How eLearning Helps Bridge The Workplace Skills Gap
Modern digital technologies are affecting all aspects of the global economy, including the service, manufacturing, and retail sectors that employ a majority of American workers. This digital shift has spurred a growth in employer demand for highly skilled workers. Traditional education systems are unable to keep up with the growing demands for technologically savvy workers.
In a 2013 Manpower survey, more than 35% of the 38,000 employers surveyed reported that they have problems filling vacancies due to a lack of workers with the right tech skills. The workplace skills gap is a gap between what employers want and what job seekers have to offer. eLearning can help transform the workplace training programs by providing easier and more affordable access to learning tools and resources. These resources are aimed at a specific skill set and are compatible with a wide variety of employment opportunities.
Workplace Skills Gap: A Vicious Circle
The skills required for working with new technologies are difficult to measure and manage. Information technology is experiencing an incredibly rapid and radical change, and finding workers who can make the most of these new technologies is a challenge for employers that are looking to fill vacant positions. Although learning still takes place on the job, employers do not always have enough staff or other resources to provide sufficient on the job training for new staff members. On the other hand, workers are more likely to invest in an educational program when there is a specified set of standardized skills that will help them to secure a strong career path that will be stable and provide reliably good wages well into the future. However, industries that rely on the newest technologies should be able to base their hiring decisions on educational qualifications, but also on some other, non-cognitive skills that will allow their employees to excel at learning on the job.
Employers, investors, and economists can work together along with educational institutions to create a business model that enables workers to learn effectively while on the job. The digitization of the workplace and education allows employers and educators to collaborate at creating training opportunities that are affordable, convenient and flexible. The industries with the greatest skills gaps include healthcare, construction and manufacturing. High-skill and middle-skill jobs are those with the most vacancies and the lowest amount of workers who are skilled enough to do the work.
There are many reasons for the workplace skills gap, and the biggest one may be that there is less of an investment in training and a lack of support for employee learning and development. Profit margins are often so tight that there is no time for sufficient training on the job. Certain aspects of eLearning are increasingly proving to be convenient and effective for workforce training. An expected increase in demand for technologically skilled workers means that eLearning is the best way to bridge the gap.
Employee training programs are often one of the first areas in a business to be cut because employers would often rather focus their time and energy on revenue development. This lack of training only further expands the skills gap. Businesses can use affordable eLearning platforms to develop skills and improve their own internal workforce. Most modern eLearning tools are flexible and customized to specific industries. Many are free or low-cost with possible ongoing investments. Employers can predict and adjust costs and easily scale up or down as training needs change. For example, Udemy is an online learning platform with courses on a wide range of subjects. Many Udemy courses are free. Udemy for Business is an on-demand training platform for businesses to gain access to highly focused courses delivered by expert instructors. Udemy is a part of the MOOCs evolution, providing a whole range of benefits for corporate training.
- Efficiency and convenience.
With eLearning, learners absorb 25 to 60 percent more of the material. In this informal and personal approach to learning, students can communicate easily with instructors and peers. It is an efficient process for developing and delivering training content. A Learning Management System is one such platform, often cloud-based, used to deliver, document, and track and report online courses assigned to specific employees for training purposes. These programs enable efficient process for developing and delivering content that is helpful to non-traditional learners, such as full-time workers with families. After the training is completed, employers can evaluate whether or not the workers learned useful skills.
Training with eLearning can be asynchronous or synchronous. With self-directed eLearning, students learn information up to 60 percent faster than in traditional training environments. These platforms allow flexible access to training materials from anywhere with any device connected to the internet, including smartphones, tablets and desktops. For example, the Skill Pill program is a learning tool for integrated learning in the workplace. It offers a range of topics with short training and motivational videos that each focus on a specific skill.
Most employees want to succeed and advance, but without the right tools they cannot do so. Past negative experiences with job training may give employees a poor attitude about traditional training models, but eLearning has an interactive component such as gamification that keeps trainees engaged. Sharing progress and accomplishments also motivates employees.
The workplace skills gap negatively affects a business’s competitive edge and productivity. Training employees through eLearning platforms has positive results for overcoming the skills gap, keeping them well-equipped and confident about the future challenges, and ready to contribute to business productivity and consistent growth.