The Skills Gap–Fact or Fantasy? #DLNchat

Digital Learning

The Skills Gap–Fact or Fantasy? #DLNchat

By Michael Sano     Dec 15, 2017

The Skills Gap–Fact or Fantasy? #DLNchat

Is the skills gap real or has it been blown out of proportion? That was the first question posed by special guest and former EdSurgent Mary Jo Madda at #DLNchat on December 12 when we discussed The Skills Gap—Fact or Fantasy? with fellow instructional designers, faculty, administrators and entrepreneurs. But before we could answer that question there was a lot to discuss…

We started off attempting to land on a set of definitions for skills—many #DLNchat folks suggested we stray away from the terms “hard skills” and “soft skills” to refer to skills specific to one job vs. skills universal to all jobs. How do universities teach both sets of skills? Professor Ryan Straight suggested we could teach specific skills through a scaffold of universal skills. Dr. Clark Quinn suggested “using project-based methods that require collaborating to solve hard problems and varying required forms of output.”

A few folks mentioned the importance of institutional partnerships in curriculum development. In Pierce College District, JJ Johnson shared, “Advisory boards for prof-tech/workforce programs state the requirements. We then (re)design the curriculum to match, then go through a curriculum review” - and this process is iterated over time. Entangled Solutions felt, “Educators should develop the curriculum - they are curriculum design experts. But this is an ecosystem problem. Educators and employers need to collaborate to create a common skills language.” Perhaps a common skills language could help graduates better translate their value to potential employers. As Troy Markowitz suggested, “Institutions need to better connect the skills attained derived from course curriculum/programs. Students simply don't make the connection. Institutions need to focus on this and not just on measuring” student learning outcomes.

The million dollar question, or perhaps trillion dollar question of the chat was: Is higher education worth the cost? We decided to come back to the topic in a future #DLNchat, but not before discussing some of the nuances surrounding salary gains based on higher ed degrees as well as the need for more learning options. As Cali Morrison articulated, “We need to redefine what we call #highered in the US & expand to include #lifelearning & subdegree credentials with market value. IMHO #lifelearning is where the future lies.”

So, is there a skills gap or is the problem a perception? Read on through the Storify below to see thoughts from everyone at #DLNchat.

Join the Digital Learning Network to stay up to date on all events and the latest news for higher ed digital learning leaders! At our next #DLNchat, we’ll discuss Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Ed. Add it your Google calendar for Tuesday, January 9 at 1pm PT/ 4pm PT. #DLNchat is co-hosted by the Online Learning Consortium, WCET, the New Media Consortium and Tyton Partners.

Check out the latest #DLNchat thoughts, tweets and deets here:

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up