Lifelong learning in the new normal: Phalgun Kompalli, Co-founder, upGrad

At the ongoing Dataquest T-Schools Higher Education Conference and Awards 2021 event, Phalgun Kompalli, Co-founder, upGrad, presented on lifelong learning in the new normal.

There are three key pillars to any education system. First, people should have access, second, people should be able to afford that access, and third, once they do it, people should also have quality outcomes. His father did one job for 40 years. 

The newer generation change about 3-4 jobs in about 7 years. Today, people are looking for much more adventurous and professional journey. The risk appetite has increased. Second, technology itself has grown so fast that various roles are getting redundant. New and exciting roles are coming up that enable people to switch jobs.

One-time education is not going to cut it anymore! Continuous, lifelong learning becomes very important here, as it allows you to stay relevant. It also provides you with more opportunities to pursue more exciting careers. At UpGrad, we have built a platform that enables lifelong learning. From 18-80, you have a robust, vigorous platform at UpGrad that can help you with lifelong learning.

Pursue exciting careers

We have a long way to go on this vision. Lifelong learning is very important for you to pursue exciting careers. Technology is also evolving very fast, and there are so many new things to learn. Eg., if you are into software, shelf life of stacks are evolving so fast that you will need to constantly upskill yourself in order to remain relevant. Having the lifelong learning becomes very important.

We do not come with a mindset of lifelong learning. We need to think of this as an exciting opportunity for great learning. We can invest a few hours for picking up new skills, and new knowledge to do well in our careers. We are also very lucky to have access to the different kinds of things today. There is access to world-class material online from top experts, top universities across India, etc. National universities are now going online. Students can now have access to great learning material.

We are realizing there is a constant need to upskill yourself and have lifelong learning. You can set yourself up for great professional success. It is very exciting to be constantly learning, as it opens more windows and doors in your head. We are also looking at making the process of lifelong learning less boring, and less cumbersome, and much more exciting for learners.

A lot of people have curiosity to find out something new. They will enrol for lot of courses. However, people have a problem with committing long term, and even learning that is structured. We, as a community, can do more to push the immersive experience of learning for working professionals. We can also provide support services for students, such as academic and non-academic. We can handhold them to successfully complete a program. We still have a lot of work to do.

While people are excited about new things, they sometimes find it very difficult to keep the motivation going over a long period of time, say, three months. We are building online experiences and pedagogy to build engaging experiences for people.

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