By Anant Agarwal
We are on the precipice of a new decade. In popular culture, this is perhaps most recently signaled by Spotify’s Decade Wrapped campaign, which served as a relatively constant reminder that the 2010s are about to become history.
2020 has been an auspicious date for many years, with companies and governments using this date as the deadline to accomplish their next moonshot initiative or goal. This year comes with very high expectations, and it’s incredibly exciting to arrive here and look ahead at what might change in the next 10, 20 or 50 years.
In 2020, the line between the future of work and the future of education will continue to blur, with the overall transition to lifelong learning (learning while working, and vice versa) continuing to pick up steam into the new decade. We can also expect to see these three trends in corporate learning:
- Increased corporate investment in learning: Companies will increase their investment in agile learning opportunities for their employees whose jobs are eroding or in decline due to technological change. Aligned with the trends towards stakeholder capitalism illustrated by the refreshed Davos Manifesto and the new conclusions of the U.S. Business Roundtable, these companies recognize the importance of making their workforce a priority. They will support their workers through skills adjacencies programs or investing in learning opportunities to improve their employability. edX has talked extensively about this as a moral responsibility of corporations.
- Rapid expansion in undergraduate-level online, credentials: As the pace of technological change further exacerbates education and income disparity, especially around low- and middle-skills jobs, demand for undergraduate-level learning will grow. The most effective programs will be online, matched well with industry needs, and teach immediately transferable skills. This will result in a rapid expansion of the online credentials marketplace to include a broader variety of undergraduate-level programs and credentials.
- Transition from transactional learning to a culture of lifelong learning: To date, corporate learning initiatives have been fairly transactional. For example, a company identifies a team of employees in need of specific learning, trains them in one skill, and continues driving towards business goals. In 2020, companies will put people over immediate profit, and take a more holistic approach to these initiatives. This means moving beyond a focus on upskilling and reskilling to a broader emphasis on worker employability and fostering a culture of learning. This includes offering training with technical skill areas as well as power skill areas like writing, public speaking and teamwork. These companies recognize that their talent is the most important asset, and that workers stay longer at companies that support their development and growth.
How do you see the future of work continuing to change in 2020? Leave your thoughts in the comments.