How can digital lifelong learning prepare you for the future of work?

You’ve probably learnt a new skill over the past year without even thinking about it. Maybe you’ve learnt a new language, taken up a hobby, or learnt to use a new piece of equipment or software at work. 

Learning new skills is a great way to build your resilience as a worker or job seeker in the labour market both today, and the future months and years ahead. 

Retraining or upskilling is the process by which you acquire these new skills to take on a new job or career path. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to this process. It can take place on the job, in a classroom, on a computer, or even on your smartphone while you commute. It can take 5 minutes of your day, or maybe 30. It could lead to a specific role, or be a broad introduction into workplace skills applicable to lots of different jobs. 

Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency, has been developing upskilling and retraining opportunities over the past year through the CareerTech Challenge Fund. In partnership with the Department for Education, Nesta has focussed on how technology can play a role in providing learning opportunities for people who are looking for life-long learning opportunities that support career development. We’ve funded a variety of organisations to build new online learning platforms to do just that. 

We’ve learnt a lot about what makes a great digital learning course along the way, and these lessons can help you to find the right learning opportunities for you:

  1. There is no ‘one size fits all’ digital course. Think about not just what you want to learn, but how you want to learn. Do you prefer bite-size lessons that you can do quickly, or would you prefer to sit down and focus for a few solid hours? Do you learn best by listening, reading or playing?
  2. Involve other people in your learning. Whether you connect with course-mates virtually or tell your family or friends about it, social networks can encourage you to learn and engage with content.
  3. Set yourself a goal. Motivation is key to completing learning courses, and having a realistic end goal in mind will help keep you on track.  

If this has inspired you to take the first step to learning a new skill, you might want to see if anything we’ve developed is right for you. You can use this interactive storyboard to follow three life-long learners on their journeys to finding new roles, and see how you can use our online learning courses and careers advice platforms to become more resilient to the changing world of work. 

This article was created by Emma Selinger, Assistant Programme Manager at Nesta. 

Twitter: @EmmaSelinger

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