Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The world is changing fast, and the change is happening on multiple fronts.
In readiness for this future, education systems are getting redesigned drastically.
Professional certifications have been around for decades now, and as we look into the future, there are several different trajectories that higher learning could take as we march into a bold new world.
Connected learning environments
Increasingly, we are shifting from the concept of a trainer standing in front of a class with students listening and responding to lectures.
Already, many learning spaces today supersede the traditional classroom environment we used to know.
As it becomes more common, learning in the digital space will help students be partners and co-creators for what they learn.
Going forwards, many institutions will implement online experiences that promote collaboration, teamwork, and communication between the students and teachers.
We can expect that the future classroom environment will be a collaborative cyber-physical space that flips many of the learning models upside down.
The post-COVID 19 world will probably be a place where many things are done remotely.
This trend was already underway before the pandemic, but the crisis has accelerated it in significant ways.
The student of the future will have to be highly skilled in technology, no matter their areas of specialization.
Many programs are already incorporating technology in their delivery models.
And many students are now able to access learning wherever they are, whenever they want.
Technology will be the most significant change factor in the future of higher education.
Still, as it is embraced and manipulated for good, the world must be ready to address problems that arise from it.
Even as the world changes, beliefs about what makes a classroom, ideas about how learning is delivered will also be reshaped in significant ways.
Doctors don’t have a one-size-for-all approach when treating patients and experts feel that education should have a similar customized approach.
The right professional program enables students to take control of their learning. Teachers will stick to the facilitation role.
Individualized learning programs will allow students to learn at a pace that is in sync with their abilities.
You will be able to engage with content in a way that is more beneficial to you.
New forms of testing
Many students today focus more on the result, which is passing an exam and attaining some accreditation.
The programs of the future must prove that your exam score does not define you.
You can expect that future updates to your program will be centered on making the content and testing more practical.
Using techniques that require students to showcase their understanding of the concepts will be instrumental in addressing the skills-gap experienced in industries today.
Increased demand for certification
Many financial organizations today already have stringent requirements for their employees.
You can expect even more companies to jump on this trend in the future.
In part, this is inspired by the watered-down nature of the average degree and diploma programs today, and their inability to equip students with the tangible skills needed to navigate the business world.
Even fully theoretical programs have begun to look at alternate ways to deliver content.
Part of that change will include program syllabi that address specific challenges in industries, and testing models that incorporate case studies and other practical simulations.
As technology improves in education, program providers will need to find more efficient ways of delivering practical curricular in job-like environments.
Here, the skills imparted will be more representative of the real-world with room for collaboration and mentorship.
AI, big data and machine learning- these are the three bug catalysts of change across all industries today.
You can expect that many future certification programs will incorporate data skills.
Professionals will need to find programs with curricula that are contemporary and up to date.
These will include programs that sharpen both human logic and the ability to automate and accomplish complex tasks with algorithms.
Those that fail to address this critical skill in the business environment of the future will gradually be phased out by time.
Independent learning and mentoring
Programs today are switching to the self-learning model. It saves costs for both the providers and the students.
It also builds critical skills required in the business world, from time management to analysis and critical thinking.
As self-learning becomes the norm, the need for mentorship will once again become essential for success in school and in the work environment.
The best programs will immerse students in professional networks that address this need.
Education is a lifelong endeavor, and many institutions of higher learning are waking up to this realization.
Today, workers are required to have up-to-date knowledge on best practices, regulations, and ethics.
These variables are versatile and prone to changes with time, technology, and politics, among other things.
Continuous learning will be one way that professionals get to remain sharp, knowledgeable, and efficient in their jobs.
Forward-thinking certification courses have already incorporated a nonstop learning aspect to their programs after accreditation.
Learning how to learn
The future may be wrought with many problems from strained bilateral relations to a gray-area ethics, changing regulations, and newer business models that impact profitability in unfathomable ways.
Professional certifications will have to focus on a problem-solving approach, and part of that includes teaching students how to learn, analyze, measure, and improve systems and processes.
The new type of learning will be less about memorizing facts or figures.
It will be more about studying how to identify, predict and solve problems.
Many of the professional students will go towards being their own bosses, autonomous contractors, and consultants.
You can expect that leadership will also be a bigger part of curriculum changes.
Working into education
There will likely be many strategies for addressing skill gaps, but a major one will be bringing in working professionals as teachers, program creators, and examiners.
This approach breaks the barrier between education and the real world.
It will help to prepare students for actual problems in the work environment, as opposed to feeding them irrelevant knowledge.
Shorter, sharper programs
Significant changes can be expected in degree and diploma programs. Many of their contents may get shortened and laser-focused.
Even so, these programs could require that graduates top up their knowledge with a professional certification.
An example of the future could see the GARP FRM program being recommended at universities for students in their final year of studying.
Universities can collaboratively teach certification content in tandem with their traditional degree programs.
Plan B, C, and D
In preparation for possible career changes, young professionals may start to seek qualifications in different and diverse fields.
There is no predicting which areas will become more relevant to the world in the short term.
As opposed to investing time and money in new degree programs, many people may simply have to get professional certifications as their plans B, C, and D.
Coloring outside the lines
Future institutions will have programs that break away from the norm and the old ways of doing things.
Newer courses will be structured around flexibility in innovation and experimentation of ideas.
The ‘A’ student will likely be the outcast thinkers, the ones that are not afraid to color outside the lines and challenge old theories.
A global perspective in an interconnected world
Globalization is inching towards the peak. There is no more isolation in business, government, or issues across the world.
The best programs will address this inter-connectedness with flexible syllabi.
The knowledge and skills gained in such courses will be valid across world boundaries and be in touch with the issues, norms, and trends in different geographical regions.
A focus on soft skills
Life skills are in high demand for the average workplace, from leadership to communication, resilience, creativity, agility, and many others.
The future of professional certifications will see heavy emphasis put on these non-technical skills.
Educators around the world will experiment with new possibilities to nurture professionals that can do things differently with greater flexibility resulting in more profitability.
These will be new models of instruction that have previously been untapped in higher learning institutions.
Employees that undergo professional courses have, for a long time, stood out with proficient skills and leadership abilities.
As more companies realize the value of such options, many will increase employee sponsorship for these qualifications.
They are known to be problem solvers, creative and strategic.
Increased competition in the business environment will demand that enterprises play a direct role in the training and retraining of their workforce.
The key takeaways
- One can expect massive digitization in education
- The demand for professional certification is set to increase
- Professionals will have more control over what they learn
- Certifications will need to have a global view of things
- Duration of programs is set to be shortened
- Qualifications are to be complemented with certification
- Programs will focus on leadership, communication and other soft skills
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