E-Learning Can Bridge the Gap Between Skilled And Unskilled
Skills gap is a major roadblock for both employers and employees in India. According to a recent IBM study, the Indian executives surveyed believe that much of the nation’s current higher education system fails to meet the needs of students, industry and society.
Also, the current scenario of IT industry calls for more workforce to upgrade their skills. But time, space and availability may be hindrances in this path. An answer for this can be sought in e-learning. In India, e-learning is a very broad and deep market. There are several segments such as Instructor-led Virtual Academies which provide virtual classroom environments; Virtual Labs which are set up by the government or tier I universities like virtual practice environments among others. Apart from these, there are student and campus-focused online learning companies, and there are numerous online players focused on schools, tuitions etc.
E-learning platform, Pluralsight is focused on self-paced learning for enterprises and technology professionals. In an exclusive conversation with CXOToday, Arun Rajamani, Country GM, Pluralsight India discusses how the company provides a learning platform that combines content with assessments, skill paths, mentoring, gamification and customizability features that help customers meet talent, agility and ROI goals they set for themselves as a business. Here are the edited excerpts.
CXOToday: How big is the online education market in India?
Rajamani: This segment in terms of people is about 2.75 million, and is set to grow to 5.2 million tech professionals in 2018, thereby overtaking the US to be the largest developer population in the world.
CXOToday: What is the current market scenario of IT industry in India?
Rajamani: There is a lot of noise in the media which sounds like the death knell has been sounded for the IT industry. I would caution against overzealous negativity. Remember the Indian IT industry is almost 40 years old. When industries transcend decades, they need to face and overcome generational shifts in technology and business models. What we are seeing now is a combination of rapid technology evolution towards digital and new-tech and business model evolution towards driving more non-linear revenue growth. The need for re-skilling the Indian technology workforce stems from this combination.
CXOToday: Tell us about Pluralsight’s journey so far.
Rajamani: Pluralsight was started in 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah with a mission of creating a better world through technology and closing the technology skills gap. We are one of the Salt Lake City unicorns valued at over $1 billion. Pluralsight supports more than 4 million technology professionals and 13,000 enterprises across the world, including India. In India, in a short span of 3 years, we have acquired more than 300 enterprise technology companies as customers and are helping them with re-skilling for a digital-led technology world.
CXOToday: Do you have tie-ups with IT companies or is it more individual centric? Please let us know how it works.
Rajamani: Pluralsight caters to the learning needs of both individuals and enterprises. For enterprises, we have an annual subscription model and for individuals we have both monthly as well as annual subscription models. We are quickly moving to enterprise-wide engagements where we become the technology learning platform for all technology employees of the company.
CXOToday: At what rate (percentage) are people shifting to online mode of education?
Rajamani: The number of hours of learning that we are clocking in India on Pluralsight has grown by 250% in 3 years. If you combine that with the fact that more than 300 customers have signed up with us including some of the largest tech companies in India, that would give you a good indication of the rate of shift towards online as the preferred mode of learning both from an individual as well as company’s point of view
CXOToday: Can you please site some benefits of this mode of education?
Rajamani: Here is how online learning is beneficial:
Mapping learning to business objectives and Hyper-personalization of learning experience: Leveraging data and analytics from online learning platforms, enterprises can invest in segmenting their employee base based on their current skill levels through online assessments and tailor the learning content towards what they need to learn for re-skilling with dedicated learning paths.
Make re-skilling collaborative with Gamification and Live Mentoring: Enterprises are incorporating gamification on e-learning platforms to make learning fun and interesting thereby making re-skilling more effective. Gamification brings in elements of competitiveness, pride and prize into learning programs. Gamification will also bring in the social element to learning.
Balancing Push vs. Pull-based in re-skilling: While reskilling, Enterprises are balancing between prescriptive learning and a learn-as-you-wish approach or in other words, a push vs. pull approach to learning. This will give enough freedom to learners to explore skills on their own while sticking to employer guidelines on target skills.
Re-skilling needs a Journey view of Learning vs. a milestone view: While there are several e-learning business models out there, choosing a subscription-model is the best way to ensure that learning never stops at say one course or one certification, but continues to grow as you progress in your career. With cloud-learning coming to the fore, professionals can now subscribe to monthly or annual packages and get access to thousands of courses and enterprises can leverage subscriptions to cater to diverse re-skilling needs of their organizations.
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