Technological innovations have shifted the way we work and are also disrupting traditional education and skills training.
New models of education have evolved to create ‘on demand’ and ‘just in time’ training designed to fill skills gaps. This is creating a workforce of lifelong learners. Learning opportunities have diversified significantly leading to more encompassing and up-to-date credentials.
These new ways of documenting our skills do not replace traditional educational credentials but they can generate a more comprehensive and personalised portfolio for professionals.
New learning opportunities
A number of entrepreneurial start-ups, such as Lynda.com have experimented with technology-driven models for both academic and vocational education. Others like Udacity, partner with tech giants like Google and Facebook to offer programming and technology curricula for professionals so they can keep learning new skills.
Courses such as this one are part of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) movement. They are often provided by prestigious universities at no cost or low cost, offering various learning experiences and credentials. Examples include: FutureLearn, edX, Stanford Online, Coursera, Udacity and LinkedIn Learning (formerly was Lynda.com).
Professional mid-career internships operate on the same principle as any other internship but are different from the traditional mode of an internship where unpaid work takes place. These internships are part work, part training, and part exposure to a company and networks. Professional internship programs are short-term paid, non-binding work arrangements that provide a trial period for both the professional and the organisation.
New types of credentials
Now, more than ever, employers need you to be work-ready. Professionals who need to upgrade their skills to advance in their careers are looking for alternatives to the traditional university degree. A great step to advancing your career is to look out for quality courses for professionals that allow you to upgrade your skills.
Professional certification can be earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. This can include accreditation as a user of a complex software suite through to general skill sets in areas like project management. Make the effort to gain any certificates or qualifications your trade or profession offers. These courses can add to your skill set and qualifications gained can add weight to your resume.
If your profession or employer offers accredited fellowships, see if you can apply to take part. For example, the Higher Education Academy (HEA) is a British professional institution that works with tertiary education providers to enhance the professional experience of educators through fellowships, that validate professional experience.
Mozilla’s Open Badges enable organisations to issue, earn and display online credentials as digital badges. They can help you display and promote your 21st century skills, and unlock career and educational opportunities. Digital badging technologies enable recognition for diverse skills and achievements that happen within and beyond formal institutional contexts.
What are the traditional educational institutions doing to ensure that they are providing all-encompassing and more up-to-date credentials? Do they provide enough of the skills that students and the workplace need? In the next step we see how universities have been trying to bridge this gap.
Find an example of a credential in your professional field. How would this help you enhance your professional profile?
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