The Effects of a Gig Economy on Education

The Effects of a Gig Economy on Education
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The Effects of a Gig Economy on Education | The gig economy became popular after the pandemic forced people to start working from home. Learn how the gig economy can affect the educational system in the future.

The pandemic highlighted the convenience of working from home. While most of the population was only introduced to this work arrangement, the gig economy was already thriving years before the pandemic started.

The gig economy is made up of freelance workers who provide services to clients or companies through an online platform. The economy benefits the workers since it allows them freedom when and where they will work on a project. The freelance or gig workers normally control the time they work unless the client requires them to follow a specific schedule.

On the other hand, the clients or companies also do not have to provide benefits for these workers who are considered independent contractors unless the state requires them to do so. The clients often do not require proof of education from these workers since they focus on results rather than qualifications.

With this, the growing popularity of the gig economy may have a considerable effect on education. Here are those effects.

Effect on Teaching

The current educational system focuses on preparing the students for a regular job after they graduate. Due to this, the students enroll in specialized courses to acquire deeper knowledge about the course they are interested in. They also aim for higher grades so the company they want to join after finishing their education will notice them.

But the gig economy has changed the perception of people who became independent contractors. Instead of specializing in a specific course, they focus on flexibility and handling different projects that their client will provide.

The students also work on improving their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They also go through self-directed learning using available resources online. Additionally, they learn to become effective negotiators and communicators to negotiate the terms of the project they are handling.

With this, education will focus more on providing the students with real-world skills to work on their own or with a team. Education should use project-based learning strategies to prepare the students for project-based work.

Internships can help in this aspect as the students get real-world experiences by becoming interns of companies across the country. They may even find mentors in these companies who can guide them and help them grow. Even as many students may want to join these companies after their internships, some may have other plans.

The educational system should not exclude students who prefer to become independent contractors since it can be a part of their plan to put up a business.

Effect on Students

The current educational system where the students get a four-year degree may not offer a lot of return on investment compared to customized, on-demand learning that allows workers to stay updated with the latest innovations in technology.

But the pandemic had a considerable effect on this system since it forced the students to learn online. While some may consider this disadvantageous, it can prepare the students for the gig economy since it often requires them to work online. The remote learning arrangement can prepare the students for the life of an independent contractor.

This means that SHS students should enroll in online learning courses to acquire knowledge and learn how to work independently. The arrangement also teaches them to stick to their schedule even though no one is looking over their shoulder all the time. These courses require the students to go through multiple videos. But they can collaborate with the teacher through a feedback system that replicates regular classroom interaction.

Individualized Learning

Since the gig economy promotes project-based contracts, independent contractors need to acquire as many skills as possible tomake themselves appealing to potential clients. With this, they take short courses available online that they can add to their portfolio.

Taking these short courses means that they have to learn individually and not rely on anyone else. They learn at their own pace since they may still have projects to work on while taking these courses.

Some universities and colleges may offer these courses. But freelance workers can also check other online education websites that offer free online courses. These websites offer a myriad of courses that freelance workers can choose from. Due to this, they do not have to rely on traditional educational institutions since some of the courses offered by these institutions are not useful in their line of work.

The increasing popularity of the gig economy may compel colleges and universities to adapt and offer courses designed to prepare the students for their future. They may even increase the number of short courses to entice freelance workers to enroll in these courses.

Some universities and colleges may offer these courses. But freelance workers can also check other online education websites that offer free online courses. These websites offer a myriad of courses that freelance workers can choose from. Due to this, they do not have to rely on traditional educational institutions since some of the courses offered by these institutions are not useful in their line of work.

The increasing popularity of the gig economy may compel colleges and universities to adapt and offer courses designed to prepare the students for their future. They may even increase the number of short courses to entice freelance workers to enroll in these courses.