Honorable Mention: Virtual Tech
Unexpectedly, 2020 has become a time of historic disruption and uncertainty across the world. In America, millions of people are out of work, unsure if their industries and jobs will return or what their future holds. While we are all still working to sort through all the ways in which this crisis will impact our lives, one thing’s for certain: Work and learning will be forever changed, and they both will remain more distributed and involve more online activity than they have in the past.
Today we need easy-to-use and effective workforce and education technology. We need to prepare workers and learners for the jobs and careers of the future with immediately accessible upskilling, retooling, and talent platforms as the labor market and the economy rapidly adjust. The current global health crisis has pushed us to a tipping point, challenging us to boldly reimagine how to use technology to train more people, faster, than ever before. Companies and schools need more effective, game-changing tools as they make the unforeseen and rapid-fire shift to virtual learning and training. Immersive learning technology is poised to meet that need.
Mission-driven startups and growth-stage companies are building tools and resources to help workers and businesses adapt in these uncertain times. These agile companies are ideally positioned to address the challenges that arise at moments like these. Even as they themselves grapple with many of the same uncertainties that other businesses are facing, startups across the country and the world have built innovative, easy-to-use new technologies to connect workers and students with opportunities to gain new skills and prepare for an uncertain future.
At JFFLabs, we scan markets and work with mission-aligned entrepreneurs and growth-stage companies to accelerate and scale technology-based solutions that are poised for significant social impact and are aligned to important innovations, such as immersive technology. The offerings of growth-stage immersive learning companies range from mobile apps used in traditional classroom settings to alternative learning solutions delivered in a variety of formats, including through employers and via personalized, self-paced systems.
Specifically JFF’s Corporate Action Platform designed this exclusive invite-only experience at Autodesk’s Gallery in San Francisco that addressed the ways that immersive learning technology is transforming learning at work, especially for the front-line and middle skill workers whose livelihoods are most at risk amidst the pandemic. At the center of this are companies who are ready to redefine what workplace training looks like at your own company. 77 corporate partners serving over 10 million workers were in attendance.
Leading up this, we scanned the immersive learning market to identify startups and solutions poised to generate significant impact as well as value to businesses and organizations. What we found is that advances in technology and learning science are rapidly expanding opportunities for immersive learning to provide broader access to quality, effective education and training programs in the United States. And entrepreneurs, startups, and growth-stage companies are designing, developing, and delivering solutions that are helping companies to align business outcomes with social impact among their workforces.