D2L Study Suggests Corporate Training Programmes are Insufficent to Meet Reskilling Challenge Posed by Automation | Press Release | D2L Europe
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  • London, UK

D2L Study Suggests Corporate Training Programmes are Insufficent to Meet Reskilling Challenge Posed by Automation

Press Release

Only 20% of UK organisations who have adapted their L&D offering to address a potential AI skills gap offer the required real-world practice to hone new skills; L&D professionals and employees list adaptability, flexibility and interpersonal skills among the most valuable in the modern workplace

D2L, a global learning technology leader, has announced the results of two surveys of 500 learning and development (L&D) leaders and 500 employees at UK organisations, which reveal new insights into British preparedness to meet the reskilling challenge posed by automation and AI, and the evolving role of technology in the overall corporate learning experience.

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 more than a third of the desired core skillsets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to that job today. As such, many employees will need to be upskilled to focus more on increasing human interaction and providing a more personalised service.

Reskilling preparedness
D2L’s research revealed that 74% of L&D professionals believe the rise of automation and AI is having a serious effect on their workforce, and 59% have subsequently adapted their L&D programmes to address this challenge. Despite this, nearly a third (32%) do not believe, or are unsure, whether their current L&D offering is adequate to address the potential skills gaps caused by AI and automation. Employees are even less confident: 60% believe automation will have some effect on their careers over the next five years, and 59% don’t believe, or are unsure, whether their current L&D offering can meet these challenges.

“Clearly there is a disconnect between what L&D practitioners believe will meet the reskilling challenge, and how employees see the situation,” says Alan Hiddleston, Director of Corporate Sales EMEA at D2L. “Although many L&D professionals are changing their programmes to address shifting requirements, this research suggests they are doing so without the requisite staff consultation. Half of the employees questioned had been negatively impacted because of a lack of training, and almost ninety per cent agreed that the quality of an organisation’s L&D offering impacts their decision on whether or not to work there. As such, this disconnect could lead to turbulence in how employees engage with their training, poorer reskilling outcomes and employee discontent.”

Desirable future skills and how to cultivate them
The research also found that L&D professionals and employees differ in their views of not only how training should be delivered, but what skill sets that training should cultivate.

In response to current reskilling challenge, most L&D professionals have evolved their offering to make training available to a larger number of employees (57%) and invested in technology that changes the way training is delivered (48%). The least common adaptation to L&D programmes has been including opportunities for real world practice (20%). Conversely, employees cited their organisation would do well to add new technology features that enable collaboration and include rich content like video (26%) and including more opportunities for real world practice (24%).

“With the vast majority of workers currently working remotely, and the future of the office space uncertain, it’s even more important that businesses invest their L&D budgets into technologies and programmes that provide remote employees the opportunity for real-world practice of valuable soft skills. Of course, collaboration tools have seen a great uptick in usage during recent months, but this has been largely confined to those that enable teams to work together efficiently and maintain momentum for the meantime, rather than learn together collaboratively for the future” says Hiddleston.

When L&D professionals were asked which skills would be most important for employees to develop over the next three years, 42% cited technical skills, with interpersonal skills (37%) the second most popular option. When asked about skills development over the coming years, employees cited interpersonal skills (38%), written and oral communication (38%) and cognitive skills (37%) among the most likely to be very important.

Lack of agility in L&D
In 2017, D2L conducted similar research among HR professionals and employees in the UK, which also found that enterprise L&D programmes weren’t meeting the expectations of staff, for different reasons. The 2017 research found that, despite 78% of employees stating that it was important that their organisation was leveraging new technologies for learning, only 15% of HR directors agreed.

“When we compare this to the results from our previous study, it appears that many organisations unfortunately remain a step behind the demands of their employees when it comes to corporate learning. While some of the technological concerns raised in 2017’s study have been addressed, L&D professionals now face the challenge of providing newer solutions that enable greater collaboration, as well as providing real-world training opportunities. For a programme to be effective, it is important to keep pace with new learning challenges and styles as they emerge,” concludes Hiddleston.

Methodology
Data for this survey was collected by Censuswide on behalf of D2L. Censuswide was responsible for data collected, data analysis and reporting. Censuswide and D2L collaborated on the survey questionnaire. All survey responses were captured between 24th January and 3rd February 2020. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

 

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D2L’s Brightspace is a cloud-based learning platform that makes learning easy, flexible and smart. Brightspace is not like a traditional Learning Management System (LMS), it is easy to create engaging courses and content, integrate video, personalise learning, capture and share expertise across the organisation, and supports all mobile devices. Plus, Brightspace enables the future of learning with adaptive learning, intelligent agents, course interactives, full support for competency-based learning and world-leading learning analytics. Our clients report improved productivity, performance growth, lower turnover of employees, greater engagement and ultimately better business outcomes.

 

ABOUT D2L

D2L believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests. Working closely with organisations globally, D2L has transformed the way millions of people learn online and in the classroom. Learn more about D2L for schools, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com.

D2L Press Contact

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Fueling up:

Upskilling to grow careers

Name: Zaria
Age: 27

Policy prescriptions: Invest in a Learning-Integrated Life; Transform the learning of today with new partnerships; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Zaria has five years of work experience and is ready to change jobs and enter a field that has high growth potential in her region. The national government has been investing in collecting better skills-based labour market information for years and has developed a public platform to offer individuals specialized tools to assess their skills against current market needs, and to locate employers that are currently hiring.

On the employer side, the human resources team is closely examining a recent internal skills audit done at their organization and determines that the organization needs additional digital marketing specialists. They initiate a search for individuals with the skills they will soon need and spot a strong candidate in Zaria who requires only light training on regulatory issues regarding the sale of electric vehicles, along with some formal skills development courses on social media marketing strategy. After a successful interview, Zaria is offered the job.

Upon joining, Zaria will receive an educational benefits stipend from the company, and access to a company-provided platform of curated programs for skills building from approved providers. Upon completion of a set of courses, Zaria will receive a credential from a company approved program verifying her technical knowledge and marking the end of her probationary period at the company. To ensure she continues to build her skills, she will move into a formal mentor program with one of her colleagues to receive continual peer-to-peer feedback on her demonstration of skills and knowledge. information

This affordable and accessible learning through employer-funded training has enabled Zaria to begin working while also upskilling to ensure her long-term success in the company and growing industry. The employer is investing in its employees, and company leaders are thinking further into the future about the skills the company needs, and the types of job candidates who will succeed. This match, based on skills potential, was made possible because of government investment in high-quality labour market information and a national platform that matches job candidates with career opportunities based on the candidates’ skills and the identified skill needs of a given job.

Taking the road less travelled:

A networked postsecondary education

Name: Sam
Age: 18

Policy prescriptions: Transform the learning of today with new partnerships

Sam is a prospective postsecondary student who has always been interested in pursuing a global and interdisciplinary education. Sam’s siblings have all instilled in her the importance of studying abroad, having spoken fondly of their academic exchange semesters, field research trips, and intensive language immersion programs. She is inspired, but unsure whether this pathway will be available if she chooses not to complete a four-year degree at one institution.

Sam is interested in understanding how emerging technologies can be used to modernize and improve government services—an area in need of talent not only in her home country of Canada but also abroad. She could take on a general political science, public administration, engineering, or computer science degree at the university close to her home, but none of those degrees feels like the right fit to build the skills she needs to pursue this career interest.

While researching options, Sam learns of a new degree completion pathway that allows students to take courses from a network of universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutions throughout Canada and stack them for skills-based  credentials that are recognized by major Canadian employers. A set of four of these credentials grants an individual a degree-equivalent endorsed by each institution. Sam identifies the skills and knowledge she wants to work towards and charts out four credential pathways:

  1. Service delivery design
  2. Change management
  3. Applications of emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence)
  4. Machinery of government

With this customized learning pathway, Sam has full flexibility to decide how she wants to structure her courses, the institutions within the network she will study at, and the format and model of courses she prefers—whether live in-class instruction or online courses.

Cost flexibility is built in as well—students pay a standard fee based on the number of competencies they intend to learn rather than the normal standard of ‘credit hours’. The province in which Sam lives has endorsed this networked model of  postsecondary education and adjusted its financial assistance program to better support students. Grants and other non-repayable assistance take into consideration the number of courses the student is taking across all institutions when assessing financial need. Previously, Sam would have been required to be a full-time student at every institution to receive support.

Sam also has the option of starting with foundational courses or applying for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) information so her existing knowledge and skills can be tested and she can move on to more advanced topics.

Sam completes her first three credentials in three years and uses her certifications to apply for a one-year work-integrated learning experience with the federal government in Germany where she can learn first-hand about the applications of artificial intelligence in government. When she returns home, she applies for PLAR to certify her learning on the machinery of government and is granted a degree acknowledging her four-part customized education.

The collaboration between universities, polytechnics, and colleges to create a networked approach to degree completion, and its endorsement by the provincial government, allowed Sam to graduate as an alumnus of multiple postsecondary education institutions. Her exposure to different thought spaces and networks was highly valuable for ensuring she was engaged throughout her education and set up for post-graduation success. In the rapidly evolving field she has chosen, she understands how important it is to continuously upskill, and is prepared to return to formal education for more stackable credentials as she continues throughout her career.

Route guidance:

Personalized professional development

Name: ZheYuan
Age: 33

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

ZheYuan is about to join Marama’s school as a new secondary school teacher. He completed his professional teacher education a decade ago, and teaching looks a bit different today than it did when he was studying. With the incorporation of learning technologies in the classroom, and expectations of teachers delivering competency-based education information, he needs personalized professional development to feel comfortable and supported in this new opportunity.

The school district has been on its own learning journey since shifting to a competency-based education model, and has had some growing pains. Over time, the district has come to recognize that success depends on school administrators working closely with teachers to co-create systems of instruction, and pathways to professional development. The district has its own online learning management system (LMS) for teacher professional development, with a catalogue of content covering a range of subjects including:

  • Strategies for student-centred instruction
  • Design thinking—how to prototype and iterate on solutions to test new approaches
  • Online content—using learning management systems to advance competency-based education
  • Data analysis—interpreting student progress

ZheYuan is excited that he can take on professional learning to suit his needs on his own schedule. He recalls an earlier time when he had to spend nine hours a month in-person taking the same professional development courses as his peers who were teaching very different subjects and had varied skill levels and pedagogical needs than him, which was less than effective.

ZheYuan can also take advantage of his teacher community in the LMS, connecting both in asynchronous chats and in live discussions with other teachers and experts from across his region to ask questions and share his experiences. He sees some upcoming dialogues hosted by his school district to share learnings and signs up for those sessions, knowing he will get a valuable peer perspective from other teachers. ZheYuan is thankful that his school leaders recognize and value professional learning and provide the supports and the time needed for improvement.

D2L Whitepaper Contributors

Lead Authors:
Malika Asthana, Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs
Joe Pickerill, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, International

Contributors:
Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching and Learning
Brendan Desetti, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, United States
Mike Semansky, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, Canada
Nia Brown, Senior Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs

In the driver’s seat:

Owning the personalized learning journey

Name: Marama
Age: 14

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Marama is enrolled in a school with a competency-based education model information. Students are responsible for owning the personalization of their learning pathways, making choices alongside their teachers in how and when they learn.iii Teachers play a central role in guiding and validating all learning, regardless of where it takes place—offering formative assessments to evaluate a student’s mastery of skills and knowledge. Teachers use data from these assessments, gathered through an online learning management system (LMS), to differentiate instruction and provide targeted supports so that all students progress toward graduation. As a student diagnosed with a learning disability, Marama is supported in her education by this personalized learning pathway.

All students complete an assessment in ninth grade to identify their natural strengths as a learner. Their teachers use the results as inputs to design tailormade educational pathways with learning materials and activities that suit the individual students’ learning needs. In Marama’s case, this includes:

  1. Supplementing lecture-based teaching with structured but independent reading
  2. Shadowing professionals who work on the concepts she is learning about
  3. Taking the stories and lessons she’s learned and sharing it back with classmates by designing a creative and interactive presentation

Over the course of the school year, Marama spends a third of her time in live lectures (sometimes online) with her teacher alongside other classmates—but the rest of her time is spent learning in the ways that suit her best. She can log into her online LMS from her mobile device to access her school resources and complete on her own schedule before the assigned deadline. When Marama finds a concept that interests her, she can ask her teachers and counsellor for support in finding a working professional to speak to, or work alongside for a couple weeks, from the network her school has curated over time. And when she has learned something, she is encouraged to reinforce her learning by applying her skills and developing content to share back with her classmates.

Marama’s personalized learning journey empowers her to own her education by learning in ways that are effective for her, with the support that allows her to be successful. Her teachers have high-quality data about student strengths and performance they can share with her parents to show them how she is mastering specific skills, and where she may need extra support. Her school experience empowers her to embrace her subject interests very early on, and she advances to deeper topics quickly as she submits evidence of learning that demonstrates her proficiency. She graduates having cultivated a mindset for self-directed learning early in her education.