Heather, Founder and Managing Director of award-winning communications consultancy Gallium Ventures, is a world-leading expert in growing brands and launching products or services, creatively.
Heather specialises in building and fixing global organisations and startups alike — from their communications strategy, to product development and everything in between.
In an era defined by rapid technological advancement and shifting societal norms, the pursuit of education has taken on new dimensions.
Women, once constrained by traditional roles and responsibilities, are now harnessing the power of virtual events, webinars, online courses, and self-study to further their education and skill sets. While the standard education system has often proven inadequate in addressing the unique challenges faced by women, the digital realm has emerged as a transformative force, empowering women, including young mothers and unpaid caregivers, to break free from limitations and embark on a journey of self-improvement and empowerment.
The conventional education system has long been tailored to a one-size-fits-all approach, failing to accommodate the diverse needs and circumstances of women. However, the rise of virtual education platforms is reshaping the landscape, dismantling barriers and providing an alternative means of learning. For young mothers, the challenge of balancing familial responsibilities with educational pursuits can be daunting. Online courses and webinars offer a flexible solution, enabling them to study at their own pace and schedule. This newfound flexibility is a game-changer, helping women pursue their academic, professional and creative aspirations.
Virtual events and webinars have emerged as powerful tools for education. These platforms transcend geographical boundaries, granting women access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise that might have been previously out of reach. Experts from around the world can now share their insights, providing valuable guidance on a range of subjects, from entrepreneurship to STEM fields, from the comfort of one’s home.
Online courses contact time have revolutionised education by offering tailored learning experiences with the learner having more control about how they learn. Women can select courses that resonate with their interests, aspirations, and time constraints, ensuring that their educational journey aligns with their unique circumstances. The ability to choose from an array of subjects, from coding to creative writing, equips women with the tools they need to excel in a rapidly evolving job market or even give them the tools to change careers or set up their own business.
Social media has also provided an opportunity for learning and discovering new areas of interest. YouTube in particular has become a go-to for learning, with 86% of Americans stating they often go to YouTube to learn new things. Video content has had a radical impact on how we learn, taking into consideration learning styles (whether you are visual, auditory and/or kinesthetic) as well as accessibility. For example, people who rely on sign language to communicate can now use closed captions on a video to read the narration. Short-form video content on Instagram and TikTok are also focused on education and learning, whether it’s a recipe, a historical fact or how to build a property empire.
Microlearning, with modules on a particular topic that are less than 20 minutes long, has proven to have a 17% increase in learning transfer. Not only is it more effective, but it is much easier for women to manage their schedules and find 20 minutes of learning time in their day. With women carrying out the majority of unpaid care work, this digital accessibility can be the only viable route to education. As well as for young mothers, who can now fit their education around the schedules and routines of their children. But while the parenting responsibility is unfairly weighted toward the mother, education is only part of the story. We need to dismantle the stigma of parenting for fathers, giving them equal opportunity to spend more time parenting their children, as many wish they had such an opportunity to spend with their children, giving women the opportunity to make the most of opportunities for education and securing better career prospects.
While the system is changing with less traditional routes to industry – as reflected by the candidates entering the talent pool – societal norms need to shift even further to encourage more women to take action with their careers after gaining educational qualifications. But are these nouveau courses seen as valid by employers and further education institutes? There’s no data to prove this education is regarded the same as traditional education in the real world. We need companies to see the courses as valid, or at the very least as a stepping stone into industry with the company paying for further education and qualifications that are required. Only with this human-first approach can this technological advancement have an impact on the world we are creating.