Jobs will seek out learners who learn on their own

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LinkedIn just spent $1.5 billion to buy an online training firm Lynda. com. What does that really mean? So far what LinkedIn has done is to be the one stop shop for everyone’s resume. Every employee should be updating the resume their employer uses to track what kind of skills they have. The certifications that the employee has acquired also find place there. There is only one drawback.

Most employers will tell you that the resumes they have on file for their employees have a very low rate of completion. Less than 10% employees update the skills and certifications that the employers depend on. The same employee is constantly preening their LinkedIn profile and nudging their friends and managers to endorse their skills on the site. The hope is to catch the eye of that one potential employer who will give them a break into the big league.

Potential employers leverage LinkedIn to build their brand by pushing relevant content. Content that helps people build their skills is prized. But if someone wanted to build their skills and take a class, they would have to find it elsewhere. Lynda.com and a host of other online course providers like Coursera.org or NovoEd provide videos created by experts and lessons that include assignments and evaluation to help people judge how good their skills are.

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Jobs that are made up of routine tasks are dropping around the world. Routine tasks are “rulebased,” in that they can be performed by following a well-defined set of instructions, and require minimal discretion. Training works very well to keep employees up to date in these roles. A forklift driver, a typist, a bank teller are all examples of routine jobs.

When the business world is ever changing and getting disrupted, jobs have to start reflecting this volatility. Startups that are mushrooming are changing the traditional focus on previous experience.

When the product they are building does not have a precedent, how will they find people to hire who have done this before? So in the new world, learnability trumps experience. That also means employers are looking for people who learn on their own, maybe by taking one of the many online courses.

That’s why buying Lynda.com is such a big deal. When a job seeker applies for a job, LinkedIn will look at the skills for which others have endorsed this person — this could be a proxy for deep expertise or at least strong interest.

Based on the kind of jobs the person has searched for, LinkedIn can now suggest the courses that the person could take that will increase the chances of being hired. Alternatively, based on the courses aperson has taken and the proficiency achieved in Lynda, LinkedIn could suggest the jobs someone could apply for — especially if the potential employer has reviewed their profile recently.

The world will open up for the new learner who does not depend on being nominated to a corporate training programme to beef up their skills. They are curious learners, who learn by trying out ideas. Those will be the most sought after in the job markets of the future.

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