Work-orientated micro-credentials key to supporting Australians in their 100-year life
31 August 2018: Study-interested Australian workers want their future learning experiences to be job-relevant, bite-sized and blended, combining online and face-to-face learning experiences.
Higher education for a changing world: ensuring the 100-year life is a better life, also revealed that despite the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), study-interested workers are more likely to want to study with Australian tertiary education providers.
To inform this report, Deloitte surveyed nearly 4,000 Australian workers from a cross-section of the Australian working population. It asked them about their attitudes towards lifelong learning and the needs and preferences of those who are interested in further education and training.
Deloitte’s National Education Lead Partner, Colette Rogers, said: “This research is an important step in building a contemporary evidence base about what current Australian workers need and want to inform and accelerate improvements in our education system to better prepare us all for our longer lives.
“Champions of education and training in Australia have long signalled the virtues of lifelong learning as a means to navigate increasingly complex career structures and to enrich lives. While there has been a strong focus on the education and career motivations and preferences of millennials, there is little in the public sphere about the contemporary attitudes, needs and preferences for lifelong learning from current Australian workers – until now.”
The research reveals that study-interested workers have a variety of needs in terms of how they would like their curriculum delivery structured. The survey found 78% want at least half their learning content to be delivered online, and that most of these workers want a combined online and face to face learning experience, meaning the future of learning is blended.
When asked about preferred study arrangements, the most popular option was accessing learning through ‘a series of bite-sized intensive courses’, which represented almost half (45%) of responses.
This suggests that while study-interested workers still appreciate the traditional form of tertiary education, they are interested in short bursts of learning that would allow them to balance study with other work and life priorities.
Educational products such as micro-credentials speak to many of the needs expressed by the survey respondents. Although over two-thirds of study-interested workers were not aware of the existence of micro-credentials, once the concept was explained to them, 65% thought micro-credentials would be valuable to their career.
“We expect micro-credentials to be increasingly prevalent given they have the potential, if designed and delivered effectively, to meet a number of workers’ needs,” said Rogers.
“Micro-credentials can be developed more quickly than larger programs, and can therefore be more responsive to changing employer and industry requirements.”
The report also found that current workers are interested in learning opportunities immediately relevant to their jobs and the world of work.
Lachlan Smirl, Deloitte Access Economics Partner said: “This new data confirms that study-interested workers see the greatest value in learning when it is directly relevant to their work. So although formal qualifications remain valued, 68% of those who are interested in study place more importance on job specific skill set development.
“This is not surprising – we know disruptive influences are rapidly changing the skills and competencies that many occupations require, creating an ongoing need for learning that is applied and practical. However, this research confirms the Australian workforce is increasingly recognising this and factoring it into their considerations regarding further study.
“The findings also reiterate that it is important to consider – and learn more about – those Australian workers who are currently not interested in further study. Older workers and workers in occupations that are more manual and labour intensive are significantly less likely to be considering future study. This is a concern when we think about our rapidly restructuring economy.”
Other key findings from the report:
1. The multi-stage life model is still in its infancy: although the majority of surveyed Australian workers are study-interested; enthusiasm wanes as we age and amongst those who potentially stand to benefit most.
- 55% have just studied, are currently studying or are planning to undertake further study in the next three years
- Younger and high-skill workers in technical industries are more likely to be interested in further education and training
2. Alert but not alarmed: study-interested workers know the robots are coming. But they have a plan.
- Only 12% think their job will not change in the next 10 years
- One in three believe technological change will be the most significant disruptor of their current job over the next decade
- 68% think that study will be an enabler towards the achievement of their career goals
3. Keep it real: study-interested workers prefer education and training linked closely to their jobs and industry.
- 31% expect education providers to collaborate with industry to deliver content
4. I’ll work around you: study-interested workers want flexible and bite-sized learning from tertiary providers.
- 78% want at least 50% of their learning content delivered online
About the report
Deloitte commissioned a survey of nearly 4,000 Australians aged 18 and over who are currently or have recently been in the workforce to gather information about their attitudes towards lifelong learning, and the needs and preferences of those who are interested in further education and training. The survey was nationally representative across age groups, genders and locations. This survey was designed by Deloitte and administered by Research Now.