PIDP 3100 – Week 7 Post #3: Trends in Adult Education
I was not able to connect with my partner so I am going to post more about Adult Education Trends, specifically from Singapore which is a world leader in many areas, including education. This article speaks to me and is an indicator of the trends that will impact the majority of adult students that will be applicable to much of the world as a microcosm.
This is because in Singapore and many similar countries in Asia and the world, have SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises) that are responsible for a significant amount of GDP. In the case of Singapore it is said that 99% companies are SMEs and contribute nearly half of Singapore’s GDP (Funding Societies 2020). And further, SMEs in Singapore employ 65% of the work force. So the SME sector is the best place to gauge to find the leading the trends and establishing requirements for Adult Education.
The article I’ve sourced (Channel News Asia 2020) is significant in that these are the findings and directives of multiple government bodies as a result of the Adult Learning Symposium 2020. The Adult Learning Symposium is part of a multi-agency effort between SkillsFuture Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL).
What came out of the symposium is that it’s “a guide for small and medium enterprises in the sector to assess their digital readiness and identify digital solutions to adopt at each stage of their growth” according to Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang.
As we can see below the main theme is “digitalising learning”.
This initiative and trend coming out of Singapore is the pairing of instructors with experts in digital curriculum developers.
The premise is that “Merely using technology to make learning more efficient, or digitisation, is no longer adequate” which means that simply “trying to move content online” is not adequate, whereas before “it was nice to have at all”. I think we’re entering a new era of digital education, as we did for e-Commerce and basic internet access. When I was a teenager in the 90s, internet and a computer was “nice to have” and I think Digital Learning is heading in that direction right now.
What I like is their 3 stage process in what they are defining as a whole “digital learning ecosystem”, in Singapore it is much more than individual instructors or single institutions putting their content online, but a government lead, cohesive strategy that the entire country will adopt. This is because Singapore recognizes the importance of this transformation and aims to be a leader in Digital Adult Learning but creating an entire economy and business model around it.
Singapore’s 3-Step Digital Transformation Process:
The key challenges that have been recognized are creating an engaging learning experience. It’s about putting human needs first and technology second. In fact in the presentation engagement is being listed as the most common issue for all stakeholders in online education.
Studies show that adult learners only want about 40% at most of a single course to be taught online. This suggests that adult learners still prefer a hybrid approach to their learning. I believe this is going to change as more people are connected and have the right technology skills to access online learning. We are in the early stages of adoption, like eCommerce, and many people are not comfortable with online learning, and online learning has a long way to go, but I believe it is the future and that COVID-19 has given us the impetus and push to develop.
What I found interesting about this symposium is that it raises the specter and bar that the online learning space is going to be more competitive than ever. One trend that we will be seeing are more digital marketing campaigns that are trying to attract remote students from around the world according to the 2020 Symposium.
Channel News Asia (2020, August 13th). New digitalisation plan for SMEs in training and adult education sector. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/digitalisation-plan-new-initiatives-adult-learning-skillsfuture-13016786