Harnessing technology: the key to future-ready employees and … – South China Morning Post

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Many companies have accelerated the adoption of technology in employee development, as they increasingly shift towards a globally distributed workforce. Technology has provided employees with greater flexibility and convenience, enabling them to learn anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. However, the use of technology should not be merely a matter of expediency. Research has shown that advanced technologies such as AI and XR can make learning more engaging, personalised, scalable, and cost-effective, when used appropriately. Technology can also be used to equip the workforce with not only digital skills but also essential human skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
According to the key findings in the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs 2023” report, the nature of jobs will undergo a drastic transformation. The report highlights that technology adoption, particularly in the areas of big data, cloud computing, and AI, will remain a key driver of business transformation over the next five years.
Before 2027, six out of ten workers will require upskilling. However, only half of the workforce is expected to have access to adequate training opportunities. Employers must address the challenges in workforce development and develop their abilities to leverage AI and big data to optimise productivity.
Technologies also have an impact on the employability of recent graduates. With AI taking over many of the tasks often allocated to entry-level workers, adequate industry experience will become an even more important differentiator for students entering the workforce.
With the introduction of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) compliance by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, an increasing number of businesses are recognising their employees as valuable assets. Staff development has become a key ESG indicator for many companies. Management and human resources executives are realising that the implementation of technologies, such as data analytics and AI, is essential to make talent development more effective and scalable.
Leveraging tech to develop critical soft skills
Cognitive skills top the list of in demand skills in the WEF Future of Jobs Report 2023. Technology is not just relevant to the learning of digital skills. According to Salah Khalil, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Macat, critical thinking is one of the most essential skills in the era of Chat GPT. It’s part of the 4 Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration with machines.
“These skills will help workers augment intelligence and leverage the hybrid intelligence models of human and artificial intelligence. Critical thinking provides a foundation by which all the other 3Cs become more effective.”
Macat’s solution for critical thinking has been built on a definition that is academically robust, created in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. This definition identifies critical thinking as comprising the component skills of problem-solving, analysis, creative thinking, interpretation, evaluation, and reasoning, collectively known as PACIER, notes Khalil. “Macat further developed the critical thinking process, through tests, teaching and tracking, and finally the critical thinking products. It is an assessment, a library and masterclasses. Taken together, Macat’s solution helps employers better manage talent by recruiting the best talent, promoting the right people, improving data driven decision making and effectively dealing with employee turnover.”
Macat has been selected as one of the 10 enterprises for the 2023 Edventures Global Business Acceleration Fellowships. These fellows will share their insights at EdTech Month 2023, which is set to take place in Hong Kong in mid-October and is organised by Esperanza, a non-profit organisation.
Enabling personalised learning
In an ideal scenario, employers would be able to create custom learning paths for each employee, promoting growth and proficiency in a manner that is easy, efficient, and cost-effective.
ODILO has developed “Unlimited Learning Ecosystems” to respond to the specific needs of each client, not only to enhance formal and compulsory training, but also to provide users with access to the world's largest educational catalogue of over 4 million multi-format resources. “What makes this work is not only the ecosystems, but the team of ODILO professionals who ensure constant monitoring throughout the learning cycle,” says Fátima Bigeriego, ODILO’s Global Director of Strategic Alliances.
“ODILO's “Personalized Intelligent Ecosystem” offers users predefined training by their institutions and corporations and the freedom to direct their own learning, always with the support and guidance of our “Unlimited Learning Coaches”,” Bigeriego continues. “The younger generation look for personalised experiences that ‘find' them. Thanks to AI and advanced algorithms, ODILO presents learning tailored to the individual user's interests, positions, educational background, and previous consumption.”
Workera uses cutting-edge generative AI, data science, software, machine learning, and cloud technology to propel enterprise transformation. The company offers swift and accurate skills assessment and dynamic upskilling solutions on a personalised basis. Workera is led by Kian Katanforoosh who co-taught with AI pioneer Andrew Ng, and now serves as the company’s Chairman.
Generative AI helps catalyse personalised learning and productivity and produce custom-tailored content. It pushes companies to monitor productivity trends and make skill development a moving target. As transformations become a continuous business imperative, enterprises are required to constantly track changes in productivity across their job architectures and offer opportunities for their people to gain skills and move seamlessly from job to job, says CEO & Co-founder, Kian Katanforoosh. “Workera leverages generative AI across its product suite, enhancing skills assessment and customising learning paths. Our platform boasts the most detailed skills dataset globally, where each skill is mapped to a measurable cognition. Combined with AI, this enables high-confidence skills prediction. For instance, we can assess someone on, say, 20 skills and provide in-depth feedback on over 100 using predictive analysis.”
Workera is an objective skill measurement platform, independent from learning materials. Skills are measured not in the context of a specific course or learning material, but directly tied to job tasks defined by managers, Katanforoosh adds.
Motivating learning
Very often companies struggle to engage and motivate staff learning. To maximise the advantages of training, employers strive to enhance learner engagement and encourage active participation.ClassIn’s flagship Virtual Classroom maximises interactivity in the classroom through innovative tools such as class polling, flexible online seating, randomisers, and dice. ClassIn’s latest addition of a full-scale LMS (learning management system) provides tools to help educators track student progress – from discussion boards, video analytics, attendance tracking, quiz banks, to assessment management. It enables instructors to identify areas where students are struggling and adjust their teaching methods, according to Ted Mo Chen, Vice President, Globalization, ClassIn.
Enhancing Student Employability
Graduate employability presents a challenge for all stakeholders involved. Virtual Internships addresses this issue by providing project-based, international work experience to learners from diverse backgrounds, locations, and fields of study. This ensures that learners are equipped with the necessary skills and experience to succeed in their chosen careers. “We guarantee internship placements for all students regardless of their location or background,” says CEO of the company, Daniel Nivern. “We can do this through our proprietary platform that matches learners with a network of over 13,000 host companies worldwide based on their area of career interest. We have been incorporating AI to make the matching process ever more efficient, more precise, and more tailored to the needs of both the employer and student. The advantage is faster and more relevant placements to help learners gain valuable career experience in their chosen fields.”
Belong Education has developed comprehensive platforms that aim to bridge the gap between education and employment through experiential learning, real-world industry projects, and internship opportunities. The company is working towards creating an equal opportunity marketplace where learners worldwide can build careers relevant to their skills through a bias-free process, says Co-founder and CEO of Belong Education, Apoorv Bamba.
Belong Education’s “Industry Experience Platform” offers “Industry Capstone Projects,” which enable learners to tackle real company challenges while building a skills portfolio as proof-of-work. These capstones are collaboratively designed with industry partners to meet their specific hiring needs, ensuring practical market relevance, Bamba adds.
EdTech Month 2023
Singapore is leading the way as an EdTech hub in southeast Asia. This is due to government policy and support to both education institutes and businesses, and Temasek investing in EdTech ventures in the region. South Korea is home to over 400 EdTech startups, while venture capital investments in India’s EdTech sector have grown to US$16.1 billion in 2022. Indonesia’s EdTech ecosystem is also expanding while promising startups are emerging in Thailand and Vietnam.
In the pursuit of becoming a competitive digital knowledge economy, Hong Kong companies must accelerate their adoption of technologies to enhance the future-readiness of their workforce and attract overseas talent to fill any gaps. Hong Kong has the potential to establish itself as an EdTech hub in East Asia.
EdTech Month 2023 will serve as a platform for those interested in exploring the new frontiers of learning and talent development. The cohort of ten 2023 Edventures GBA Fellows, including Virtual Internships, ODILO, ClassIn, Macat, Belong Education, and Workera, as well as other thought leaders, will share their insights during this month-long programme of activities.
Attendees will have hands-on learning experience with these award winning EdTech solutions.  The programmes are designed for educators, business executives, HR practitioners, EdTech startups, investors as well as students and parents. It also provides an opportunity for local businesses to explore collaboration opportunities with the Edventures GBA fellows, whether you are publishers or in the telecommunication, broadcasting or other content industries.
Admission to most activities is free. On-site attendees can join a networking luncheon and engage with summit speakers for a fee of HK$350 per person.


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