Long before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, questions were raised about gig and platform work: are they ‘digital sweatshops’ or a conduit to skills development and better skills matching? The public health crisis may have accentuated the vulnerability of platform workers, but it also demonstrated the wider potential for working and learning digitally.
Cedefop’s CrowdLearn study is the first to examine skills development and skill matching practices in online platform work. It presents evidence from interviews with platform economy stakeholders, as well as crowdworkers themselves. It identifies the types of skills developed in such work and the learning practices of gig workers. It highlights the challenges (algorithmic management, limited platform portability) posed to efficient skills matching and crowdworker mobility and makes policy suggestions to overcome them.
These insights can provide useful directions for vocational education and training, asking what we can learn from those who mastered the art of digital working and learning long before the current crisis.