Address Skill Shortages With eLearning Solutions
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Learn How To Address Skill Shortages With eLearning Solutions

Many predict that this gap will continue widening. This article covers how you can address skill shortages with eLearning solutions.

The Controversy Over The Skills Gap

Well-known executives and others in a hiring capacity tend to argue that there is a skills shortage. For example, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has written about it several times over the past four years. Last year, he described the issue as "a moral and economic crisis" and explained what his firm is doing about the issue [1]. Over the next five years, JPMorgan Chase is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in programs designed to help youth develop and improve skills, which will give them a clear career path.

On the other hand, The New York Times has published several articles arguing against the existence of a skills gap. In an opinion piece for The Times in 2014, Paul Krugman responded to an article co-authored by Dimon and published in Politico Magazine [2]. In his response, Krugman disagreed with Dimon and described the skills shortage as a "myth" and a "zombie idea." Additionally, The New York Times' editorial staff argued the year before that the shortage was little more than "corporate fiction."

These Skills Are In Short Supply

Both sides of the debate offer plenty of data points, which seem to support their views. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition reviewed many of these data points and highlighted the paradoxes to explain why both sides of the controversy are partially correct.

For example, even though U.S. unemployment was at its lowest level in 17 years, surveys still suggest employers are having trouble finding qualified workers. NACE attributes this paradox to three factors: employers' location, unwillingness to pay competitive wages, and the need for constantly-evolving technological skills.

Data compiled and analyzed by LinkedIn highlights the skills running in short supply [3]. They fall mainly in two areas: soft skills and information technology. The shortage of digital or IT skills isn't surprising due to the constantly-evolving state of technology, which now changes so quickly that workers, who don't pursue ongoing training, can get left behind.

Some may be surprised that soft skills are running at a deficit, but LinkedIn points to technology as the reason for this shortage. Artificial Intelligence is widely seen as a threat to many jobs, but computers aren't yet able to replicate human behavior when it comes to certain soft skills, including communication and teamwork.

Creating A Learning Path For Employees

It's important for employees and employers alike to create a learning path from point A to point Z. A learning path is essentially a roadmap containing several stops between a worker’s starting skillset and ultimate training objectives.

The training material included in the path should build in a step-by-step process. At the end of the learning path, the employee has not only learned the skills but has also continually developed every step along the way. Creating a learning path enables trainers to provide comprehensive lessons that don't leave out important information due to time constraints. Learning paths also enable employees to achieve total fluency in their specific training path.

To create a learning path, the first step is to identify the ultimate goal of the training. Next, creators should list all the objectives they want to see achieved, favoring a step-by-step approach. The learning path can then be plotted by selecting topics based on those objectives.

Here are the ways employers can effectively develop a learning path:

  1. Identify the end goal of the training.
  2. Go back one step from the end goal by asking, "In order to perform Task Z, what must the employee first be able to do?" That task becomes another lesson or stepping stone on the learning path.
  3. Continue stepping backward through each desired skill that must be learned until you arrive at the employee's starting position, which is their current skillset.

How An LMS Makes It Easy To Create Learning Paths

Creating a learning path may sound like a complicated process, but using a Learning Management System (LMS) and Training Needs Analysis (TNA) program can simplify it. An LMS is eLearning software used to administer, document and track employee training. It can be used for everything from new employee onboarding to job-specific training and courses designed for employees being groomed for a position higher up in the company.

The best LMS solutions are cloud-based because they enable employees to learn while at home, work, or anywhere else. An LMS enables employers to invest in their employees' education in a cost-effective manner. It's also far less expensive than continuing education at a local college or university, and it doesn't interfere with work time or disrupt business workflows.

The easiest way to develop a learning path inside an LMS is to use off-the-shelf course material as your guide. Cloud-based systems often offer a wide array of courses, which can easily be organized into stepping stones based on any learning path.

Employers who are unsure of where to start when creating a learning path can start by looking at the available courses in the general training area. From there, it becomes easy to select additional courses as stepping stones toward an employee's training destination. Examining all the course material available inside the LMS can also help employers ensure they cover all the material employees need to learn for their positions.

An LMS also makes it easy for employers to assign courses to individual employees based on the skills they must develop. As the employees take each of the courses, the LMS records their progress, keeping them accountable for the material that has been assigned to them. Employers can stay on top of employee training by keeping track of who has learned which skills and how they scored during the training process. Additionally, workers will no longer be able to claim they were never trained on something because the LMS keeps a record of what they learned.

References:

[1] The Skills Gap Is a Moral and Economic Crisis. Here's What We're Doing About It. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/skills-gap-moral-economic-crisis-heres-what-were-doing-jamie-dimon/?trk=portfolio_article-card_title)

[2] Closing the Skills Gap (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/closing-the-skills-gap-101478#.UzgKOPldWT8)

[3] The U.S. Is Facing a Critical Skills Shortage, Reskilling Can Be Part of the Solution (https://blog.linkedin.com/2018/april/19/the-u-s-is-facing-a-critical-skills-shortage-reskilling-can-be-part-of-the-solution)

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