Welcome to the eighth chapter of our ‘Tech for Good’ series, where we delve into the transformative power of upskilling and reskilling to empower communities. Join us as we explore how platforms like Khan Academy and Coursera revolutionize education and enable individuals to acquire new skills. In addition, we’ll see how they’ve adapted to changing landscapes and how they drive positive change in their communities and even globally. Plus, we’ll cover some readily available tools to help you build mentorship programs, internal knowledge-sharing platforms, and more.
Overall, upskilling and reskilling are essential for startups and nonprofits. Startups must keep their employees’ skills up to date to remain competitive, while nonprofits empower their workforce to drive social change.
Let’s get to it!
Table of contents
- A Quick Note
- Nonprofit Perspective
- Startup Perspective
- Readily available tools to help with Upskilling and Reskilling
- Reflecting on the Power of Upskilling and Reskilling through Technology
- The Takeaway: To Address Disparities, Empower Through Upskilling and Reskilling
A Quick Note
The below examples are separated into two industry perspectives: nonprofits and startups. For our purposes, each view/perspective is meant to depict how similar orgs could possibly harness different tools and technologies and intentionally use them for good. After that, list some actual tools/tech that broadly apply to each scenario. Please note that I have not contacted the companies to confirm they use these tools as displayed in the examples or in context otherwise. The suggestions are based on my knowledge as a senior project manager specializing in citizen development.
Example 1: Khan Academy
Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization, is a beacon in the realm of upskilling and reskilling programs. Renowned for its wide array of free online courses covering various subjects, Khan Academy has been pivotal in addressing educational disparities. With its innovative Mastery Learning Feature introduced in 2018, Khan Academy significantly bolstered math scores, reporting a 33 percent growth in middle school math scores and a 19 percent surge in elementary school math scores within a school district.
Fast forward to June 21, 2023, and they may have been on to something. NPR reported a significant decline in reading and math scores in the U.S. These statistics underscore the urgent need to combat educational disparities and the crucial role of platforms like Khan Academy in driving positive change.
Example 2: Coursera
Coursera, a prominent startup offering online courses and educational resources, has been instrumental in bridging skill gaps and enabling accessible learning opportunities. With its expansive library of courses curated by top institutions, Coursera has empowered individuals worldwide to gain new skills and knowledge. Its adaptive learning technologies and partnerships with universities signify its commitment to fostering a culture of continual learning and skill development.
Readily available tools to help with Upskilling and Reskilling
Leveraging learning management systems (LMS) could benefit nonprofits aiming to enhance upskilling and reskilling programs. These systems facilitate the creation and delivering educational content, allowing organizations to track and manage their workforce’s learning progress efficiently. For example, platforms like Moodle or Canvas offer robust features suitable for academic institutions and nonprofits.
Startups keen on fostering upskilling and reskilling can integrate online learning platforms into their employee development strategies. Services such as Udemy for Business or LinkedIn Learning provide diverse course catalogs, allowing employees to acquire new skills relevant to their roles. Mentorship programs or internal knowledge-sharing platforms can facilitate continuous learning within startup environments.
Potential Technologies in a Nonprofit Scenario
- Learning Management Systems (LMS): Facilitate content creation and track learning progress for nonprofits engaged in educational initiatives.
Potential Technology Usage in a Startup Scenario
- Online Learning Platforms: Offer diverse course catalogs for employee skill development within startup environments.
- Mentorship Programs or Internal Knowledge-Sharing Platforms: Encourage continuous learning and skill acquisition among startup employees. Different technologies are available, but it depends on what you are trying to do or build; I’ll break them down into separate sections below.
- Mentorship Programs
- Chronus Mentoring Software: This platform streamlines the mentorship process by facilitating mentor matching, communication, progress tracking, and resource sharing.
- Mentorloop: Offers a platform for managing mentorship programs, focusing on matching, communication, and progress tracking, providing a user-friendly experience.
- Torch: Is a mentoring platform that uses technology and personalized matching algorithms to connect mentors and mentees and provides resources and progress tracking.
- Internal Knowledge-Sharing Platforms
- Confluence (by Atlassian): This collaboration and documentation tool is designed for teams. It allows users to create, share, and collaborate on projects, documents, and ideas.
- Notion: It’s a versatile tool that combines note-taking, wiki, and project management features, making it helpful in creating internal wikis, databases, and collaborative workspaces.
- Mentorship Programs
Reflecting on the Power of Upskilling and Reskilling through Technology
Now, it’s time for reflection. How can your organization harness technology to enhance upskilling or reskilling initiatives? Also, how might integrating learning management systems or adopting online learning platforms align with your organizational goals? Imagine the impact of mentorship programs or internal knowledge-sharing platforms within your team. As you ponder these questions, envision how these tech-driven solutions could elevate your organization’s capacity for positive change and community empowerment.
Can you imagine a future where your startup employees or nonprofit team members are equipped with new skills and easily accessible mentorship programs? What transformative changes could upskilling bring to your organization, and how might this positively impact your community or cause?
Still unsure? Click each link below to see how both companies change lives through upskilling and reskilling.
The Takeaway: To Address Disparities, Empower Through Upskilling and Reskilling
In this post, we’ve witnessed the tremendous impact of platforms like Khan Academy and Coursera in reshaping education, addressing disparities, and empowering communities through upskilling and reskilling. Moreover, amid the urgency to combat educational disparities revealed by NPR’s report, it’s evident how pivotal organizations like Khan Academy can be in addressing such challenges. Overall, these examples highlight education’s vital role in shaping brighter futures, fostering knowledgeable societies, and driving positive change.
The significance of continuous learning and skill development extends to startups and nonprofits. While startups aim to keep their workforce competitive, nonprofits strive to empower their teams to drive social change. Leveraging learning management systems (LMS) can benefit nonprofits by efficiently managing educational content and tracking progress. On the other hand, startups might find integrating online learning platforms into their employee development strategies highly effective. Furthermore, mentorship programs and internal knowledge-sharing platforms foster continuous learning within startup environments and nonprofit educational initiatives.
P.S. The future posts in this series get published on Wednesdays at 8:30 AM EST. This series doesn’t need to be followed in any specific order. Lastly, for those who don’t want to miss out, below are the previous posts:
- Part 1 – Technology for Good: A Guide to Creating Positive Change in Startups and Nonprofits
- Part 2 – Harnessing AI and Automation for Social Impact
- Part 3 – Digital Collaboration and Remote Work: Changing the Face of Nonprofits and Startups
- Part 4 – The Gig Economy: Balancing Flexibility and Social Responsibility
- Part 5 – Data-Driven Decision Making: The Heartbeat of Tech for Good
- Part 6 – Cybersecurity and Data Privacy: Safeguarding Your Mission
- Part 7 – Accessibility: A Tech for Good Imperative