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Learning new things in a new way: what has changed in professional education

25/05/20

The world of today is flexible, technology-savvy and dynamic. It brings the strong to the top and breaks the weak. To join the strong ones and remain in demand as a professional going forward, one needs to define the ways to achieve that goal. Irina Blinova, PwC Academy Leader in Ukraine, talks about the emerging learning trends and tools that can help quickly learn new skills in her exclusive interview to Mind.

Have you noticed how quickly out world is changing and how some roles become irrelevant while new ones emerge? According to the World Economic Forum report,  The Future of Jobs 2022”, 75 million jobs and numerous roles may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 133 million new roles may emerge in response to the need to adapt business and technology to the new conditions using unique qualities and skills of a human.

According to PwC's extensive survey, Talent Trends 2020”, 77% respondents are ready to be completely reskilled in order to be able to find a stable job in the future.

And this resilience is exactly the success factor in the labour market of the future. You should not be afraid of the change that will increase your value as a professional.

What skills will be in demand?

The World Economic Forum’s report The Future of Jobs 2022 indicates that 5 skills will continue to grow in prominence by 2022:

  • Analytical thinking - the ability to apply logic in the process of analysing information and make decisions on that basis.
  • Active learning - not just learning new information but also understanding how to apply the knowledge gained to improve one's performance.
  • Creativity and initiative. We are seeing the shift from the mass oriented to the individual oriented model in every aspect of our lives. Therefore those who are able to create something new and custom made will always be in demand in the labour market.
  • Technology design and programming - creating or adapting equipment and technology to meet the consumer needs.
  • Critical thinking and analysis - the ability to subject the information obtained to a comprehensive analysis and critically reassess it, to shape one's own position on the subject.

Employers will definitely need more technology roles, such as big data analyst, artificial intelligence specialist and machine learning, marketing and sales professionals

Human-centred skills, such as the ability to work in a team, developed communication and problem-solving skills will also increase their value.

So how does one become one of those whose role is in demand?

Traditional learning tools:

  • ILT – Instructor Lead Training
  • Traditional Е-learning
  • Blended learning

These and new tools will only work when the learner has all three of:

  1. Time to learn something new;
  2. Motivation;
  3. Awareness.

The world of today is quickly evolving and knowledge, technology, the circumstances of our lives change too quickly, therefore it is critical that the knowledge remains relevant. What is important and critical today will be outdated in six months’ time. By setting short-term goals, people prefer to develop in small steps in order to keep up with relevant knowledge.

However, learning something new in depth is typically a time-consuming effort. Is the learner sufficiently motivated to complete a long course? Their focus becomes distracted and often taken over by an immense amount of information from various, often contradicting, sources.

The lack of awareness is the most common reason behind stopping learning. The learner’s motivation may be “I want to complete the course to learn this/how do to this” but it will not work unless it is underpinned by a conscious choice with the motivation “When I have this skill, I will be able to get promoted, become a more valuable professional, increase my value”.

New learning tools

The adaptive world of today has taken these three points into account and the learning professionals have complemented the classic tool set with new tools that increase learning engagement. These include:

  • Video (both with and without an instructor, video instruction) - shifting attention from one form of presentation (e.g. text) to visual relieves brain fatigue and makes it easier to process information. They help quickly shift attention between topics, which is confirmed by our many years of practice.
  • Smartphones (apps, chat bots, voice bots) - those who want to get new information when it is convenient actively use their smartphones for this purpose as they are always at hand. The market of learning apps has grown by 36.3% and these numbers will only continue increasing.
  • Games and gamification of the process - this tool has been borrowed from psychology and is actively used in areas other than learning. The student’s drive to complete the journey while earning points and competing with other students motivates the student to complete the course.
  • Micro learning - dividing a complex topic into snackable learning bites and alternating between types of learning materials. Our experience shows that this tool is especially effective for complex high-volume topics and lengthy courses.
  • Adaptive learning - a model when learning is tailored to the abilities, knowledge, skills and even mood of each student.
  • VR/AR presentation formats. They may differ from task to task, but their advantages over face-to-face tuition are obvious. Transferring experience and picture through virtual and augmented reality increases the student’s engagement multifold. While this tool is not widespread yet, apps and software are now being developed to enable active implementation in the learning process.

Becoming technology-savvy is becoming a necessity for a wide range of roles. To join this circle, continuous improvement through learning new material and practising skills is key. Therefore, it is important to allocate time to your development daily by using a mix of traditional and online methods.

 

Irina Blinova

PwC Academy Leader, Kyiv, PwC Ukraine

+380 44 354 04 04

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