The content offered should be updated constantly, just like Software as a Service offerings, with a real-time connection with the corporate world and a perspective to train people to be successful in the face of uncertain situations. Currently, many courses teach the same content that they have for decades and are not keeping up with the pace of change. The offerings should teach agility and prepare the students for the constant changes they will face in the workforce. The offerings should also pair related content, like social skills and other soft skills to provide an education that is relevant today and will be relevant in dealing with unforeseen events in the future.
You may be wondering if this shift has already started with boom of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) less than a decade ago – many of them with backing from higher education organizations like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford University. While there are similarities, those are traditionally just e-learning courses. When learning is consumed in a completely self-driven and self-paced fashion, the retention and overall success rate is low. This is shown with the low completion rates for MOOC courses. Success rates and retention improve when there is a social and collaborative component aligned to the student. This can be as simple as chatting with other students in a forum or other peer to peer learning techniques, or it can be via complementary live webcasts or virtual one-on-one office hours with an instructor. Education as a Service needs to take the concept of MOOC and extend it into higher education by providing the content along with the social and collaborative aspects to increase retention and success.
So, what is the answer to our talent squeeze and preparing students for today’s workforce? Embrace the convergence of globalization, communication, and technology as a tipping point just as enterprise software did and move toward Education as a Service. This will better prepare students for work with specific skills and help students obtain those jobs with a tighter integration and connection to the employers and workforce.