Reuters Next: The Future of Further Education Post-Pandemic

The Reuters Next virtual conference, which runs the same days as CES 2021 this week (January 11-14), features more than 100 sessions and interviews across five key global areas: Policy & Progress, Radical Redesign, Recovering Growth, A Sustainable Future, and Media and Free Speech. Some of today’s sessions addressed how the blended digital and physical group work environment that will become the new normal post-COVID has direct parallels with how education in college and beyond will be handled, including points that will be of interest to ETC’s members and businesses in general.

Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, said that their student body doubled during the pandemic. Suddenly people in their 40s and 50s discovered that they have ready access to continuing education and they can update their skills on their own schedule.

Because Udacity has dedicated resources to understand how to improve online engagement, Udacity’s course completion rates have gone up from 3 percent when Udacity first launched to 80 percent today. Their techniques and learnings are directly applicable to more effective and engaging online team work activities.

Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, discussed the power of community. People are developing the skills for finding connections and building communities online to solve problems. The face-to-face undergraduate community experience should help students develop those skills, which are applicable throughout their lives and careers.

Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, made the point that COVID-19 and online education has opened people up to finding education and information from anywhere, and not just the local teacher or expert. Pulling resources to achieve personal goals has become a key skill for future success. This unlocks flexibility that has, for example, allowed high school students in Silicon Valley to develop the knowledge to make them value-adding interns in corporate research labs.

A key question to ask, said Salman, is “how do you keep people engaged?” This was true in the pre-COVID classroom environment. It has continued to be relevant in the pandemic-driven distancing learning experience. And it will be key for both education and business communications post-COVID.

All the live Reuters Next sessions including Q&A and audience polls are available for free with registration. The $699 Professional Pass also includes access to all recorded sessions, the networking platform and the exclusive post event report.