TJ Newsflash: 20 March

NEWS word in small wooden circles, with a pile of newspapers next to it, on a blue background.

The latest learning news and research personally compiled by TJ’s Editor, Jo Cook

Economic optimism but learning market under pressure

While there are signs of a cautiously optimistic job market in the wider economy the learning market remains challenged.

A report from contingent workforce management business, Magnit, into employment across Europe shows signs of optimism – Spring/Summer 2024 Europe Labour Market Report: Europe-wide unemployment is at a record low of 5.9%; Vacancy rates have stabilised with healthy demand for skilled workers; Germany and the UK have the highest number of job vacancies across the region.

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We can learn to be happy, but only get lasting benefits if we keep practising, a first-of-its-kind study has revealed

The team behind the University of Bristol’s ‘Science of Happiness’ course had already discovered that teaching students the latest scientific studies on happiness created a marked improvement in their wellbeing.

But their latest study found that these wellbeing boosts are short-lived unless the evidence-informed habits learnt on the course — such as gratitude, exercise, meditation or journaling — are kept up over the long-term.

Students who took the course reported a 10 to 15% improvement in wellbeing. But only those who continued implementing the course learnings maintained that improved wellbeing when they were surveyed again two years on.

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Home Office plans ‘test cases’ for Microsoft Copilot generative AI tool

Department signs contracts to support experimentation with possible uses of AI and automation tech, including exploring the use of sophisticated tools, and the ethical and operational ramifications of doing so

The Home Office is to explore possible uses of Microsoft’s Copilot generative artificial intelligence tool, as well as other potential deployments of automation technologies.

On 12 February, the department entered into a near-six-month contract with digital consultancy Methods. The firm will provide “business analysis” services in conjunction with a programme intended to “establish test cases for the deployment of Copilot” to a cohort of users across the department.

This will include work to “elicit, analyse and validate business requirements and user needs”, as well as efforts to “uncover policy, legal, ethical and other constraints and  requirements from a wide variety… of stakeholders”.

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Cornerstone acquires spatial learning business, Talespin

Cornerstone has announced the acquisition of extended reality capabilities and a team of highly specialised domain experts from Talespin, a spatial learning company focused on workforce skills development.

Spatial learning with XR, which encompasses virtual, augmented and mixed reality, unlocks the ability to learn in the flow of work in contextually relevant virtual worlds that simulate real-life physical, behavioural and emotional situations.

Prime applications include: healthcare organisations – speeding up time-to-floor for critical nursing and medical support staff; manufacturers can ramp up or reskill talent without impacting production outcomes; customer service representatives can practice emotionally realistic conversations to increase their confidence. With this, individuals can navigate relevant situations in the digital world and walk away with validated skills they can immediately apply on the job.

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