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Pearson’s Global Learning Survey Points to the Shift to Life-Long, Learner-Driven Education

Pearson released the results of its Global Learning Survey. This is the first time that Pearson has undertaken such a study to capture the opinions of 11,000 learners across 19 countries. The study uncovered eight key trends indicating a shift to life-long, learner driven education.

From the study, these trends are:

  1. Learners are taking education into their own hands. People believe the DIY approach, thanks to access to online courses and certificates, will allow everyone to engage in life-long learning. This DIY approach is prevalent in India and China, where from an early age learners are using tutors and consultants to improve grades and prepare for exams.
  2. Diverse career paths and life-long learning are the norm. People find that the subject matter of their degrees does not have an impact on their career paths. They believe that education can happen anywhere and that it’s not exclusive to young people or academic settings. The belief that you need to keep learning after college/university is a global trend.
  3. Learners expect digital and virtual learning to increase. There is an expectation that artificial intelligence (AI) will make learning more engaging; however, there is a worry that AI could displace instructors.
  4. Confidence in education is faltering. The attitude towards domestic educational institutions varies greatly depending on region. The regions with positive feelings, China, India, and the Middle East, are also the regions where people pay for private tutors or send children overseas if they have the financial resources.
  5. Young workers don’t see the value in a college degree. While across generations, everyone agrees that education is important, young workers place equal importance on college education as on vocational or trade training. This attitude shift is more prominent in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India.
  6. China, India, Brazil, and Hispano America corporations are leading in upskilling their workforces. These nations exhibit a belief that education can shift the global economy and corporations in these areas are more likely to upskill or retrain workers.
  7. Soft skills are the key to beat automation. Skills such as creativity and problem solving are human skills that are as important as technical skills.
  8. Concerns over safety in schools is rising. This concern is both for physical and emotional safety. Bullying and social media are making schools a more difficult environment for today’s students.

Source: Pearson at SoftwareReviews, Report Published January 2019

Our Take

When vendors take on intensive research projects, it has a two-fold agenda. One is to show how their products or services are meeting the demands or wants that the research uncovers; the other is to inform their product strategy so that they can stay ahead of the trends and create products/services that will meet consumers’ shifting demands. While Pearson does not explicitly use this as a sales tool for its products, it will most likely be using it to inform its product strategy.

The details in this report directly link to the “IT department becoming its own university” trend that we identified in Info-Tech’s 2020 Talent Trends Report. The key takeaway for us is that China, India, Brazil, and Hispano America are leading the way in upskilling employees so US, UK, and Canadian companies need to start developing a strategy to upskill their talent. One way to create that strategy is to implement effective employee development planning so that you are identifying the right skills and upskilling the right people.

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