starter project supported by examples, samples, and guidance. A capstone project at the end of a tech course allows for work-like experiences, helping to find solutions to real-world challenges and giving an understanding of how to apply the learning to the industry to produce a tangible outcome.
Social learning forums and discussion groups can help learners to connect with peers and instructors so that they clear doubts without hesitation and share experiences. Connected learning has been proven to boost engagement and peer-to-peer learning with a training program while helping learners to grasp concepts quicker, in much the same way as sharing experiences in a traditional classroom increases learning potential. Post-training sessions that offer guidance on implementing the technology at the workplace or helping to address project challenges are often invaluable. This is especially so if industry experts and leaders provide personalised mentoring.
It is these immersive platforms with NextGen assessments and skill mapping that facilitate a learner’s journey and ensure that edtech platforms are upping the learning curve! There are quite a few edtech leaders in the country who have invested heavily in developing a robust content pedagogy that is backed by the advancing technology to deliver quality learning and drive career outcomes for its learners.
(Mayank Kumar is MD & co-founder upGrad & Subramanyam Reddy is CEO upGrad KnowledgeHut. Views are personal and not necessarily that of Financial Express Online)