Microlearning and Short Courses: The Secret to Business Recovery
Over the past 12 months, our perceptions of what our career path looks like have been seriously challenged.
COVID-19’s harshly exposed the vulnerability of many professions and sectors – in fact, research suggests the employment of two-thirds of working people in Australia has been impacted.
And, just as businesses have had to evolve what they do and become more resilient, so too have individuals.
Many have responded by arming themselves with a range of new skills and knowledge, so they’re ready to change direction at a moment’s notice, or offer more value in their current role.
“We live in an age in which the rapid pace of change can render things we learned even as recently as 12 months ago obsolete,” says Paul Wappett, CEO of the Australian Institute of Business.
“New jobs are coming into existence on a daily basis, and our existing jobs are changing shape in all manner of ways, including the technologies that we use, how we connect with others, the speed of turnaround expected and how we tailor our offerings for each specific customer.
“To not continue to learn – and to learn fast and to learn frequently – is a death knell in a job market that is only going to tighten in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and an economy where knowledge assets are now valued more highly than physical assets.”
Microlearning Key to Economic Recovery – Report
Over recent months, AIB has seen a surge of interest in 30-day short courses from professionals who want to upskill in a number of areas, including business analytics, business consulting, finance for non-financial managers, sales management, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and leadership. This interest isn’t surprising – a recent report by PWC identified skills-based short courses as being critical for businesses and individuals to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
In some cases, these people are registering privately; in other instances, their employers, recognising the need to upskill their staff, are investing in their continual development.
Ingrid Day, Academic Dean at AIB, says ‘microlearning’ is a term for our times, and is increasingly valuable in a world in which having multiple careers and roles is becoming commonplace.
“We’re all living in a time of work disruption, and in such a time, learning and certification are especially valuable. The more that you know, the more you can do, and the more you can evidence, the easier job-transitioning can be.
“While we see the increasing normalisation of multiple-careers and roles, and a growth in appetite to move up or out of jobs that no longer suit or satisfy as people evolve, one factor remains constant: that is, they need to demonstrate proficiency to secure that next job or promotion.”
Day also believes microlearning is gaining increased traction due to the relatively small time demands.
“Without devoting years of time and income while studying, it’s possible to undertake focused courses of study that meet specific; defined learning needs whether they be for promotion, for a career switch or simply to know more about a particular topic.
“Microlearning means that you can ‘cherry-pick’ what it is that you need to know more about, to be assessed, and to receive a certificate as evidence that you are now proficient.”
Equipping staff with the ability to be agile
From a business’s perspective, too, microlearning has great benefits as a mechanism to not only upskill staff but to test out capabilities for different roles as the organisation evolves, explains AIB lecturer in leadership, Dr Alicia Stanway.
“Microlearning has the advantage of self-directed, bite-sized learning, which can be used to upskill employees in a way that enhances their current performance, as well as reskilling individuals for new positions or career opportunities.
“If being nudged down the reskilling pathway, it’s also an effective way to test the waters and find out whether that potential new role is the right fit.”
For people who’ve not experienced education for a while but have considered doing an MBA, for example, a 30-day microlearning course can also be a good introduction to modern learning.
AIB CEO Wappett says, “If you went to university 20 years ago and haven’t undertaken much formal learning since, you’ll be astounded at how much connection and interaction can be undertaken in an online classroom, and how easily you’ll be able to collaborate with people from across the globe who are looking to learn about the same things you are.”
If you’d like to find out more about AIB’s 30-day short courses, click here.