Keeping up with new skills is a universal need, especially given technology changes and job insecurity. Globally, 88% of people believe they will need to take more responsibility for directing their own learning or upskilling for their job, according to the 2020 Pearson Global Learner Survey.
In 2019, far fewer people in the U.S. were taking on career training. Americans are now keeping pace with China and India by embracing short courses and bootcamps to take charge of their own learning outcomes. Based on our research, 50% of all Americans completed a course, training program, or bootcamp in 2020, compared to 41% of those surveyed in 2019.
If you already have a degree, these additional learning pathways can help give you breadth and depth in a particular subject area without the commitment of a full-time program, says Pearson Vice President of Academic Affairs Amy Peterson.
"Short courses are a great way to test out something and get an understanding of how to apply it in the workplace.
If the short course piques your interest, you could then consider pursuing a certificate or perhaps even a degree, Peterson explains.
She notes that taking stand-alone courses can also give you a chance to expand into spaces where your current employer may have less experience.
If your company is lighter in the business analytics realm and business intelligence, you can use short courses to support your company by gaining that expertise.
Another plus of graduate certificates and short courses is their versatility. If an MBA isn’t a practical option for you in the short term, some institutions will allow you to put your completed course credits toward the completion of a full degree program.
“You can take some of those specialty short courses and have them apply to a master’s degree,” Peterson explains. “So you get the more immediate impact on your employability with the short courses and then they stack into a full degree later.”
As for current trends in continuing education, Peterson notes IT courses as a popular option for business professionals looking to distinguish themselves in the COVID economy and help bridge any gaps between their employers' business and IT functions.
Short courses can be a way for you to expand into the technology space and be an interface between technology and business. There's a need for those who can translate the business needs to the technology side, and vice versa.