Friday, January 11, 2013

Disrupting the Training Industry

Recently, I read this piece on how Linkedin is eating up the recruitment market. In a nutshell, what that means is that candidates can be found by anyone on Linkedin – so why use third party services? And some time back, Linkedin had opened up to third party recruiters- and later on launched its own recruitment tool. So, eventually, nobody needs to use third party recruiters, because Linkedin has it all.

How Linkedin is eating the recruitment industry.(Read it all, worth your time)

Now let us think about training. There is an entire industry out there that service various companies, individuals and many other kinds needs in the training space. There are a slew of universities that offer tailored MBA programs, Executive education apart from various bodies offering certifications of various kinds. Now, the internet is busy disrupting this market. And it is only a stone’s throw away. The best courses from all over  the world are available on the internet. Coursera for example. EdX for another. And generalassemb.ly. And then there are MOOC’s offered by Standford university and others.And these are just the tip of the iceberg. Harvard Managementor is a premier online learning module for management skill (and you thought that the behavioural training industry was beyond reach?)

The big catch though is that, while you get to ‘virtually’ interact with students, attend fairly high quality lectures and submit projects and assignments – you don’t get a certificate from the university (atleast not yet). I suspect this is partly because of ‘geographical licencing issues’ or because it is free (which is a big win). But if you don’t care too much about a certificate from a university and are more interested in the pursuit of knowledge, then this is for you.

You may think that this is the tip of the iceberg and that this will not affect the work that we do – especially as standalone training organizations, corporate training groups and many many others in this space. But, believe me, it will. Disruptive innovations start at a low end of the market, where the 'higher-end' competitors cannot be bothered or attack from a totally different perspective - in this case, connectivity and technology.

The company funded university programs will need to look beyond tie-ups from universities and look at offering ‘time’ to employees to take up internet enabled courses. (And build better due diligence to ensure that there is no fraud there.)

Once virtual classes get better, there is no reason, why high end certifications cannot be got from the very best in the world instead of settling for something that is ‘nearly there’.

And this is just scratching the surface – there is more happening out there that is changing the way people learn. The only one that is kind of not affected is – experiential learning, outbounds and suchlike.

And may remain unaffected for a while now, but till when? And till then, well, watch your backs!

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