E-learning and Employability Skills — Needs and Proper Implementation
Pankaj Acharya | Associate Prof. & Head of Department - The Knowledge Review

With the rapid growth of digital technology and rise in virtual learning, education centers are offering online courses and degrees to students. E-Learning has a vital role to play as a class room teaching tool or self-study platform for skill development in future.

The entry of mobile technology in the information era has witnessed a radical effect on the knowledge acquisition of an individual to sustain in the competitive scenario. The professional of the digital age is expected to acquire ICT (Information and Communication Technology) skills to survive and succeed in their career. The learning with digital technology comprises of ICT products such as teleconferencing, E-mails, audio, television lessons, radio broadcasts, interactive voice response system, online videos, etc.

For E-learning, it is important for the mentors to know the need about shifting the learner’s attitude towards learning. They should be intrinsically motivated to learn and for this, there is a need to create awareness and develop an understanding of the relevance of the employability skills amongst them. As a mentor, it is necessary to understand how a mentor can engage, impart knowledge, develop relevant skills, and make them ready for the employment.

Benefits of E-learning are easy to use, useful even at distant places and in remote areas, helps in professional development & continued education, helps in educating large number of people, develops reflective & critical thinking, and delivers a broad array of solutions, knowledge, and performance.

Apart from the aforesaid benefits, E-learning needs careful planning in implementation.  Students do not automatically become conscientious, self-motivated individuals. Success in fact depends on the level of interaction between students and lecturers that is required to stimulate good results. Students’ lacking in the skill to study independently is not reacting well in a virtual environment. The issue of isolation caused by E-learning has sparked a rigorous debate amongst researchers.

The critical success factors in an E-Learning environment are different to those in a traditional learning environment. The institutions incorporate elements of online learning into degree courses and many are looking in hindsight at the factors that affect the performance of students who enrolled.

Quality assurance is a key issue in the implementation of E-Learning. As the number of non-accredited institutions, which are offering degrees, increases rapidly, these are damaging the reputation of online learning. A number of virtual programs have thrown up quality concerns, which in turn means that providers of quality E-Learning programs must fight harder for recognition from employers and the wider society.

The implementation of the E-learning with digital technology is a costly affair due to the huge investment to initiate. The operational cost is required for up gradation and maintenance of digital tools affect outcome. Another limitation in the online world is the continuous availability of internet connection.

A reasonable proportion of students who enrolled for various online courses have discontinued it, which proves that absence of human factor in virtual learning is a major drawback for its final success.

Employability is not about getting a job. Conversely, just because a student is on a vocational course does not mean that somehow employability is automatic. Employability is more about developing attributes, techniques or experience just to enable a student to get a job, or to progress within a current career. It is about learning and the emphasis is less on employ and more on ability. In essence, the emphasis is on developing critical, reflective abilities, with a view to empower and enhance the learner.

Employability is the ability of an individual to gain employment that is appropriate to his/her educational standards. An individual employability depends upon his or her assets in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes; the manner in which these assets are used and deployed; presented to potential employers and the context within which the individual works.

Lacking in employability skills may lead to a risk of unemployment or it will be difficult to progress at work. Poor employment skills are of great concern for the individuals as well as employers, society, and economy.

Employability skills refer to personal skills like self-management, problem-solving, and people skills supported by functional competencies like traditional literacy, numeracy, and effective use of Information and Communication Technologies.

The skills, knowledge, and competencies that enhance a worker’s ability to secure and retain a job; progress at work and cope with changes, secure another job if he/she wishes or has been laid off can enter more easily into the market at different periods of the life cycle.

E-learning can be used in teaching, training, and learning strategies for all the employability skills in various ways. E-learning provides structures that take account of the relationships between the employability skills that facilitate the identification of effective teaching and learning strategies. Employers need reliable, responsible workers who can solve problems and who have the social skills and approaches to work with other workers. Employees with these skills are in demand and are considered valuable human capital assets to companies. Unlike occupational or technical skills, employability skills are generic in nature.

With the help of E-learning, an individual can get knowledge and employability skills. Using E-learning as a tool for self-learning the individuals are lagging behind in the personal qualities such as team spirit, cooperativeness, taking responsibilities, honesty, adaptability, and flexibility. These qualities are developed when a person learns or gets training in the traditional way. Online or learning through ICT based technologies give more knowledge to the learner’s but the traditional way not only nurtures them with the knowledge but also guides them how and when to use this knowledge.

Although there is a rapid growth in E-learning sector, but traditional learning has its own importance and values. In traditional learning ICT based tools can be used to enhance the quality of knowledge and will keep alive our tradition of Guru-Shishya.

Author Profile

Mr. Pankaj Acharya has experience of 12 years in teaching, research, and industry. He did his graduation from University Of Rajasthan and Post-Graduation from M.B.M. Engineering College in Computer Science Engineering. He is working in JIET College of Engineering in the capacity of Associate Professor & Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He has organized many national and international level conferences. His area of research is Distributed Systems, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.


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