Skills Quotient

The Solution to the CEO’s Biggest Problem

Skills Quotient

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Learning Experience

Just the Beginning

Learning Experience

is an MBA worth it?

As I am finishing my MBA I am constantly asked one question: Is my MBA worth the investment? This is an answer that will change for every individual. Since I have a background in Psychology I have found myself looking at this question in the perspective of others I have encountered that are pursuing an MBA or have attained their MBA.

A Check-Mark vs. Actual Skills

When I started my MBA I was working for an investment firm that was helping pay for an MBA. Most of the people that were pursuing an MBA at my company were doing so to take advantage of “free” money. The downfall is that the guy that was sitting next to me had his MBA for over five years and was still making the same amount of money as myself and wasn’t looking to go anywhere. These employees just went through the motions of higher education and finished their MBA. A lot of my colleagues would check it off their list and act like nothing happened. To me, this is a waste of money and time just so the company will pay me a little extra money that goes directly to a school and not me. I wanted my time and money to be used to better myself and my future.

In my first few classes I started to look at the experience and background of others in my class. One of my professors asked the students to introduce themselves and why they were in the program. The majority stated they wanted an MBA to get a raise or to get a better job. There were only a few of us that wanted to improve our knowledge and skill. Now I am not saying that the first group didn’t want to improve their skills as well, but motivations can determine the quality of the outcome.

Over the past two years I have found myself working with many different individuals in group projects. I am astounded at how little effort some people put into a master’s degree and expect others to carry them to the end. The thought of competing against these people after I got my degree scared me. A potential employer will not see how much work was put into an MBA and frankly they may not even care. We both will have a degree to show we accomplished the program, so what would set me apart? I wanted to be different. I wanted to show that I learned a behavior of learning that will help me find solutions to the business’ problems. The problem is that I couldn’t find a way to show that I have a newfound desire for lifelong learning. This was until I found Degreed. Degreed gave me a way to track all of my learning, not just my Degree. It allows me to show my continual learning to colleagues and will help direct me in valuable content to keep up with relevant changes and learning.

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The Habit of Learning

Why does it matter to be a lifelong learner and make learning a habit? For my previous colleagues that had their MBA for 5 years and are sitting in the same role they were when they finished, your knowledge is stale. Business has changed over the last 5 years. Do you want outdated information in your business decisions? For those that get an MBA to get a pay raise or a better job, you are not going to have longing success as you missed out on a learning opportunity since you had others carry you to the end. What skills or knowledge did you gain? For those that went to learn and grow, you may not have a better job right away or an immediate pay raise, but you will be an asset to the business as you learned how to learn and how to analyze things differently.

Your Answer

So to answer the question “Is my MBA worth the investment?” I would say YES. I went into the program investing in my future through skills and knowledge. If I went into the degree for a check off my list or for a piece of paper, I would say no. The true value comes from your motivation and attitude in the beginning. Just remember, learning doesn’t end once you have the paper. You will find the most value in the MBA as you continue to learn and use what you learn like an MBA is structured to teach you.

You can tweet Branden @brandengbaldwin and follow him on Degreed here. Branden’s MBA is from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT. Branden enjoys spending time with his wife and children and volunteering in his community.

Corporate learning professionals have access to more learning content than ever before. In a recent CLO article, Josh Bersin describes the effect of the internet on the e-learning ecosystem:

“Today, we can watch an expert, jump from topic to topic, interact with the teacher, and submit real exercises and exams for evaluation online. Most community colleges and universities offer accredited courses online, and my personal experience shows they work extremely well. What does this all mean to us in corporate training? E-learning is back with a vengeance. Digital learning today is more exciting, dynamic and relevant than ever. Video, social experiences, gaming and online accreditation are all common.”

Not only has the medium of learning content diversified, the sheer amount of learning content has exploded. Degreed has cataloged over 250,000 online learning courses and 3 million informal learning activities from more than 1200 sources. Everything from live, virtual and eLearning courses to videos, MOOCs, bootcamps, articles, books, podcasts, webinars, conferences, online communities, apps and more. This content is coming from new and diverse sources, Crunchbase lists 1400+ edtech startups. In addition to traditional academic institutions bringing learning directly to individuals via the MOOCs, there’s also for-profit education providers, consulting firms, publishers, tech firms and non-profits.

The result? Here’s what the learning content landscape looks like today:

Degreed_2016_Learning_Landscape

Degreed

Today we are proud to announce a $21 million Series B investment to fuel further expansion. The new investment will fuel continued growth of lifelong learning and skills measurement for companies and professionals. Jump Capital led the round, along with Signal Peak, Rethink Education, Deborah Quazzo and other existing investors.

Degreed is free for individuals to use and our learner-first approach led to rapid corporate success following the launch of our consumer-friendly, enterprise learning solution in fall 2014. Our award-winning platform enables people to discover, curate, share, track and value all kinds of learning–from internal portals, external training vendors and over 1,200 providers of free and low-cost informal learning resources–all in a single, unified system.

“We believe there are many pathways to expertise,” says David Blake, Co-Founder & CEO “The future doesn’t care how you became an expert. We have built the only universal way for everyone to measure all learning and pursue skills and knowledge from all avenues. It’s changing the way companies think about learning and development.”

This investment comes on the heels of a Series A funding, announced in April 2015. The capital enabled a more aggressive sales strategy, robust product innovations, and an expansion of marketing activities. As a result, we accelerated from three to nearly 100 clients this last year, including Fortune 10, 20 and 50 clients from the financial services and technology industries.

“There are many companies innovating in the edtech space, but Degreed stands unique in its approach to the future of skills and recognition of learning,” said Michael McMahon, Managing Partner of Jump Capital. “We’re excited to partner with Degreed to accelerate their incredible growth, and to change the way learning is done and how it is recognized.”

Learn more at degreed.com

After experiencing an array of job titles within the past four years, I have come to a sudden halt as I was recently let go from a job for the first time in my professional career. At first, I felt like a complete failure. I had absolutely no clue as to what my next move would be and in fact, I’m still figuring it out. But in this past month, I have truly gained insight towards the importance of staying productive and making sure that I don’t fall too far from where I was or lose track of where I want to be. So, here are 7 ways to learn and stay productive when you’re in-between jobs.

Ways to Learn in Between Jobs

1. Stay on top of the latest news.

Read books. Read trending articles. Watch TedTalks. Get updates via social media. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t fall behind on what is going on within your field. Today’s news is extremely fast-paced and constantly evolving due to the convenient access of information online. It’s important to stay in the know so that you can be ready for whatever opportunity comes your way.

2. Go to industry events.

A great way to get in the live action of what is going on within your field is by physically attending industry events. It’s one thing to just stay active online, but showing up in person is a whole other experience. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but it’s also inspiring and motivating to directly learn from professionals within your industry.

3. Consult with others.

Just because you no longer work at your past companies doesn’t mean you should lose touch with your former colleagues. Check in with them and catch up with the people in your network every once in a while. Your network is one of your strongest resources for potential jobs or making new connections to other opportunities.

4. Online learning.

The beauty of technology is that we are able to access knowledge in a way that we never have been able to in the past. Online learning opens doors to information on whichever concentrated skill you desire to learn. If you’re in between jobs or just considering a career change, online learning gives you the ability to pursue further education, like learning a new skill, from the comfort of your own computer.

5. Write your ideas down.

Try to keep a journal in order to log any ideas that may pop into your head. Writing is an excellent form of expression and can help you organize your thoughts when you are feeling lost and confused. Creating lists of your strengths and weakness or likes and dislikes in a job can help you get a better sense of direction before making your next move.

6. Freelance.

One thing that I have personally learned from freelancing is that it offers a variety of great opportunities including a source of additional income, flexible work hours, and exposure amongst potential employers or other work opportunities. Once you have mastered your craft, whether it be UX design, coding, or writing, freelancing is a great way to practice and refine your skill set which will ultimately benefit you in the long run as a professional.

7. Get back into the hobbies you love.

Time off doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. When I was let go, I was initially in a state of panic, but it eventually turned into relief. I learned that a break is like a rest period after completing a marathon. It takes time to decompress and recover. I also learned that during this time, it’s important to stay on top of your game both within the playing field as well as off of the playing field. Take the time to rediscover your hobbies and interests because you never know what it could lead to. The things you are passionate about can turn into a fulfilling career, leading you in a direction that you never expected. Embrace the journey and tweet me to tell me your great ideas for ways to learn and staying productive in-between jobs.

7 ways to learn in between jobs

Keep learning! Degreed is free forever, you can get credit for what you know, all the learning you’re currently doing, and find more ways to learn with over 1200 content providers. Click the “add to degreed” button below to get credit for this article and Check it out Degreed here. You can catch Lindsey on Twitter and Degreed.

It’s been a busy year at Degreed. In 2015 we attended, sponsored, and exhibited at a total of 30 events, ran 20 webinars, and had countless discussions on the future of learning- and we’re only getting started.  We’re looking forward to another year of pushing the conversation around the evolution of learning and development (L&D) and the opportunity leaders have to create true learning cultures within organizations. So, with our eyes forward on 2016, here’s a look back at all the love we received in 2015 (thanks, y’all):

 

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Head over to get.degreed.com to learn more about what we’re up to.

Degreed is proud to announce a new partnership with getAbstract, a company that joins us as a leading provider of next-generation enterprise learning and development solutions.

This partnership will help employers power a culture of continuous, lifelong learning and career growth, as it will provide mutual customers with seamless, single sign-on access to getAbstract’s valuable compressed knowledge library. The library includes more than 10,000 summarized business books, economic reports and video talks, through Degreed’s revolutionary learning engagement platform, which enables people to discover, curate, share, track and value all learning – from internal systems, external vendors and over 1,200 providers of open, informal learning resources – all in one place.

“People want learning and development opportunities that aren’t just relevant to their jobs once in a while, but that help them grow and develop their careers every day,” said David Blake, Degreed’s founder and CEO. “More than 70 percent of workers we’ve surveyed say they learned something useful for their job from an article, a video or a book in the last 24 hours. And many of our customers are either already using getAbstract to empower their people do that – or they’re asking for it,” he added.

“Employers, however, need new, different solutions to enable everyday learning,” added getAbstract, Inc. CEO, Michel Koopman. “Half of the global workforce doesn’t feel like they have opportunities to learn and grow at work. That’s partly because most L&D tools, content, technology and processes were designed to deliver old-fashioned, occasional training. Companies are gravitating to Degreed,” he said, “because it’s the first enterprise learning solution built for the way people really learn now – continuously, on-the-job.”

The partnership will not only fuel everyday learning, career growth and employee engagement for workers, it will also simplify implementation and workflows for L&D professionals. Integrating getAbstract’s high-quality summaries and videos with Degreed’s innovative content ecosystem and pathway authoring tools will give instructional designers and training managers a faster, more powerful and more cost-effective toolkit for curating both informal and structured, formal learning experiences.

Learn more about Degreed here.

Degreed is honored to receive the Gold Award from the Brandon Hall Group for Best Advance in Learning Management Technology, and the Silver award for Learning Provider of the Year at the LPI awards in London.

 

Degreed-Wins-Gold

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The Brandon Hall Group Gold Award capped a year of strong recognition for Degreed in 2015, with awards and honors from industry leaders like Training Industry, DILA, ELearning Magazinethe Learning and Performance Institute, ELearning by Craig Weiss, and Getting Smart. The Silver Award from the Learning and Performance Institute is a strong start for 2016 and is the first award of the year for Degreed.

“People don’t just learn once-in-a-while, from structured, formal training. We also learn every day, informally, through self-directed and social learning. If you really want a culture of continuous development, you need it all.” said CEO David Blake, “Degreed helps people discover, curate, share, track and value all kinds of learning – from anywhere – all in one place. So L&D teams can spend less time managing and more time empowering.”

The Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology Award was given by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, and Brandon Hall Group senior analysts and executives who evaluated the entries based upon the criteria of product, unique differentiators, value proposition, and measurable results. Degreed was also in attendance at the Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence awards.

“These award-winning solutions were closely evaluated by our judges for not only their innovation, but the real results they brought to the organizations,” Brandon Hall Group Chief Executive Office Mike Cooke said. “That is what makes our technology awards program special – connecting creativity and innovation to direct business results.”

Degreed is a learning engagement solution that empowers people to find, curate, share, track and value all kinds of learning in a single, unified system. Degreed streamlines corporate learning, both for L&D professionals and employees, by integrating internal systems and paid, external vendor content with the world’s largest ecosystem of free, open and low-cost informal learning resources. Click here to learn more.

We say that innovation is a lot like learning – it works best when you do a little bit every day. Xerox Services University (XSU) is innovating and rethinking learning in two important ways. First, by reworking learning to more closely link development to career growth. And second, by investing to build a culture of continuous, everyday learning. Both initiatives are possible because XSU is embracing the new learning ecosystem.
In this presentation, from the Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Learning and Leadership Development Conference, XSU’s VP of Learning Strategy and Delivery, Kerry Hearns-Smith, joins Degreed’s Todd Tauber to show you how she and her team are making L&D more efficient, more engaging and more empowering for Xerox Services’ employees.

Student-Loans-Is-It-Worth-It

Here’s a statement I can nearly guarantee you’ve seen again and again: Americans have a lot of student loans. Here are the facts:

Tuition has been rising at nearly 3x the rate of inflation in recent years, and the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has grown to over $1.2 trillion.

About 40 million americans are carrying some student loans, and almost 70% of the class of 2015 graduates with a bachelor’s degree have student loan debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Market Watch reports the current student debt amount is rising at a rate of $3055.19 per second.

You can often find personal blogs from people like James Altucher and Mark Cuban penning their thoughts on the costs of college and the problem of student loan debt. If you Google “is college worth it?” you’ll find articles from every major news site you can think of filling the first 3 pages of search results.

That leads us to ask the golden question that the people behind these statistics, the Americans who carry student loan debt, have been asking themselves for years: Was it worth it?

The new 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index study on Education aimed to answer just that. The results are in.

Survey Says

Here’s what Gallup found

“Recent graduates who received their degrees between 2006 and 2015 are significantly less likely than all graduates overall to think their education was worth the cost.”

Let’s break that down with the numbers. For recent grads (those who have graduated from 2006-2015) merely 38% strongly agree their education was worth the cost, and among those who had student loans (of any amount) only 33% strongly agree it was worth it.

The Effects

And it’s not just our bank accounts that are affected as a result of student loan debt. Our life choices and the economy take a hit too. As grads adjust to life after school, and (hopefully) dive into the workforce, those payment deadlines creep closer until monthly minimums become due. As for the effects of student loans on those individuals life decisions? Gallup examined that too.

48% of recent grads have delayed post grad education because of student loans. 36% delay buying homes, 33% postponed buying a car, and 19% delayed starting businesses.

It seems that we should just create a new life stage category that states: “currently delaying life goals and purchases until I pay off my student loan debt”.

I’m still wondering, what will the cost of college look like in 10, 20, 50 years?

We want to know: What do you think? Was your education worth the cost? Tweet us at @degreed to tell us, and check out the full Gallup-Purdue Index Report here.

You just learned about student debt and higher education. Get credit for this article on Degreed.

 

What is Degreed?

Degreed helps you quickly and easily discover, share, and track ALL kinds of learning resources — from courses to videos to articles and more.

How Does Degreed Work?

Content: Degreed connects you to the world’s largest collection of professional learning content both from inside and outside your organization  — over 250,000 courses and more than 3 million articles and videos from 1,300 sources. All in one place.

Tools: Degreed empowers you to learn every day with powerful tools including a daily learning playlist, learning pathways, unified search and sharing. You can also follow people to see what they’re learning and join groups to learn with and from colleagues around the world.

Insights: Degreed tracks ALL the learning you do — the courses you take, the books and articles you read, even the videos you watch. Then you can view, share and get recognized for your progress with your own personalized profile and dashboard.

All yours: Best of all, the record of everything you’ve done to skill up is yours. You own it. You control who sees what. And, the record can go with you, for life.

What’s in it for you

  • Find what you need to learn and build your career. Fast.
  • Get access to premium courses, TED Talks, articles, videos, MOOCs, and more. All in one place.
  • Learn what you need to do your job. When, where and how you want.
  • Learn anywhere, anytime from any device.
  • Get recognized for ALL the learning you do.
  • Rate, recommend and share learning with others.

How to Get Started With Degreed

1. Go to degreed.com

You can log in from work or from home. From any device. The first thing you’ll want to do is to select the topics you want to learn about. Then the system will start suggesting learning content tailored to your needs.

2. Check Out the Learning Feed.

learning feed small

The first thing you see when you login is your learning feed, suggestions based on your learning interests. You can customize the suggestions you receive by adding categories to your profile, enrolling in pathways, following others, and joining groups.

3. Want to learn more? Search the library.search-mar2017Simply use the search field at the top of every page. Select “External Resources” to see the world of resources from across the web. Degreed has cataloged over 250,000 online learning courses and 3 million informal learning activities from more than 1300 sources.

4. Mark an item complete.Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.56.13 PMGet credit for the learning you do by marking an item complete once you’ve finished it.

5. Share great stuff.Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.56.28 PMFind something great and want to share? It’s easy to recommend content to others on your team or across your company. Simply click the recommend icon, search for the people or groups with whom you want to share, add a comment and send.

6. Get credit for everything you learn. Use the browser extensions to build your profile.

The easiest way to track all your learning is to use the Degreed Button, which allows you to get credit for your learning from anywhere — at the click of a button, without even visiting the Degreed site. To add either the Degreed Button to your browser, select “Profile,” “Settings,” then the “Degreed Button.”

Degreed Button

7. Leverage the mobile app. 

Degreed is mobile enabled for any device. You can also download the mobile app. When you read an article or listen to a podcast from your phone, select to “share” the item with Degreed then you can mark the item complete, save it for later, or recommend it to others.mobile experience8. Update your email settings. 

To get emails for Today’s Learning, recommendations, followers, and more make sure you update your email settings in Degreed. Select “Profile,” “Settings,” then the “Email.”

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