The working landscape is changing at a rapid pace. This goes hand in hand with technological advancements like automation, changing the type of work we need to do.
These shifts, and the speed at which they’re happening, have led to a disconnect resulting in a global skills shortage. This means there aren’t enough skilled people to match the demand for both soft and hard skills.
How do we upskill to the point where we can bridge the skills gap and advance our careers at the same time? One solution to this crisis is online micro-credentials.
In this post, we’ll discuss what micro-credentials are and some of the online learning trends that are driving growth in these alternative types of online certifications. We’ll also share some of the reasons why you should sign up for a micro-credential, and a few of the most popular ones that you can register for at SACAP Global.
What are micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials is a broad term that refers to a specific type of online short course. These courses are designed to be accessible and affordable. In addition, they can be “stacked” as modules, which can contribute towards earning a full degree in the long term.
To put it into perspective, instead of signing up for a three or four-year programme, you could focus on completing shorter key learning modules that are tailored towards your specific career goals, or the needs of the organisation you are working for.
Industries will have various skill sets that they focus on developing, or hiring, to help close the skills gap and grow talent.
Growing trends that are shaping online learning
Online learning was already a growing trend before the pandemic, but since then, it’s become commonplace, as people seek accessible ways to adapt their skill sets to a changing world.
There’s also a sense of urgency to upskill as the marketplace continues to become more competitive, and organisations need to pivot and shift quickly to stay current.
To give an overview of how the online learning landscape is evolving, here are some of the key current trends facing the world of work in 2023:
1. Widening skills gap
There is a massive skills gap that experts predict will cost organisations billions of dollars if not addressed. According to a Fast Company article called “5 Trends that Will Shape the Workplace in 2023”, some of the key skills that are in demand at the moment include:
- Interpersonal communication
- Time management
As you can see, all of these above skills focus on what computers and automation cannot accomplish, at least not yet. This means that while hard skills, like data analysis, are very much in demand, people skills, or “power skills” are still crucial for running a business.
2. Upskilling for competitive advantage
The market is moving at a rapid pace, which means that organisations and individuals need to be creative in how they meet the demands of an evolving world. For many, there is pressure to deliver to make a profit and scale, which makes it necessary to be adaptable and upskill quickly.
Apart from making sure you can meet market demand, organisations can also use career advancement and learning as a way to attract and retain talent. By offering the tools to grow and improve, companies can create a dynamic work environment in which they are both getting work done and investing in top talent, who can evolve within the organisation.
3. Need for scalability
To keep up with the rate of change, it’s also important to develop learning solutions that allow for learning and growth at scale. While experiential and face-to-face learning is still important, EdTech software gives people the chance to learn at their own pace and when it is convenient for them, with minimal organisational input.
This allows for learning to take place concurrently while working, without the need to dedicate time-intensive resources to make it happen. The ability for EdTech businesses to collect and analyse the data that comes with online learning platforms also ensures that courses can be easily and consistently tweaked to offer maximum value.
4. Tight market conditions
In addition to scalability, learning also needs to be cost-effective to have a greater impact. Online learning allows organisations to benefit from both, as shorter learning programmes can be introduced at scale, with less investment in learning infrastructure (apart from the costs of hardware and software).
Tight market conditions and uncertainty around the future in a time of “polycrisis” also means that there isn’t always the luxury of time and budget to think about what needs to be done. In stressful times, employees and businesses need simple and effective solutions to evolve and grow.
Industry micro-credentials offer this kind of flexibility, which individuals and organisations can take advantage of to address the skills gap in an incremental and manageable way.
5. Opportunity to build teams
We’ve mentioned how individuals and organisations can benefit from scalable and affordable online learning programmes like micro-credentials, but there’s also an opportunity to go beyond bridging the skills gap and develop a culture of continuous upskilling. This is referred to as lifelong learning, which widens the scope to include the growth of teams and organisations in the long term.
As we mentioned above, this focus on team building can become a competitive advantage, as it will attract people who are looking to add value in the long term. By offering opportunities to build skills, organisations can therefore ensure a win-win situation, whereby businesses and individuals consistently adapt and upskill in an agile way.
Why should you register for a micro-credential?
No matter what stage of your career you are in, it can be stressful trying to keep pace with the demands of your current role, given that there is so much external pressure to keep your skill set current.
However, you don’t need to invest in a long-term qualification to advance your career, as building skills can happen step by step. This makes micro-credentials a good choice for those who are looking to advance their career in a manageable and incremental way. By registering for a short online course, you can choose to update your skills in a variety of different areas.
Overall, some of the many reasons to register for a micro-credential include flexibility, accessibility, diversity and time and cost-effectiveness. The fact that these types of short online courses are constantly evolving also means that you’ll be accessing the most relevant and up-to-date course content.
Online micro-credentials at SACAP Global
At SACAP Global, we offer a range of micro-credentials, grounded in Applied Psychology. This includes short courses in human behaviour, human resource management, business management, leadership and counselling.
Even if your career is not focused on counselling or psychology per se, many of our courses are designed to add value to any career, especially when it comes to building interpersonal or “power” skills.
Find out more about our various short courses by browsing our website.