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February’s industry round-ups

Opinion: Coronavirus quarantine could spark an online learning boom
The Conversation, 23rd February 
The spread of the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 is a public health emergency with economic and social ramifications in China and across the world. While the impacts on business are well documented, education is also facing the largest disruption in recent memory. Institutions around the world are responding to travel bans and quarantines with a shift to online learning. The crisis may trigger an online boom for education – or at least make us more ready to cope with the next emergency.

Feature: How the skills gap is changing the degree path
Education Dive, 17 February 
This piece argues that nontraditional education providers are proving to be stiff competition as bootcamps can prepare information technology and web-development workers in months, and multinational firms such as Google now produce their own certificates that promise to be gateways to meaningful entry-level work. It discusses the different responses American colleges are taking to rival this, for example, some colleges are strengthening transfer pathways between two and four year schools, bringing industry-recognized credentials into the curriculum and putting more weight on training experiences. David Soo, Chief of Staff at Jobs for the Future commented “While colleges don’t need to become vocational programs, they will need to find new ways to meet the needs of students and the economy or they risk losing out on that huge future market for lifelong learning.”

Editorial reporting: Will Coronavirus Crisis Trigger an Enrollment Crisis?
Inside Higher Ed, February 13
U.S. colleges could see a major enrollment pipeline cut off if the coronavirusepidemic persists. Meanwhile, Australian universities are missing more than half their Chinese students weeks before their fall semester begins. As the number of students from China studying in the U.S. grew rapidly, fueled by a big increase in tuition-paying undergraduates, colleges and universities grew reliant on them to balance their budgets. The coronavirus threatens student flows and other forms of collaboration. Just how severe the impact will be willdepend on many unknown variables.

Opinion: Forget lifelong learning. What we need is learning for life
Ed Technology, 12 February
Julia Taylor, subject specialist in inclusive practice at Jisc, highlights that the UK is facing a crisis in adult and lifelong learning. A recent report reveals that there has been a rapid decline of mature learners, with nearly four million “lost” since 2010. In conjunction, the demand for reskilling and digital skills means that employees need to get accustomed to the digital workplace. Taylor argues that technology has a big role to play in upskilling workers and universities need to continue to think creatively about how they can best support inclusive educational experiences. She states “forget lifelong learning, which tends to conjure up outdated images of local evening classes in dusty halls. What we need is learning for life: a baseline belief that education supports every stage of every person’s career, no matter who they are or what their previous experiences of learning may be.”

New research: 71% of managers believe in the value of non-traditional qualifications
Ed Technology, 5 February

Research revealed on behalf of AVADO, the UK’s leading apprenticeship and digital skills provider, has uncovered that managers across the country see apprenticeships as the most effective route to a thriving career. In a managerial survey, 71% emphasised their belief in the value of non-traditional qualifications, including apprenticeships. Conversely, only 32% of managerscited a university degree as the most valuable asset when entering the workforce. The nation is facing a shortage of skilled professionals in cybersecurity systems, mobile computing, cloud computing and data analytics. With government focus remaining firmly in the realm of digital skills training and acquisition, apprenticeships could be key to closing the UK’s digital skills gap and innovating the workforce.



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