Learning in a new way: what has changed in professional learning

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, exclusively talks to Mind to tell about the emerging learning trends and tools that can help quickly learn new knowledge and skills. 

Have you noticed how quickly our 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 are expected to discontinue and 133 million new roles may emerge by 2022 because of automation 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 comprehensive survey “Talent Trends 2020”, 77% respondents are ready to be completely reskilled 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.

Relevant skills

The World Economic Forum’s Report “The Future of Jobs 2022” indicates that five skills and qualities 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.
  • Acting 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 – the ability to create or adapt 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.

It is clear that the market will show a growing demand for technology roles such as big data analyst, articial intelligence and machine learning professional, and marketing and sales professionals.

Human-centred qualities, such as the ability to work in a team, to conduct negotiations and persuade, to establish a contact with various audiences and to resolve conflicts successfully 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 possesses:

  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:

  • 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 proven by many years of our 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% from 2015 to 2020 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 be different but their advantages over face-to-face tuition are obvious. Transferring experience and the 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. As such, it is critical to allocate time to your development daily by using a mix of traditional and online methods.

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