Conversations about innovating education used to focus on helping K-12 schools adopt current technology and engaging high schoolers through projects and experiential learning. College cost and student retention are a focus in higher ed. These important topics are rapidly being addressed in the market.

Now mapping skills, assessing competency for jobs and identifying how to use credentialing for learners are subjects that not only in the edtech community is tackling, but also within the management team of most employers. The theme of the 2018 LearnLaunch Across Boundaries Conference is “Accelerating Learning for All” and is bringing together key leaders to discuss these topics in a series of compelling panel discussions.

In the session, “Pathways for Workforce Development”, thought leaders explore how career/technical education programs, high school innovation pathways, workforce investment boards and connections to community colleges are preparing students for today’s workforce.

In the US, 60% of adults have some college credits, but only 32% have obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. The panel “Skills Development for Adults Without a Higher Ed Degree” will discuss the different options that are available for the large market of adults who seek to advance their learning and explore digital options and services.

The pressure for stackable certificates continues to grow outside the tech industry, where they have been the norm, yet the skills and qualities that employers value are always changing. This means that learners seeking to make an investment in their education need to make sure that the boot camp, certificate or micro-masters degrees they are pursuing is worth the investment or have the potential help their career. This is discussed in the panel “Credentials: What is Really Happening”.

With parents and students keeping an increasingly close eye on what jobs will follow an investment in a college education, colleges are amplifying their efforts to connect students with career opportunities. “Connecting Colleges to the Workplace” will focus on demonstrating some of the most successful strategies including engaging alumni networks to provide work experiences and changing advising.

Parents, students, and the entire education industry should understand the latest trends in skilling up the workforce. Policy makers and businesses are eager to see the education system develop talent to meet the needs of the current market, and students are eager to invest in an education that will result in a successful career. Increasingly, attention has focused on introducing students to career pathways, either in functional areas – like marketing, finance, sales or operations in a certain industry, such information technology or life sciences.

Emerging technologies are already making an impact on many of the issues around skill mapping and assessment suitable for Artificial Intelligence. In addition, many jobs are appropriate for Virtual Reality based training. Edtech investors are actively investing and watching this space. With over 40 panels and exciting keynotes, the LearnLaunch Conference allows for exploration of diverse topics in the edtech ecosystem. We hope you will join us next week!


Jean Hammond is a founder and partner of LearnLaunch