The Pandemic brought the world to its knees but it also brought us one bright light: Interest in Online Learning.
I know that sounds crazy but it is true. By some accounts, interest in online learning grew over 600% in 2020. And before you say “duh!” I would like to point out that interest doesn’t always translate into action but in this case, it should!
It is very clear that while hanging out at home, online courses became a way of filling time and helping a student develop their skills and abilities. All the media reports were just waiting for things to return to normal. Schools, parents, and students were all waiting for a “normal” to return; but somewhere along the way, we all realized that online learning is powerful. E-learning means flexibility, time to grasp concepts, and a tool that could actually elevate our lives and careers. Online learning was heading people into the 21st century and that readers, was long overdue!
Embracing online learning is now going to be the new “normal.”
Advancing Your Career
Online learning showed us how it can impact our careers. Just look at LinkedIn for example. This professional networking site has over 756 million members worldwide. There are over 57 million businesses and 120,000 schools that are actively posting on LinkedIn accounts. There are over 200 countries represented and if you love demographics, according to Hootsuite, the largest age demographic on LinkedIn is 25-34-year-olds ( 59.9% of users). 18-24-year-olds are in second place (20.3% of users), followed by 35-54-year-olds (16.9 % of users). The over 55 users sadly, only account for 3% of total users but that number is increasing as the platform because easier to use. Why is all this important?
How easy is it today to advance your career when there are over 57 million businesses listed on LinkedIn and 45% of those businesses are looking for employees?
LinkedIn is probably the most important way that you can elevate and advance your career by updating your profile with all the online courses you take. At the beginning of 2021, there were over 14 million open jobs on LinkedIn, which means that it is no surprise that over 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to find candidates who are learning more, upskilling for the 21st century, and taking action on their own behalf.
We all know how important it is to gain credentials and skills to better your career prospects. Certificates, for example, have always been useful tools to boost up your resume and bring validity to your professional reputation, and now they are even easier to attain through online learning.
Up-Skilling Matters in the 21st Century
According to Dictionary.com:
to teach (an employee) additional skills. “this is an opportunity to upskill staff and expand their capabilities”
(of an employee) learn additional skills. “they will provide grants of up to 75% for staff who decide to upskill”
It is very important to learn new skills especially when you consider that today’s hottest jobs didn’t even exist five years ago, and I am not talking about coders or robot engineers. Many of the jobs we already know have pivoted into new areas requiring different skills than what was needed before. Most recruiters will tell you that there is a much higher demand for candidates who have the ability and desire to learn more and “upskill” Once a learner, always a learner. So taking the initiative to learn more about the industry you are in or want to be in, and buckling down to start and hopefully finish a course online tells employers that you motivated to be better. And that matters more than you would think.
Soft Skills Are In Demand
Learning new skills online is a skill in itself. It says something about the learner when they don’t have to do something, but decide to invest in their own betterment. According to Balance Careers, these are the top “soft skills” in demand by employers today:
- Acting as a team player – being cooperative, but also displaying strong leadership skills when necessary.
- Flexibility – this is an extremely valuable asset to employees. Those who can adapt to any situation are dependable no matter what’s thrown at them.
- Effective communication – this is paramount to almost any job. Communication involves articulating oneself well, being a good listener and using appropriate body language.
- Problem-solving and resourcefulness – no matter what your profession, these skills are critical when unexpected issues inevitably arise.
- Accepting feedback – not only accepting feedback gracefully but also applying that feedback, fosters professional growth.
- Confidence in their abilities – that being said, it’s also important to always have the knowledge and skills to support self-assurance. By being confident and capable, your supervisors, employees, and clients will believe in what you are saying.
- Creative thinking – being able to come up with unique solutions or alternatives is invaluable; it drives innovation and increases efficiency.
These are all skills that cannot be taken in a course, but by taking online courses to learn new skills you are demonstrating to recruiters, your boss, and potential employers that you have most, if not all, of the skills above! It isn’t easy to find a course, register, and discipline yourself to actually do the work. Reaching out online and asking for help seems incredibly obvious, but most online instructors will tell you that online learners that finish courses let nothing stop them from moving on to the next most important thing. Be proud of your certificates and online diploma.
According to Edsurge, only between 5 to 15 percent of students who start free open online courses actually end up earning a certificate. That doesn’t mean that online learning is a failure. In fact, online courses that offer relevant skills that cost money, show an increasing rate of completion. Some as high as 85% of learners finish successfully. I am not certain, but I am sure we can assume that learners who are “investing” in their skills may just bring with them more of those in-demand soft skills too!
After almost 18 months of sheltering in place who do you think is more in demand: The person who binge-watched everything on Netflix or the candidate who has placed on their resume a list of online short courses, certificate courses, or traditional e-learning courses? The person investing in their own career skills is sure to rise to the top!
When Experience Is Lacking, Think Online Training
“Experience” is one of those requirements that has changed quite a bit in recent years when advancing your career opportunities. Senior roles have come down from 15+ years to just 5 years of actual work experience. But what if you don’t actually have any real experience say working with kids, and you really want to go into teaching or childcare? First of all, most companies today want people with different experiences and different points of view on their team. So it is not uncommon to have someone with no actual work experience in a particular role, like HR, for example. Hiring today is also about “transferable skills” and the ability for candidates to show that they are actively learning new skills. For teachers, however, there are skills and certifications that are required and luckily, many new online courses today can fill in these gaps for people who want to work with children.
E-Learning is Learning
The days of skepticism over whether or not e-learning courses are valid and useful are long gone. Sure, you have to choose a reputable course offered on a reputable platform but the investment in your ongoing professional development should never stop, even after you advance in your career. With job titles completely evaporating in five years, today we have to make room in our lives for online professional development.
The benefits of E-learning on your career are numerous:
- Learn new in demand and oftentimes required – job skills when you need them
- Take courses alongside your current job without a huge time investment
- Flexible learning schedules around kids, family, and even pandemics
- Learn from instructors with actual, not just theoretical, experience
- Access to learning and educators from learners living in remote areas is incredible
- Become a global citizen and learn from experts in other parts of the world
All of these benefits are saying something about the kind of person you are to an employer. Motivated, open-minded, goal-oriented, long-term thinker, and problem solver extraordinaire! Who wouldn’t want to have you on their team? Do not be afraid to use your online learning experiences as proof that you own these characteristics when you interview. In fact, you can even change the minds of your interviewer who may be skeptical of online learning.
Choose Your Community of E-Learners
I am not here to put down large learning platforms with thousands of courses–be they free, low cost, or at a “masterclass” premium, but I am going to advise you to find a platform where your community of learners understands your career passion and direction. That means that some sites just are not going to be the ones for you, including the ones I like! People who work in the industry of educating children are not like other industries. They have a passion and commitment that goes beyond just career ladders and benefit plans. Teachers, care providers, and advocates that are focused on the education and welfare of children from age zero to eighteen are perfectly different when it comes to their career. That is why taking online courses from a learning platform that is focused on training adults who work with or for children globally, is a rare gift in this world.
The Global Childhood Academy Learning Platform is focused on adults who work with or teach children. That can be a preschool assistant, a nanny, an anti-bullying trainer, or even a lawyer who only handles issues related to the care and well-being of children. Each one of those professional roles has differing requirements and training but all of them encompass the same internal drive and passion to make the world a better place by lifting children up. That is what the GCA Platform is all about: offering online learning courses for adults who work with or teach the global child. If this is you: Check out their catalog of E-Learning by setting up a free account. The sooner you do, the more you will learn.
#elearning #adultswhoworkwithchildren #lms #globalchild #careeradvancement #softskills #continuingeducation #earlychildhoodeducators
Author: Maria Bereket is a content creator, strategist, and online learning designer. She is a passionate advocate for Early Childhood Education and access to online learning.