SkillTech is nothing but “Tech that enables skill acquisition, measurement, retention and continuous improvement digitally”. The key word is “digitally”..
This is different from EdTech which primarily focuses on Tech that enables “Knowledge” acquisition via impacting the “Core” learning process or impacting the “Enablers”. As compared to EdTech, SkillTech focuses more
- On kinesthetics and less on cognitive aspects
- On developing muscle memory
- On driving a behavioral shift in the learner
Traditionally, the efficacy of Tech (without a human) in achieving the above three has been quite poor. Even now, there are myriads of challenges:
- While there is considerable success in “Enablers Space” like testing & measurement, machines used for training etc. – not much is happening in the “Core” space. The latter is quite complex and difficult – however, this is where the need is the most, if we have to eradicate the world from the menace of “Unemployability”
- Simulation of real scenarios where learners can actually execute the tasks is difficult in a pure play online environment. This is specially true for the “Non Services Trades” like Plumbing, Fitting, Machining, Welding, Construction etc. While, there have been developments like eWelding machines, they are still not production grade esp. from creating the tactile feel that a welder experiences with a real welding machines. Besides, these are limited to a few areas only. In the services world, the success rates are much better except for areas like healthcare, housekeeping etc. The key aspect in the Services space is to get the algorithm (Activities & tasks) right! The algorithm that works well in the pure play digital space need not be the same as the brick & mortar world!
- Low acceptance by the learners ( consumers) as this requires a mindset change. In general, the social acceptance of skills, esp. in the Indian context, is much lower than knowledge. Now, getting a reluctant learner to pick up skills in the “Online” world is even more challenging!
- For Skill Tech to become mainstream, a shift in consumer behavior in its favor is key to success. In societies where Digital Maturity is low, this becomes even more challenging esp. if they are making a transition from the world of agriculture to the world of services while bypassing the world of manufacturing!
- Unlike the “Tech” in EdTech, the “Tech” in SkillTech is quite heterogenous and varies significantly from industry to industry. This poses a huge challenge from a single SkillTechplayers ability to work across sectors and hence, requires many players with deep domain knowledge in their respective areas to work in their space. This is not easy to find esp. as it requires more patient approach
However, for success what’s “fundamental” and common across all sectors is to bring about a behaviroal shift in the learners! This coupled with the ability to drive in a change in “consumer behavior” in favor of SkillTech will be the key to success!
We are still in early days and the S curve is pretty much yet to begin! While we wait for a Magellan to come by, a Christopher Columbus will work wonders at this stage.