Past Event details

Digital platforms, digital labour, and the future of employability

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Speaker: Dr Janja Komljenovic, Lecturer in Higher Education: Lancaster University

This talk will focus on proprietary digital platforms in and around higher education. Specifically, it will examine how the political economy of digital data extracted by platforms might impact notions of ‘graduate’ employability. The literature identified unbundling as one of the key impacts of platforms in higher education in that educational provision and student experience are cut into smaller parts, and possibly re-bundled back together into different entities (McCowan, 2017; Robertson & Komljenovic, 2016; Swinnerton et al., 2019). I propose that in parallel to unbundling, we might also witness de-institutionalisation of higher education with the rise of micro-credentials and similar alternative training opportunities. Majority of venture capital investment goes into platforms that target consumers directly, i.e. students and staff (a B-2-C approach); or that target corporations for staff development training (a B-2-B approach). These two areas receive more than double investment in comparison to platforms targeting schools and universities (Brighteye Ventures, 2020). Many education technology (EdTech) investors are now specialising in the future of education and work, thus bringing together digital labour platforms and education & training platforms. On the one hand, there are initiatives to include micro-credentials and short e-learning courses into national qualification frameworks, as well as the European qualification framework, thus legitimating such skills verification and putting them on an equal footing as skills, which are institutionally achieved. On the other hand, automated skills matching and just-in-time training are promoted as new disruptive solutions for the skills gap, labour market needs, and the future of work. This brings challenges for how universities deal with employability, and their role in society more generally. 

Network: Employability, Enterprise and Work-based Learning
Date(s): Thursday, 30 July 2020
Times: 11.00 -11.45
Location: Online event, link will be provided
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