Coming Soon: Findings from Workforce Skills Study Conducted through a Research Partnership Between HP and the OLC

Created By: HP in partnership with Online Learning Consortium (OLC)  

This qualitative study is based on interview data gathered from 18 academic leaders, program directors, and faculty from across the United States from public and private institutions, including two-year technical and community colleges, four-year institutions, and graduate schools. The research team explored deep insights through rich data collection garnered from participants’ in-depth responses and analysis of interview transcripts, recordings, and researcher notes. The findings of this study, situated in the context of the study sample, provide compelling new perspectives on which to explore the workforce skills gap.

Research Questions 

  1. How are institutions using workforce trends to align and measure learning outcomes? 
  2. How are institutions utilizing workforce trends to design and measure learning experiences connected to learning outcomes? 
  3. What methods are used to teach students to communicate their level of skill proficiencies


The purpose of this study was to examine whether, or to what extent, institutions are using workforce trends in aligning and measuring learning outcomes, communicating students’ workforce skill levels to employers, and teaching students to communicate their levels of workplace skill proficiencies to potential

Data Collection

Each study participant engaged in a one-hour interview with a member of the research team. Each interview was guided by a semi-structured interview protocol based on the study’s research questions. Data were coded and analyzed to reveal themes in responses.


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner—anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. Learn more at onlinelearning

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere—every person, every organization, and every community around the globe. For higher education, HP combines instructional innovation, applied research, data science, technologies, esports and advanced information security to empower the Campus of the Future. Learn more at

Publications Coming Soon

Research Snapshot

Provides an overview of this study’s central finding on the workforce skills communication gap.

Research Brief
Includes five key findings that both highlight the workforce skills gaps and point to strategies for college and university leaders, employers, and students.

Presents actionable strategies that educational institutions, industry leaders, and students can take to cultivate a culture of both aligning learning outcomes with in-demand workforce skills and aiding students in developing professional narratives that communicate their skill proficiencies