One of the most popular credentials in 2019 created new pathways for non-traditional learners with limited opportunities, to get a foot through the door of a new career.
eading into 2020, we are leaving behind a decade during which technology dramatically transformed how we learn. A decade during which the best universities democratised access to a world-class education online. When upskilling became mainstream, and when bite-sized, personalised and mobile learning became a part of our vocabulary. This was also a decade when continuous learning became a necessity, with online learning giving working professionals much-needed flexibility to learn while they earned.
How Indian students and professionals equip themselves for an uncertain future of work, will change radically from here on, driven by digital technologies, evolving learner needs and educators framing a new response to tackle challenges in higher education.
Game-changer ahead: India's best institutes are innovating online
The country's top institutions are reimagining offerings and creating entirely new products to be delivered online - making a quality education accessible to many more Indian students while simultaneously opening up their campuses to the world. In 2020, IIM Calcutta will become the first top-ranked Indian institution to launch two MasterTrack Certificates programmes on Coursera, in management science and supply chain analytics - the institute's first offerings to be delivered completely online, available to a learners globally.
This trend will rise as India's top colleges rethink how to deliver an education that can fit into learners' lives, align to industry needs and deliver better career outcomes. IIT Kanpur, for instance, is exploring an e-masters - potentially in cyber security or data science, two of the hottest career tracks right now. This is being considered as a new offering that is completely online for learners already in the workforce (and distinct from an M-tech which requires a thesis.) Indian institutions exploring this depth of learning online mirrors a growing trend around the world.
In 2019, top universities like Purdue, UPenn, University of Michigan and London School of Economics rethought the design and delivery of their degree products online, making them accessible, affordable, relevant and flexible for a global audience.
Stayed laser-focused on industry needs is going to be a focal point for Indian schools in 2020.
The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad recently announced a post graduate program in advanced business analytics, addressing an area with a scarcity of talent, The programme blends online and campus sessions, aimed at working professionals looking for flexibility. By adding an online component, universities are now offering busy professionals new pathways to acquire critical skills while balancing their careers. Leading management college SP Jain, for example, is offering students the flexibility to switch between face-to-face and online modes of learning for its EMBA programme.
Digital transformation will spread across colleges
Preparing their students to be 'job-ready' was a major priority for colleges in 2019. We saw institutions adopt hybrid models to further this, combining a quality campus experience with job-relevant skills delivered to students through online learning platforms.
Manipal Academy of Higher Education, known for its focus on multidisciplinary learning, saw innovative results that went beyond career impact during a Coursera for Campus pilot. Students cherry picked courses from machine learning to blockchain, connecting and applying this cutting-edge learning to solve real-world challenges. Projects went all the way from building driverless systems to a secure electoral voting portal using blockchain. Students also reported early career impact, landing jobs outside their academic specialization -- for instance non computer science graduates hired for data analytics roles.
2020 will be a year when colleges leverage digital technologies more actively - from cloud to AI and IoT - to increase their impact and deliver better learner outcomes. Moving to digital platforms will open up inter-linked possibilities for universities - from creating a shared learning ecosystem to combining degree offerings and evolving common credit or grading systems. Pooling resources and being part of a global eco-system could also alleviate the current faculty shortage plaguing our top colleges (the newer IITs reported a 40-50 per cent shortage in permanent faculty posts this year!)
Towards a more integrated learning experience
Online learning platforms brought in a more cohesive experience for learners in 2019. At Coursera, for instance, we added 'hands-on' learning capabilities with Coursera Labs, allowing learners to seamlessly work on projects and assignments in a browser without any environment setup or software downloads. This provided a way to integrate more applied learning experiences into online content, where learners can now test their new skills and theoretical knowledge without exiting the learning experience.
The most sought after learning experience had convenience and flexibility built in. Learning on mobile was a top preference for our Indian learners - 60 per cent learned on mobile during the year and we predict this number will only rise further in 2020. But while Indian learners seek the 'on the go' convenience of mobile, they simultaneously want the ability to seamlessly switch 'offline,' to save data costs!
As the shelf life of skills shrinks, continuous reskilling is emerging as a priority for Indians. In 2019, we saw learners seeking out credentials like MasterTrack Certificates and Specialisations. They looked for flexible, just-in-time learning that could give them the job-relevant skills they needed for an immediate career upgrade. This trend is also bringing a fundamental shift in how people in the workforce will learn.
As universities unbundle master's and bachelor's degrees into smaller, stackable, modular credentials to cater to the growing demand, they are also creating 'fully stackable programs' that offer a flexible pathway to a degree. We are seeing this attracting professionals who want to pursue a degree while they work - at their own pace and without having to put their careers on hold.
The rise of gateway certificates
One of the most popular credentials in 2019 created new pathways for non-traditional learners with limited opportunities, to get a foot through the door of a new career. Gateway certificates are empowering learners in India to transform their lives and imagine a new work future. One of the best examples of this remained the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, which prepares learners for an entry-level job in IT support.
The programme is a leveler since students don't need a college degree to enroll. In 2019, the certificate attracted diverse learners from lower education and employment levels, connecting them to new careers. Learners in India reported positive career impact from the certificate - even those without a college degree finding employment in top IT services companies after completing the course, for instance. Gateway credentials are as much a win-win for learners as they are for employers looking to close existing skill gaps - making them a credential to watch out for next year.
Source : https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/major-online-learning-trends-of-2019-that-will-continue-to-impact-education-in-2020-1631557-2019-12-26
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