Communications & Technology
Overview

Communications and technology together comprise a main building block in the learn-and-work ecosystem. Communication is the sending and receiving of information—whether one-on-one or between groups of people, face-to-face or through communication technology-enabled devices. Effective communication requires a shared language and understanding of common concepts, and compatible technologies.

Explaining the ecosystem to the public and to niche audiences is critical in an increasingly complex, dynamic, and confusing U.S. marketplace. Communications can, for example:

  • Tell the stories of learners navigating through the ecosystem.
  • Disseminate employer messages around the adequacy of hires they have made, the efficacy of their upskilling and reskilling efforts, and the type of skills and competencies being sought in various industry sectors.
  • Relay news of state and federal policy directives and incentives, as well as similar efforts from other policy-oriented organizations. 
  • Share news of best practices in credentialing programs among credential providers.
  • Share research data from studies of the many components of the learn-and-work ecosystem.

Typical modes of communication include print, audio and video news reports; websites; webinars, seminars, and conferences; newsletters; policy briefs, articles, and reports;  blogs; social media soundbites; databases; digital repositories; training for journalists and others who will carry the messages around all aspects of the learn-and-work ecosystem; and direct, one-on-one communication via advising and counseling. 

There are many entities to carry these messages in an increasingly media-rich landscape. These include local and national print, television and radio outlets; social media outlets; intermediaries and think tanks; credential providers; employer associations; colleges and universities; and others. Examples include: American Public Media, The Hechinger Report, PBS NewsHour, WorkingNation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, The EvoLLLution, and Higher Education-Gallup Inc.

Relation to Ecosystem

All components of the nation’s complex and rapidly changing learn-and-work ecosystem depend on accurate and coherent reporting about their practices and trends. Effective communication, enhanced and improved by new technology, provides information and guidance to people about which education and training programs to participate in. It also helps people understand, find, and keep employment.  

Examples
  • A.I.-powered language translation systems have revolutionized language translation services. This impacts communication by enabling real-time translation of text and speech across multiple languages, facilitating effective communication in diverse global teams.
  • Virtual collaboration tools, powered by A.I., have transformed how people communicate and work together remotely (e.g. Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, Adobe Connect, Cisco Webex). These tools enhance communication by offering features such as real-time document editing, video conferencing, and collaborative project management.
  • Strada Education Foundation’s Public Viewpoint is a rapid-response research initiative launched in March 2020 to provide timely insights on key education and workforce issues. Leveraging data from multiple national surveys representing the perspectives of more than 50,000 adults, the research is intended to inform education and training providers, policymakers, and employers who are helping people navigate education pathways.
  • Gallup’s The Great Jobs Study asked more than 6,600 U.S. workers about the factors that matter most for overall job quality, and how their jobs stack up on those characteristics. The resulting measure included income and employment benefits, career advancement opportunities, autonomy and control over their working lives, job security, and other attributes important to workers. The analysis paid specific attention to income groups, reflecting the recognition in previous studies that income is central to any discussion of job quality in America. There also was a focus on educational backgrounds and race/ethnicity as they factor into job quality. Finally, the survey asked workers how their job quality changed over time. The first report was released in October 2019. Gallup and the underwriting sponsors also coordinated a public relations and media outreach campaign to maximize coverage of the findings. 
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education’s special issue:  NEXT: The Credentials Craze, 2015
  • Work and Learn Indiana is a dynamic, searchable database, matching and reporting system provided by the Institute for Workforce Excellence, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The program communicates with employers, learners, high schools, and colleges and universities to help create and expand high-quality, work-based learning opportunities in Indiana.
  • The Hechinger Report (a national nonprofit newsroom) provides in-depth reporting on education. Its October 2022 report on higher education featured What researchers learned about online higher education during the pandemic. The article highlights a unique and major development from the COVID-19 era: Prior to the pandemic, studies of the effectiveness of online higher education often lacked an important facet: a control group. But during the pandemic, with nearly everyone going online for their education, the result was a randomized trial on a planetary scale with an immense control group. 

References

Marcus, J. (October 6, 2022). What researchers learned about online higher education during the pandemic. The Hechinger Report.

What is Communication? – Definition & Importance – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

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For the ecosystem to function effectively, all parts of the system must be connected and coordinated.

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