Over the past year, we’ve seen a massive increase in the use of online learning platforms. Community heads Cathy Li and Farah Lalani at the World Economic Forum reported that school closures due to the pandemic resulted in a rise in the use of language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing, and online learning software. Many online learning platforms have also begun offering free access to their services in response to the pandemic, with some seeing as much as a 200 percent increase in the number of new students.
But the rise of online learning platforms serves to benefit not just students, but the global workforce, too. Tech writer Daniel Ling explains that the principle of continuously sharpening your existing skills while acquiring new ones is a huge factor for success. “Wherever you are on the business spectrum,” he writes. “…You should always look to absorb new skills and adapt to the ever-changing demands of society.”
Continuous learning can have a massive impact on your career trajectory. Industry-level certifications can also help you negotiate better salaries. Studies have shown that IT professionals who made the effort to gain new skills in 2020 received raises of up to EUR 11,000. What’s more, IT professionals with six or more industry-related certifications stand to earn EUR 8,400 more than peers with only one certification. Online learning platforms make career advancement more attainable by offering more flexible schedules and arrangements to full-time employees. Organisations offering professional certifications also benefit by being able to offer flexible exam options, one example is the International Software Quality Institute who deliver multiple software certifications for professionals at different stages of their careers. Computer-based exams are offered for all certifications but candidates can choose the time and location that they wish to sit their exam, which is a flexible and user-friendly approach for an organization that is offering certifications globally.
Hiring managers can also benefit from using online platforms, as they can help them find candidates who will go the extra mile to improve their knowledge base. As Sorcha Ryan explained in a previous post, organisations must take care to apply due rigor to properly screening candidates and conducting skills assessments. However, organisations must also ensure that candidates have a positive experience throughout the process. Organisations must have assessments that allow for the objective and accurate testing of applicants.
In the past, many skill assessments have required candidates to travel to specific locations on set dates. The inconvenience of having to do so has, on numerous occasions, cost organisations potentially great candidates. Moreover, coordinating schedules and office reservations can be a huge drain on company resources. Instead, recruiters and hiring managers can turn to online exam platforms to perform the necessary skills assessments. Online exam solutions enable organisations to run a recruitment exam or skills assessment from any location at any time, with the same level of rigour and security as one conducted in-person. This is facilitated via technology such as live online proctoring, where a trained supervisor can verify the identity of the candidate, and then monitor the candidate online while they sit their exam, using video, audio and screenshare connections.
These skills assessments can also be used to help forward reskilling and upskilling initiatives across organisations. Existing employees can undergo assessments to confirm that they are strengthening their skills, and that they are staying up-to-date on current protocols. With these being moved to online platforms, assessments become more convenient and accessible to every type of employee.
Of course, simply moving traditional assessments online is impossible. Online environments can be starkly different to traditional testing environments, as found in a study by professor Alan Jaap of the University of Edinburgh and his colleagues. While test anxiety was reduced from some students, others felt that on-site testing ensured “an even playing field for all candidates.” The study also found that remote exam delivery is an effective and generally acceptable approach, which can be used without detriment to candidates.
Online platforms have seen greatly increased usage due to the pandemic, and we are likely to see many industries continue to utilise them at greater scale internationally - not just for learning and development, but also for pre-employment assessments.
If you’d like to read more about how online exam solutions such as TestReach can help with recruitment screening, download our recruitment screening datasheet here.