A college degree may not be the key to getting hired anymore, at least according to some. Many companies are taking matters into their own hands and turning to outlets such as online learning platforms to increase learning and development on the job instead.
Udemy is an online global learning and teaching marketplace. It provides courses and allows instructors to create content and share it on the platform as well. The online learning organization’s “2018 Skills Gap Report” found that 51 percent of the 1,000 full-time workers surveyed said they would quit a job if the company didn’t provide the necessary training. Shelley Osborne, head of learning and development at Udemy, said some companies aren’t putting an emphasis on a college degree anymore and employees expect to be learning and enhancing their skills with an organization.
“An overwhelming majority of organizations and individuals feel that the skills gap is creating a gap between what employers need and what employees have,” Osborne said. “And that’s not being resolved by college degrees.”
One reason for this trend may be the rapidly changing job market and advances in technology. Osborne said a traditional college degree just isn’t keeping up with these rapid changes.
“There are skills and jobs that we don’t even know about that will emerge in the next few years and there’s no way a traditional college education can prepare any employees for that,” Osborne said.
Organizations such as Apple, Tesla and Lyft have turned to the Udemy for Business platform to provide learning programming such as languages, data analytics, time management and communications skills to their employees.
“CLOs and L&D leaders need to recognize that the traditional approach to learning and development doesn’t work anymore,” Osborne said. “The modern L&D team is about curation, building access, thinking about branding and communication.”
One college professor is questioning the value of a college education as well. Roger Schank is the founder of Experiential Teaching Online Corp. and the Schank Experiential Learning Center. He previously taught at Yale University.
“College is a fraud in every sense of the word,” Schank said. “It doesn’t provide what it should provide. Graduates don’t know anything that’s worth knowing because college is above all that.”
Schank’s frustrations stem from his experience at Yale.
“When you go to Yale, they don’t bother to mention they’re a research university,” Schank said. “The only thing they care about is research. So as a professor at Yale, if you showed up in class and weren’t interested in my research, I wasn’t interested in you. How you succeed at Yale is by being a great researcher. They fail to mention that to incoming students, 9 out of 10 of them who do not intend to become researchers.”
Schank said the school once faced a “mini revolution” when computer science students complained that Google wasn’t hiring anyone who graduated from Yale. Schank said practical skills aren’t being taught at the university.
“When I was the chairman of the computer science department, I was trying to get them to teach practical things and the faculty was mad at me,” he said. “The president of Yale said to me, ‘We don’t do training, Roger.’ Yeah you do, you train people to be researchers.”
If getting an education isn’t the answer, then what is? The responsibility falls on organizations to teach their employees those skills and to ask “what someone needs to do, not what someone needs to know,” Schank said.
“The fact that there are CLOs is an acceptance of the fact that the colleges aren’t providing any learning,” Schank said. “My advice to companies is to try cooperating with each other so they don’t all build the same course because they have the knowledge and education of what they want to teach.”
Udemy’s Osborne believes companies must be planning ahead.
“We need to start thinking about not just developing people in their current role, but how do we start developing people in the next couple of roles?” Osborne said.