Digital learning platforms: the end of location-based learning?

john danilovichThis year the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched The ICC Academy – using digital learning platforms to provide truly global education that is accessible to individuals all around the world. John Danilovich, Secretary General of the ICC discusses the reasons why they took this decision and looks at the future of global education.

Digital learning platforms provide many significant benefits over traditional means of education. And these benefits are certainly catching on – as the global online learning industry is expected to grow to US$51.5 billion in 2016, a substantial growth from US$35.6 billion in 2011, according to a 2014 report by Docebo.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has taken the benefits of digital learning platforms and launched The ICC Academy – a professional education initiative with the goal of providing high-quality education to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Digital learning platforms are levelling the playing field between emerging and developed markets by opening the doors to high-quality education – even in the most challenging environments – as the only requirement for access is an internet connection.

In fact, digital learning platforms are already taking off in emerging markets, where we are seeing the most significant growth. Specifically, the highest levels of growth are in Asia (17.3%), Eastern Europe (16.9%), Africa (15.2%) and Latin America (14.6%), according to the 2014 Docebo report. Clearly, such growth is indicative of the global reach and flexibility digital learning platforms have to offer.

Moreover, digital learning platforms can also be credited with eliminating time constraints that have traditionally prevented individuals from pursuing education. Rather than having to be in a specific place at a specific time, users now have the freedom to work around their own personal schedules. This is particularly beneficial to professionals – as not many of them have the desire or resources to take time off of work.

In addition to breaking down barriers, digital learning platforms offer the promise of a global standard of education. The ICC Academy, for instance, develops its courses in one central location, which allows the same high-quality education to be disbursed around the world through digital learning platforms, thus creating a new global standard of education. This, in turn, is streamlining business practices around the world. Indeed, this new standard is equipping professionals with business practices that are compatible with one another around the world.

Digital learning platforms are becoming networking hubs

In the past, digital learning platforms have been criticised for removing the opportunity to network, share experiences and seek employment opportunities, which is something universities excel at. Yet this is changing.

Professional education initiatives are finding it within their grasp to extend education beyond the classrooms – and they are excelling where they once failed. The ICC Academy, for one, is providing enviable networking opportunities by allowing users to take advantage of its comprehensive global network, which comprises hundreds of thousands of businesses in over 130 countries.

Indeed, the ICC Academy allows individuals to become ICC members – granting them access to a professional networking community as well as access to exclusive publications.

What is more, ICC and International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) have launched the International Trade Associate Program (ITAP) that will give four leading Singaporean polytechnics the opportunity to gain industry-accredited professional certification as well as career development opportunities such as internships and apprenticeships. Additionally, they will be able to attend career talks and roadshows – developing their careers to meet the growing need of companies and banks for skilled employees in trade related roles.

Is this the end of traditional means of education?

Digital learning platforms have continued to grow in popularity and this growth is not showing any signs of slowing down, especially in business, as globalization continues its march. With that being said, classrooms will never die out, as many individuals prefer – and are accustomed to –face-to-face instruction.

Ultimately, the key is just to ensure that education draws on expertise, new educational approaches to adapt and evolve, regardless of how it is delivered. Indeed, that is why The ICC Academy offers courses that are developed and moderated by their unrivalled roster of trade experts and practitioners to garner the most relevant insights across all areas of commerce and industry.

Rachel Cooper

This article was published on 5th December 2015, for the International Volunteer Day at Global Education Magazine.

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