Skills Development

How Online Skill Training Startups Shifting Focus From A University-Based Curriculum To A More Industry-Oriented Training Approach

The need for additional training after recruitment is a massive added cost for the company. Students who completed college also realized that they had learned little during their undergraduate / graduate studies. Summing up, an increasing number of students and employers realized that the degrees that had been awarded were not as useful as they ought to have been and a much needed change is on the horizon.

A college education may be seen as necessary today, but it is becoming increasingly less relevant for professional success. One of the primary reasons for this is the rising popularity of online skill development platforms and their effectiveness in teaching new skills.

Consider what made an engineering degree highly prized over the last three decades? The initial growth of the IT Industry in India created a huge need for analytically bent and skilled employees for which trained engineering graduates looked to be the best bet. Since IT companies were eagerly hiring these engineers, many more people chose to study engineering due to the guarantee of a job. The IT boom in India across the 1990s and 2000s ensured that more high school students chose engineering as their preferred undergraduate studies with a guaranteed job in the IT sector irrespective of the engineering stream they pursued.

However, over the last few years, these companies have realized that they had to train graduates they had recruited. The need for additional training after recruitment is a massive added cost for the company. Simultaneously, students who completed college also realized that they had learned little during their undergraduate / graduate studies. In short, an increasing number of students and employers realized that the degrees that had been awarded were not as useful as they ought to have been and a much needed change is on the horizon.

A Need to Bridge the Learning Gap

The gap between what is taught in college and what is required to succeed professionally is wider today than it has ever been before. The 4th industrial revolution is further fueling this gap with low skill and process-based work starting to be outsourced to automation while high skilled work to be done by highly skilled human capital.

This gap is being successfully filled by online learning programs which have been nibbling away market share from traditional institutions and universities for a number of high value skills such as software engineering, AI & machines learning and more. A reason behind the success of online learning platforms over colleges and universities is that while the former can get the best experts from around the world to educate students anywhere in the world, the latter is bound by geographic constraints of their faculty. This limits the quality of faculty in many colleges and universities as many of the best in their field may not want to teach in a university or college simply because its location isn’t well suited to them. On the other hand, an online learning platform is able to work with the best educators and professionals in the world enabling their courses to have a much richer and relevant content and structure.

In India leaving aside the tier 1 colleges and some tier 2 colleges, the quality of education in institutes of higher learning is definitely not upto the mark. Many such institutes produce large volume of graduates a majority of whom are unemployable without further substantial training or skilling. However, online learning platforms are a big help in this area as these can be smartly used to educate students who really want to learn skills that makes them employable.

Another advantage that online learning platforms have over colleges is that colleges are burdened by  bureaucracy that takes time to make important decisions such as adding new curricula or changing course structures resulting in courses being redundant very quickly; online learning platforms are able to make these changes very swiftly keeping the relevance of their courses intact. Successful global and Indian online learning platforms have rightly understood the industry-wide relevant skills and have taken steps to successfully teach such skills. Online learning platform, on a smaller scale, have proven their viability in learning skills that can help young graduates and employees learn newer relevant skills and can be a very powerful tool to usher a very high skilled future employee pool.

The Future Holds Great Things

The future scope of online learning platforms is tremendous. What has happened thus far isn’t even close to as exciting as it is going to get once more people realize they can be eligible for more quality work and employment if they have a degree from a validated online learning platform instead of one from a mainstream university. Such a change would definitely drive more people to enroll with online learning platforms. Many companies are also realizing that some of the best people they hire have been educated by online learning platforms. Courses done on Udacity called Nanodegrees are actually enabling people to get high quality work. Consider that HCL, one of the leading Indian IT companies has created a plan to hire talented 12th standard graduates to building apps and test them which is further validation that the value of traditional degrees is diminishing in the eyes of the industry.

Gradually education is undergoing a shift away from mainstream universities and degrees, and moving towards online learning platforms. The relevance of a degree is gradually diminishing and the biggest beneficiaries of this change are online learning platforms. In a few years, a large number of engineering and other specialized colleges in their current form may actually become redundant. This means that they may not remain the same institutions in which students enroll and study for 3 years semester after semester. An evidence of this is that some of the leading universities in India have already created a structure where they have partnered with larger online learning platforms to allow students to acquire necessary credits by signing up for and completing online courses as part of the university program which is a wonderful growth opportunity for both the university and the online learning platform.

Challenges Faced by Online Learning Platforms

How online platforms will take the place of universities and colleges remains to be seen because a large challenge for learning complex skills online has a very low motivation factor among the learners since the system, unlike universities and colleges, does not have a sturdy checks and balances system in place. However, a push by the industry for students who have been acquired skills and degrees online as well as surety that at the end of online courses students find meaningful work will help overcome this challenge. So while there is a gradual shift towards online learning today, such learning still needs to be re-shaped so that it is directly beneficial to students across India.

Read More: Business World