With social distance measures, the lecture halls of university campuses are emptier. As the traditional campus experience disintegrated with the rise of Zoom learning, the very existence of higher education is being questioned.
Besides getting brand names of Higher Institutes of Learning on one’s resume, what would make people part with a huge investment to receive a piece of certificate if the process of learning is through video conferencing, just like the next course?
Focus on the Experience of Learning
Before Covid-19, NewCampus lessons were delivered in a hybrid model, where the instructors would give lessons virtually from anywhere they were in the world, and students would gather physically in a room, often in a co-working space like WeWork. When the lockdown happened, there was a drop in learners especially from those who prefer learning physically. However, following that, there was a rise in a new pool of digital virtual learners. NewCampus saw students coming from Hong Kong, Australia, even the United States. As we run classes in the evening in Singapore time, these students in other timezones could join us in their morning.
YouTube users view more than 1 billion hours of video each day. There are more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies watched per day on Netflix. When there is a plethora of content available online, education providers are competing against user’s time, and not just other educational institutes. We ask ourselves: “How can we compete against students choosing to spend their time on Netflix, or YouTube, or even walking their dog?” This is our focus. We obsess about the learning experience, however, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all across all topics. It depends on what the topic is, and the delivery style of the instructor. We’re recreating the learning experience from the ground up, starting from the first moment the learner enters into the website, to find out about the classes available. Optimise for the people in your class.
The technology to support new ways of learning in a virtual world is also moving fast to keep up with record 3x growth of EdTech tool adoption in the region. We’re currently working with Microsoft Teams to build some exciting technology.
Learning is a Lifestyle
In 2020, there has been a lot of discussion on the importance of taking time to learn, upgrade, or upskill in reaction to companies restructuring, and consequently, redundancies leading to retrenchments. We’ve seen this happening around the world. In this time, people are thinking twice about spending their money on expensive courses to get credentials and upgrade themselves. Instead of one-off courses, we see a shift towards learning as a lifestyle. At NewCampus, we saw a significant increase in learners through a 400% increase in bookings of classes or workshops, 10,000 bookings for classes or workshops up from 2500 bookings last year. We also had an increase in 3000 learners up from 700 last year.
Companies are also investing in their employee’s training and learning development. Training is not a checkbox that you tick off. Companies are increasingly seeing the importance of helping their employees to continuously learn. When employees have more knowledge and foresight, they can tackle challenges in the company and bring everyone forward when there is an opportunity to tackle, instead of overcoming the next economic challenge only when it arrives. According to LinkedIn's 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees will stay longer in a company if there is upskilling and training. It’s more cost-effective to provide training to employees, compared to having the employee leaving and rehiring. In MIT and Deloitte’s most recent study of digital transformation the most successful, fast-growing, companies are differentiated by one thing: they've transformed the way individuals and organizations learn. Among these highest-performing companies, MIT and Deloitte found that 73% of employees in these companies are updating their skills every six months and 44% are updating them continuously.
Give Access to the Underserved
In the next wave, there will be a lot of exciting businesses created by entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia as internet usage in Southeast Asia continues to multiply, with 40M new users this year alone and 70% of the region’s population now online (Source: “Google, Temasek and Bain, e-Conomy SEA 2020”). These entrepreneurs will need to know how to think strategically and lead a team. These are the skills that a modern leader will seek. However, traditional business education is often costly and inaccessible. It is very difficult for smaller SMEs to get access to these soft skills and leadership courses. The education industry is also the slowest moving industry. It takes so long to reform policy and perception.
Many educational institutions rely on foreign student enrolment which has significantly decreased due to the closing of borders. Yet, they still have to pay for rent and high academic tenures. Educational institutes who can take a good look into the experience of the learner, and deliver it to these untapped and underserved markets will be more successful.
We run masterclasses from industry leaders and the top tech companies around the world at a fraction of the price of traditional business schools. We want to be the largest business school in Asia supporting the next wave of entrepreneurs and businesses that will come from this region through teaching them skills like Management, Leadership. We believe that to build better businesses in the world, people need to get a better business education. Currently, our students consist of 80% women, 90% are not part of traditional business roles.
Businesses as Education Providers
The world is also shifting the concept of credentials and certifications. Certifications are a currency employees use to tick the box during hiring. However, certifications are not coming from just educational institutes. Google has plans to launch Google Career Certificates for a fraction of the time and cost of a degree programme, which it will treat as the equivalent of a four-year degree when hiring. Dyson, the brand known for its vacuum cleaners and hair dryers has set up The Dyson Institute, giving out engineering degree apprenticeships after four years, approved by Warwick University. Students do not have to pay tuition fees. This is seriously changing the game for traditional educational institutions. We see businesses coming up with their degrees to reduce tuition cost for students, and to educate students who are ready for the industry upon graduation. It will be exciting to see how our education providers are creating the next wave of universities. NewCampus is acquiring their own university license in 2021.
3 Tips on Training Staff:
Training is important for your company’s survival.
Knowledgeable and entrepreneurial employees can spot patterns and opportunities for companies. Investing in them is investing in your own company. Otherwise, you will not be able to survive the next pandemic or downturn in the market.
A culture of growth creates loyal employees.
94% of employees will stay longer in a company if there is upskilling and training. Training your employees is cheaper and more convenient compared to finding new people to hire.
Soft-skills are as important as hard skills.
Soft skills like learning about ‘Resilience’, ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Presentation Skills’ are as important as learning coding, data analytics and UX design to enable the employee to lead teams and grow professionally and personally.