Changing Times: Remote Working, Teaching, and Learning

online teaching and learning

USmarty and the Changing World of Remote Working, Teaching, and Learning

If we don’t change, then we don’t grow. Unfortunately, change has been thrust upon us as a global pandemic makes its way from country to country, from one community to another.

In our own small way, our global team is adapting to this change by working to meet the needs of students, experts, and businesses who are suddenly and shockingly now spending the majority of their time at home and working remotely.

We’re proud of the work our (now remote) team is doing and thought we’d share some insight into the trends and statistics we are seeing from the USmarty platform.

As part of our ongoing research on workplace trends, we were able to survey 1,000 U.S. full-time workers about COVID-19 and found that:

  • 74% of U.S. employees said concerns about the coronavirus are a work distraction affecting normal business activities.
  • 78% believe that their employers are doing all they can do to protect employees from the coronavirus.
  • And as workforces have moved to remote, employees say their top distractions are:
    • personal calls and texts (30%)
    • watching TV (30%)
    • kids or other family members (29%).
  • Dealing with meals, pets, outside noise, and other distractions are pretty much consistent between males and females, but not so with chores and kids.
    • 33% of women vs. 26% of men cite kids as a top distraction while working remotely And 20% of women vs. 13% of men cite household chores as a top distraction.

Surge in Popular Skills Data

In addition to our findings above, our team looked at the top tech and soft skills for 2020 and compared those findings to USmarty usage in March. As people around the world are spending the majority of their time at home and working remotely, we wanted to revisit the top skills and see how they’ve grown in the last month.

  • Top 3 Soft Skills
    • Growth Mindset — in the last 30 days, these courses have surged 231% in popularity
      • In simplest terms, Growth Mindset comes down to a love of learning. In the past weeks, our users have been tackling topics such as Growth Mindset for Leaders and Building Confidence Through a Growth Mindset.
      • One undercurrent of a Growth Mindset is the willingness and resilience to deal with change. That’s certainly pertinent today as people, businesses, and organizations adapt to a current environment where change is the only constant.
    • Creativity — in the last 30 days, these courses have surged 84% in popularity
      • Courses related to developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems, and thinking differently are surging, including classes such as Watercolor Painting, Storytelling, and Creative Writing.
      • By now you’ve heard that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine from the plague. Whether driven by competition or inspiration, now could be the time to put pen to paper for that screenplay idea you’ve been thinking about for years. Everyone has their bucket list. It appears that if you can tackle that bucket list item while sheltering in place, there’s no time like the present.
    • Focus Mastery — in the last 30 days, these courses have surged 146% in popularity
      • It’s not surprising that courses on being able to harness concentration are booming. Kids, pets, partners, roommates, and myriad other distractions are competing for peoples’ attention.
      • Everyone wants to be more focused, and our learners are putting that plan into practice, taking courses like Modern Productivity and Organizing Time.
  • Top 3 Tech Skills:
    • TensorFlow — in the last 30 days, these courses have grown in popularity by 62%
      • It’s amazing to think that TensorFlow is less than 5 years old, but as the market looks for expertise in machine learning, AI, and deep learning, TensorFlow keeps growing.
      • When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When you are a technologist with perhaps a little more time on your hands than before, you use that time to get up to speed or master the fastest-growing technology trends.
    • Chatbots — in the last 30 days, these courses have seen a 45% increase in popularity
      • Chatbots are used largely in lieu of direct contact with a human agent and are much easier to scale.
      • Given shelter in place orders around the world, the current surge makes sense. With more people conducting business from home, organizations are likely turning to chatbots to quickly scale their customer service efforts.
    • Microsoft Azure — in the last 30 days, these courses have surged 38% in popularity
      • In a suddenly decentralized work environment, all things cloud-related are increasing in importance. Some businesses are suddenly in the position to have to deal with unprecedented demand and attention (videoconferencing, for example).
      • Cloud technology appropriately applied provides a business with the means to throttle a business up or down to meet demand.
  • One Outlier:
    • Frankly, we’re not sure what to make of it (hit us up with your thoughts @USmarty), but people signing up en masse for online Bitcoin and cryptocurrency courses. We have seen a fourfold increase in demand for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency classes in the past month!


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