21st century learning design: Staying relevant and current with online learning in an increasingly global and competitive environment

By Kirsty Chadwick, Founder & Chair, The Training Room Online

Taken from the Manpower Talent Shortage Survey, the 2013 results saw South Africa in third position from the bottom, with 6% of employers having difficulty filling jobs. This year, when compared to the 41 other countries surveyed, South Africa came in 4th from the bottom, with only 8% of employers reporting difficulty in filling jobs. The global average for 2014 sits at 36%.

Why are South African employers struggling to fill jobs if unemployment in the country is hovering around the 25% mark? The answer to this is the lack of technical competencies paired with the rampant skills shortage across various industries. This skills shortage is widely regarded as a key obstacle to economic growth, job creation and business expansion. When asked how talent shortages and skills gaps were most likely to impact their organisations, 82% of employers said it would reduce their competitiveness and productivity, while 75% said it would reduce their ability to serve clients.

Employers are using a number of strategies to address the problem, including:

  • Additional training and development for existing staff,
  • Appointing people who may not have the necessary skills currently but possess the potential to learn and grow, or
  • Redefining qualifying criteria to include individuals who lack some required skill or formal qualifications, but have the potential to acquire them.

This means that organisations have to be able to offer employees, both new and existing, the learning programmes able to build the skills required within the organisation. We look at how organisations can ensure continuous learning in a way that is sustainable and allows learners to keep up to date in a constantly changing marketplace. A major strategy that many organisations have adopted is turning their organisations into ’learning organisations’. This approach creates a major advantage for organisations in that they are able to adapt to change faster than their competitors because they either already have the skills to do so, or are able to develop the required skills in a short period of time.

Although the benefits of being a learning organisation are obvious to many, a strategy focused on learning within organisations changes the dynamics within every part of that organisation. For this reason, we also look at the High-Impact Learning Organisation Maturity Model developed by Deloitte. We apply it to business sectors within South Africa, in order to understand how, through working more holistically, we are able build the specialised skills that South African organisations are struggling to find.

A skills shortage this widespread is impossible to solve overnight, but does require a learning solution that can be rolled out as widely and as quickly as possible. Technology-enabled learning is the only learning methodology that is able to do this and should be a key component of the learning solutions being employed by organisations looking to address their skills problems in order to maintain their competitive edge in the marketplace.

It is with this in mind that Knowledge Resources has arranged the Online and eLearning Conference to explore the latest trends in eLearning solutions. Join us from the 29-31 July 2014 to get the real stories and engage with the leaders of the online and e-learning industry in South Africa. Click here now to learn more about this exciting event and how you can take part.


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