Why is there a skills gap?

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What is the skills gap?
“The difference between the skills that employers want and the skills that employees actually have” is how NPR describes it. While there has always been some degree of mismatch of skills and abilities on the labour market, the problem of the skills gap has recently become uniquely dominant.

The primary concern of employers has narrowed from whether an employee can perform specific tasks, to whether that employee can perform those tasks better than anyone else can. Previously, the biggest difficulty for companies was finding enough people who lived close enough to the workplace that they could work. Today, as INC.com’s Cait Murphy has said: “10 million [people are] unemployed. Yet employers’ No. 1 problem is finding the right talent”.

Skill-based requirements have increased dramatically
The issue is that requirements are increasing faster than education standards are; thus, graduates are entering the labour market under-educated and unprepared from the corporate perspective. As traditional education is both time-consuming and expensive, an increasing percentage of the population is either underemployed or outright unemployed.

The skills gap is a self-perpetuating cycle

Companies are steadily increasing skill requirements; skill requirements are increasingly more difficult to obtain; students and employees are unable to increase their skills quickly or efficiently enough through traditional means; the skills gap becomes wider as more under-educated people enter the workforce. It is crucial to factor in the population of employees with many years of practical experience who are competing with recent graduates entering the labour market as well as the current economic stagnation following many years of worldwide recessions and decreasing number of jobs being created.

Is it a big deal?
This is a very big deal – so large in fact, that Manpower Group’s “Talent Shortage Survey” showed that 35% of 38000 employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent.

A real world example
Dan Adams, owner of the high-end manufacturing company MTI, has had 12 open engineering positions that have gone unfilled for over a year. Mr Adams cannot find qualified workers to fill the empty positions; he said “I wish we could go to the school system and be able to hire machinists, tool and die makers, people who have machining experience. I wish I could go to college and higher designers that knew how to design machine tools. It’s not happening.”

Companies blame schools for inadequately prepared students
While the Wall Street Journal has been reporting that companies are blaming schools for inadequately preparing students, the American Society for Training & Development has shown that there is a large discrepancy between the required skill level for available positions and the skill level of applicants.

 

Reports such as these have been coming to light more and more frequently. Critics and nonbelievers of the skills gap are now few and far between; there is a well-documented discrepancy between the skills that graduates are leaving school with and skills that employers expect employees to have.

 

More than a jobs and skills mismatch

The idea that there are more than enough qualified people, but that these people are simply displaced from the workplace is false. That said, this was a perfectly reasonable argument in the past: people who are able and willing to work, but are geographically displaced from someone who is able and willing to hire them, will not be employed.

 

The problem with this argument is that it is outdated. Many industries are information-based and are accommodating to displaced workers. Today, the most valuable asset an employee has is their knowledge and experience, rather than their proximity to the workplace. Now that it is possible to either work, and to find work, from afar, the skills gap has become a dominant problem.


Closing the skills gap

While many firms are blaming schools’ education infrastructure, the staffing firm Aquent has taken a different approach. After realizing that the increasing demand for workers with HTML 5 experience was not being met, Aquent created its own MOOC – Aquent Gymnasium. Aquent’s vice president of learning and development Alison Farmer explained that “Even though unemployment was high, companies were telling us that most candidates weren’t qualified”.

According to workforce.com, 40,000 participants took part in Aquent’s free course on HTML5. 180 of these participants found employment as a direct result of the online learning MOOC. The company has gone on to create a hybrid LMS-corporate university format that offers free courses to designers, front-end developers, and marketing professionals. Alison Farmer commented on this initiative saying “people who complete the MOOC curricula receive a certificate of completion from Aquent, which serves as validation to employers”.

It is clear that targeted digital learning benefits both sides: it provides individuals with the skills and abilities they need while creating a specifically educated employee base that companies are currently struggling to find. Farmer underlined this achievement by stating that Aquent is using its MOOC to “manufacture the workforce our clients need”.

4 Tools Successful Educators Use to Promote Their Courses

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There are a number of marketing tools, practices, and tutorials available on the internet that claim to teach you everything you need to know about online marketing, they are a scam.  There is no course out there that teaches you everything you need to know simply because the processes and traditional methods are always evolving.  The purpose of this article is to show you 4 tools that the team over at Rocketcourse.com has found to be very valuable in their marketing efforts.

 

  1. Google is one of your best and worst friends.  There are organic search results and paid results.  Organic results are what google displays in their search results based on what they think you are looking for.  Paid results are the ads or sponsored links that show up in the results when you search for something.  Paid ads are how google lets its advertisers decide when they feel it is appropriate to display their ad determined by the users search query.  Other sites like Bing and Yahoo have similar but independent offerings.
  2. Social Media– Facebook, linkedin, Twitter have their own respective “organic” and paid ads.  Learning each of these advertising opportunities is a great way to socially promote your school and courses.
  3. A Blog–  You’re reading this, aren’t you?  Keeping an active blog that discusses different topics about your school and courses help search engines find your school and courses which subsequently help your prospective students do the same.
  4. Email Marketing–  There are dozens of email marketing platforms available out there that help educators keep in touch with their students and contacts.  Keeping in touch with your students is important, whether you’re letting them know about an updated or new course, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to update and communicate your messsages to large groups of people.


RocketCourse is an online learning platform that gives educators the technology and tools they need to create and manage their own online school.  RocketCourse offers many school and course marketing tools to instructors and school administrators so they can successfully market and earn more money from their courses.

RocketCourse LMS for Regulated Schools

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Running an online school is a lot of fun when you use RocketCourse.  The internet is a great way to teach, earn money and it gives you the flexibility to teach nearly anything.  Schools that offer government or board approved courses aren’t as easy because they usually require custom features. In fact, with most online learning systems, offering compliance and government regulated courses is expensive and frustrating.  RocketCourse makes offering these types of courses easy, intuitive, and more affordable than it’s ever been before.

Features that most government regulated online schools need:

  • Assessments (exams and quizzes)
  • Presence verification (“Are you still there” messages)
  • Private user records
  • 100% uptime
  • Customizable and brandable website
  • Simple student registration
  • Custom Discount Codes

Use Case: Online Mortgage Professional Continuing Education

Let’s say you own a mortgage school that educates mortgage professionals in your state.  At the very beginning, when your student registers online to take their course you are reuquired to collect special information like their license or membership number along with the other standard payment and user credentials.  You are likely required to use a system that periodically pauses the videos and pops up an “are you still there” box on the screen that the user must click.  You also may be required to have your users pass an assessment where the questions are offered in a randomized order for the student to earn their certificate.  Maybe you want to offer a groupon or discount code to promote your courses too.

RocketCourse is the technology that runs your online school

Everything you need to do is already done, RocketCourse is waiting for you to sign up and customize to make it your own.  There are no hidden fees and if you’re interested in using the features reach out to us and we’ll get you setup to sell your course in barely any time.

Try Rocket Course for free

Let us prove how simple, intuitive and beautiful your school can be on our platform.  Don’t spend any money or get any headaches setting up your online school.  RocketCourse gives you all the tools and features you need to setup and sell your courses online.

 

 

3 Components to Create a Successful Course

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It takes effort and hard work to create a good online course.  Any successful instructor will tell you the same and once you understand the intricacies of each component you will have the ability to create your own wildly successful courses.  The purpose of this article is to outline 3 of the most important components at a high level with the hopes of inspiring educators to take their first step towards creating an online course.

Quality content is fundamentally the most important component to consider when creating a successful online course.  Content is what educates and engages your students and without it, the rest doesn’t matter. Choosing the right topic is your first step.  Identifying the right topic to teach is important to consider when you’re trying to connect and engage with your audience, what are they interested in?  If you are the instructor for the course, make sure you sufficiently know the content before beginning to build your course. Students are keenly able to sense when an instructor doesn’t really know what they’re teaching. For more tips on how to build a successful course explore our other recent blog posts.

Using an intuitive course delivery system. Both students and instructor want an easy and enjoyable learning experience, the technology should only contribute to the experience.  This means as an instructor you need use a platform that is simple and easy to use, one that doesn’t require you to hire a web designer or require you to learn how to code.  Students should not be inconvenienced by the technology that delivers your courses.  When choosing a delivery system ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can my students watch the courses on their ipad?
  • Is my website responsive and mobile friendly?
  • Can my students watch the course videos on their android and other mobile devices?
  • Does the technology allow me to charge students for access to the course?
  • Will I charge my students on a recurring basis (monthly for access) or a la carte per course?

Effective Marketing, word of mouth is great but in the world of online education, internet marketing is the name of the game.  It’s not just about giving your friends a heads up about your new course, it’s about how to reach the millions of students around the world who want to learn about your topic.  They can’t register for your course if they don’t know its exists.  The power of online marketing helps give your courses and school the exposure it needs to reach your audience.  RocketCourse offers courses on how to effectively market your courses to the masses.


This article discusses at a high level the three most important components to creating a successful course.  There are many other features, delivery tips and ways to increase student engagement discussed on the RocketCourse blog.  To start building your own school or to learn more about the RocketCourse platform, visit rocketcourse.com

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