Online learning – The next step in the skills development track?

LOGOEven though the need for skills development grows in Singapore, a large proportion of Singaporeans are busy engaged in work or in the midst of looking for work, which does not give them the opportunity to prepare skill changes in many industries.

In his May Day 2016 Rally speech, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said “The problem is not that there are not enough jobs, problem is to match the jobs, workers, skills, and expectations with what jobs are available with what skills are in demand and make sure they can do the jobs. And we get them to marry up. That means we have to prepare our workers for the jobs which are available. “

In a live interview on Radio 938 Live, Alan Poh, Managing Director for ACP Computer Training & Consultancy, highlighted how online learning could assist in the area defined by PM Lee. He mentioned that PMETs could further develop their skills in order to keep the pace with the changing economic landscape through online learning.

When the idea was brought up on how some mature workers are facing the possibility of their jobs being made redundant due to the ICT changes coming into different industries.  Alan said “Employers are pretty open and have the mind-set that, as long as you have the skills, you have right attitude… that is where they’re willing to give you the stage.”

He also highlighted that new job skills are merely former skills that have new technologies or processes added on and mature workers with previous skills are not left in the dust and can be just as efficient with the right training.

Alan brought up PM Lee’s point on “the ICT sector. It is expanding – Google, Facebook, Apple, all have big operations here, all growing. They need programmers, they need coders and they need people who know about cybersecurity. They need people who design the user experience, they need staff and they are creating lots of new jobs, maybe 30,000 over the next five years.”

Alan added that the best way to master online technology is through online learning; through courses offered on LOOP.sg, Coursera and Udemy, the current few online-only content providers that are listed under Singapore’s SkillsFuture Credit scheme.

Online learning helps to ease the time and location stresses that affect most working professionals when they consider upgrading their personal skills. With bite-sized content presented on an online platform, busy professionals can access the material at any time and can revise at their own pace rather than having to depend on slow periods at work to apply for leave to attend brick and mortar training courses.

This falls in line with PM Lee’s idea of Continuous Education, the training of people in Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) by putting the materials online, using videos and using interactive means. He also emphasized that efforts have been put in place to help all walks of Singaporean life get onto the skills upgrading bandwagon, but it was still up to the individual to make the first step in their personal development. This includes a new partnership program between the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

As a Singapore-based startup, LOOP.sg has worked to curate courses that are relevant to the Singapore landscape, thereby saving time trawling through massive directories of subjects and topics online. With over 100 SkillsFuture courses and growing, LOOP.sg aims to ensure quality e-learning content is meeting their right local targets.

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