How New Technology Connects GED Graduates With New Opportunities

Most GED credential recipients say they take the test to further their education — not end it. In fact, 65 percent of GED credential holders indicated they wanted a job that requires further education or training after passing the test (as reported by GED Testing Service). Unfortunately, fewer than 12 percent went on to do just that.

While 82 percent of college grads believe having a degree has helped them in their career, according to a 2014 Glassdoor survey, the value of education remains a hot national debate. There’s no denying that a high school diploma is essential and more opportunities stem from having a college degree. At the same time, today’s job market is increasingly accepting of nontraditional training, as well.

The aforementioned Glassdoor survey also found that 72 percent of employees said they value specialized training over earning a degree. What’s more, 63 percent of respondents said they believe that nontraditional ways of learning new skills — such as certificate programs, bootcamps, webinars and massive open online courses — could help them earn a bigger paycheck.

The value of education remains a hot national debate.

Technology is changing the face of individualized education, and it’s playing out powerfully for GED students. In fact, GED Testing Service utilizes career-exploration tools and resources, ranging from career assessments to job summaries to video interviews with professionals in various jobs, to help further guide GED holders toward their desired career. As edtech continues to advance, we can expect to see more people find success outside of the traditional diploma-degree-career model (think Steve Jobs or Richard Branson).

How is education technology impacting hundreds of thousands of GED students every year? Here are three problems GED students commonly face, and the innovative technologies that have helped solve them.

Problem: Limited Access To Affordable College Education

Solution: UC Berkeley Extension

With college tuition in the U.S. increasing faster than the rate of inflation, not everyone can afford to pursue an education beyond the GED. Fortunately, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have provided an unprecedented level of accessibility to affordable higher education.

Studies show they have a powerful impact, with more than 70 percent of people who complete a MOOC saying it has benefited their career and more than 60 percent saying it has helped their education (according to a 2014 Coursera survey of nearly 52,000 people worldwide, all of whom had completed a MOOC prior to September 1, 2014).

MOOCs have revolutionized higher education access, but many of these online courses don’t count toward an actual degree. Some colleges are looking to change that. One such college is UC Berkeley. The university’s online certificate program, overseen by UC Berkeley Extension, has created online learning opportunities that result in industry-recognized credentials at an affordable price, bringing GED students closer to earning a degree or landing a job.

Problem: Language Barriers

Solution: Duolingo

There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom. Breaking down language barriers is best done by practicing that language in various settings on a daily basis. Duolingo has made that practice possible anytime, anywhere.

Named Apple’s iPhone App of the Year, the language-learning platform teaches users to read, write, listen and speak in another language through lessons that feel like games. Best of all, the app is free of charge — no advertisements, no subscriptions, no in-app purchasing.

For GED students, especially those with English as a second language, this presents a valuable opportunity to learn a new skill and boost their hireability. In fact, according to an independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education.

Problem: Continuous Development

Solution: Udacity

Learning shouldn’t stop once you receive your diploma or degree. Fortunately, continuous development and training are readily available with Udacity. The online learning platform seeks to make programming and technical-skills training more accessible, affordable, engaging and effective through a suite of online lessons built by big names within the tech industry, ranging from Google to Facebook to AT&T.

While most of the training available through Udacity and its “nanodegree” program is in the area of programming, it and other companies in this space are starting to expand to a much broader range of skills.

The future for GED graduates is getting brighter. With career guidance, increasing access to education and industry-recognized credentials available on a flexible schedule and on various devices, those who complete the GED test today are becoming more likely to realize the dream that drove most of them to get their diploma in the first place — a good job.