For the times they are a-changin’:

The world is changing. And it’s changing fast!

The world is becoming more globalized, including more economically and digitally and culturally integrated. And it’s becoming more disrupted, as digital and mobile technology changes the way we do business, work, and socialize.

These changes and disruption are getting faster and more pervasive in all aspects of business, work and education.

A lot of this change is good and it’s helping us, but some of it is creating challenges for business and people in the labour market.

Adapt or lose

Video killed the radio star:

Things are changing for students in education and for people in the labour market too. Digital disruption is a BIG part of this change in education, but so too are the changing trends in global demographics, politics and economics.

For children and young adults, the time spent in education before entering the labour market is getting longer (as more people go to university or tertiary college) and it’s getting more expensive [Just ask anyone with a student loan]. Also, while young adults may secure a degree at university, when they leave formal education they often do so without any relevant vocational skills, expertise or experience — thereby making it more difficult for them to find their first job and get on the career-ladder.

For Millennials, this is why their top 3 criteria of an employer-of-choice are: 1. Has strong values; 2. Will develop my skills for the future; 3. Offers me room to grow. For young people, skills development and life-long learning have become of existential importance in their working life and career!

In the labour market, people now are living and working longer than in previous generations, but while people’s working lives are getting longer their tenure is getting shorter in any one job, employer or career.

This means the skills that people need over the course of their working lives will keep shifting and changing. It’s a case of keep adapting and developing your skills, while if you don’t then your job may become automated or extinct! Basically, the need for life-long learning is the new normal for people all around the world, whether they live in America, South Africa or in China.

All around the world, people are living to a far older age and they’re having less children too. This is the demographic trend of the ‘greying population’. In short, this trend is where the number of older people in a country’s population out-number the amount of young people in the workforce, while there then aren’t enough young people entering the workforce to replace all the older people who are retiring (or who need social and health care).

Also, if people live longer than the traditional age-of-retirement then this will need to change in order to reflect this trend. This will mean more people will need to work to an older age than has been the case in previous generations. Both employees and employers are going to have to change their expectations and behaviours to adapt to this BIG trend.

In Western economies, employers will need to employ more older people and to train them in new careers, skills, products and technologies. This alone won’t be enough to counter the trend in greying demographics. Also, Western economies and societies will need to rely more on offshoring and outsourcing of services to developing economies (in Asia, Africa, and South America), where there are larger populations — especially of young people.

In order for this growing need (and economic opportunity) in offshoring and outsourcing to succeed, then the developing economies will require more people in their labour market to become more educated and skilled than is currently the case. Critically, it will increase the need for language competency in English, Spanish, and French (and probably Chinese too) in the developing economies and emerging markets.

More than words:

Globalization has meant the convergence and integration of economic and social activity. In the 20thC and 21stC, globalization has seen the rise of a dominant language of business (and science, computing, and other creative fields): English.

As a result, a high value is associated with bilingualism, especially for people who have English as a second language.

In today’s world, either being born into a family that speaks English as a first-language or into an environment where a person can learn English as a second-language endows that person with a life-long advantage and economic opportunity.

One key to ‘levelling the playing field’ of life’s opportunties for people in Asia, Africa and South America is to help them to learn a second language — in particular, English.

However, there’s a long way to go before enough people in Asia, Africa and South America speak (and read and write) English to a proficent level to meet the economic demand and opportunity — both for the opportunity today and tomorrow’s demand! For example, in India in 2008, only 1.5 million people spoke fluent English in a labour market of over 400 million people; yet the economic demand for fluent English-speakers in India far exceeds the available supply.

This both is a BIG challenge and a BIG opportunity.

It’s BIG challenge to get the quality and quantity of learning opportunities to such a large number of people that need it in order to thrive in the modern economy (many of whom don’t have access to good local education infrastructure or teachers in the first place).

It’s a BIG opportunity because that’s one BIG growth market for the providers of education, especially for teaching English as a second language! It’s a growth market ideally suited to online learning solutions. And it’s a growth market that is going to require a lot of great teachers to deliver some of that online learning.

Bilingualism is the future

Against the wind:

Unfortunately, whether in the Western markets or in developing economies, the traditional education systems and institutions are not adapting fast enough to these changing circumstances. Many of their programmes are not linked strongly enough to the vocational training and skills that employers actually need, while they learning experience they provide are not engaging enough for online (paying) students.

Not only that, but since 2001 the tuition cost of traditional education keeps getting greater year-on-year, yet the wages of graduates’ entering the labour market have been declining (relative to what new graduates entering the labour market earned in the 1980s and 1990s).

Even as wages are falling for new graduates entering the labour market, those people without a graduate degree (or an equivalent tertiary qualification) are finding it harder and harder to find (and keep) employment. This minimally educated segment of the population risk becoming even more marginalized, because they become shut out of the formal economy and as a result it increases the rates of inequality in society.

In short, all over the world, many people are working harder and longer but for less financial reward and less job security. This isn’t going to change unless we can up-skill and educate more people more often and more effectively. This is a BIG challenge facing the world! The question is: How can fix this problem, effectively and at scale?

Like a dog with a bone: eLearning tenaciously solving the world’s learning challenges!

Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink:

The need for more and better life-long learning isn’t only affecting people in the labour market. It’s having an impact on business and employers too.

For examples of this, ManpowerGroup’s global survey in 2013, with participants from 40,000 employers around the world, found the following trends:

· 35% of all employers are struggling to fill their vacancies, with 1 in 3 employers in the USA are experiencing a skills shortage when hiring for their vacancies and a 1 in 4 skills shortage for European employers’ vacancies.

· The main reason that 73% of employers gave for being unable to fill their vanacies is: a lack of people with the right mix and level of skills, experience, and knowledge for the job.

· The ‘war for talent’ is increasingly a global challenge as well as a local one, with more and more multinational companies looking for top talent to support their emerging market footprints (and vice versa, as emerging market multinationals start to create footprints in the developed economies).

Adding to the education and skills challenges faced by people (and by employers) is the long-term trend of employers decreasing their own spend on L&D / training for employees. Since 1995, less people than ever receive training and skills-development investment at their place of work.

America’s Council Of Economic Advisers, in 2015, found that the share of the USA’s workforce receving training (either paid for by their employer or on-the-job training) has been falling continuously from 1996 to 2008. While in the UK, it’s almost halved in the same period!

It’s a war for talent!

This hard land:

So, many people are working harder and longer for less financial reward and less job security. At the same time, opportunities for people receiving training and skills-development at their employer is falling, while formal tertiary education is becoming more unaffordable year on year. As a result, across the world the rates of inequality in society are the highest they’ve been since the 1930s!

Faster, longer, harder! Living the dream?

This isn’t going to change unless we can up-skill and educate more people, more often and more effectively. This is a BIG challenge facing the world now! As we mentioned before, the question is: How can fix this problem, effectively and at scale?

Unfortunately, the solution isn’t going to come from the traditional education sector. Not at the scale needed. The traditional education sector is complex and fragmented, as well as it’s very localized in it’s delivery footprint (which makes it hard to scale).

It’s difficult for the traditional education sector to adapt quickly enough to the changing trends in technology, consumer behaviour, the skills employers need from workers today, and the life-long learning needs of ordinary people (and students).

Added to this, traditional educational instutions are large hierarchal organizations which can be slow-moving when it comes to adapting their curriculums and teaching format to align with fast-changing skills and knowledge trends in the vocational marketplace.

This means there’s a growing market of B2C life-long learners who need affordable learning solutions that are flexible and provide the sort of skills-outcomes that employers value and need. However, at present, this market segment is not being catered to properly by the traditional educational market, such as schools and universities.

Life can be hard!

Plug me in:

How can these many challenges facing the world, employers and students be addressed in a way that meets all the competing needs and different stakeholders?

Happily, online learing (AKA: eLearning) is looking like it might be the answer to many of the questions that need answering, in order to help solve these complex challenges facing the world!

Online learning programmes and media offer flexibility to students (and employers) that means that they can study as and when it suits them. Remote and just-in-time learning solutions and services are less intrusive for employees work schedule and social schedule, than formal classroom based education tends to be.

Also, online learning offers flexiblity in it’s ability to quickly adapt and change its curriculums, delivery format, and media /content to suit the changing vocaitional skills and knowledge-needs that employers and students require. Not only is it more flexible than traditional education in this way, also it has demonstrated that it can move faster in making these adaptations.

Every year, there are more certified online providers offering a greater range of subjects, courses and interventions. Every year, more of the online learning providers are growing their vocational offering, as well as their more traditional academic programmes.

The best news for students, especially for those already in employment in the formal economy and who are keen on up-skilling themselves, is that online learning is very affordable: far more so than the courses offered at traditional education institutions. This means that the life-long learning that people need (in order to keep building and maintaining sustainable employment throughout there career) is more obtainable. And it means that they are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning, therefore they no longer need to rely on the grace of their employers for this.

The other good news for students and learners (of all ages) is that studies show that when they pay a fee for their own course then their completion rates are 10% to 60% better than if they do a free course (or if someone else pays for it (like an employer)).

The flexibility of online learning

Voulez-vous:

The flexibility and value for money that online learning programmes and tuition offer are great for the teaching of second-languages too!

Online learning allows people in Asia, Africa and South America scalable access to first-language Enligh-speaking teachers.

Not only that, but it allows them around-the-clock access, so suiting students in any timezone! This is because of the advantage created by the strategic geographic-placement of remote teaching-centres around the globe.

That’s where The Really Great Teacher Company comes in!

Learning a second-language with Friends

With a little help from my friends:

The Really Great Teacher Company knows that great online teachers are critical to providing high quality learning experiences for your students.

We are perfectly positioned to help our clients find the right teachers and teaching solutions for their business. We serve online schools and learning institutes worldwide, by ensuring that their students get the best quality English teachers.

The Really Great Teacher Company gives your company access to comprehensive and high quality teacher management solutions, including everything from finding them, to training them and to fully managing them. We’ll tailor-make your perfect online teacher solution to suit your exact need and you’ll love the results!

We know great teachers, we know how to find them and then apply them to your challenges!

Want to find out more about The Really Great Teacher Company:

Get in touch with us to find out more about transformative online teaching and learning trends, as well as for more about the power of our great teacher solutions and how we can assist you at: danie@reallygreatteachers.com

Learn more about The Really Great Teacher Company at our website: http://reallygreatteachers.com