Why the education system is failing future workers

The future of work is changing and the education system must keep pace. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that rapid advances in automation and AI technology will mean that approximately 14% of the global workforce, especially those whose jobs involve routine physical activity, will need to retrain and change their business by 2030 in order to avoid obsolescence.

Worryingly, however, it appears that there are insufficient provisions to prepare adult learners for what is expected to be the biggest upheaval in the workplace since the Industrial Revolution.

The pace of change means that the elderly (not traditional university students) will soon become the largest group of new learners in education. Many people currently in employment are turning to continuing professional development programs to ensure their skills are up to date and adapted to the rapidly changing demands of the roles they already occupy – not to mention roles they might wish to take on. the future.

Indeed, the past 18 months have seen a significant increase in the time spent by employees learning new skills simply to cope with the change in work practices imposed on them by the impact of the pandemic. A recent LinkedIn Report reveals a 159% increase in the number of CEOs advocating for learning and development programs within their organizations.

Simply put, the lifetime work experience of our parents’ generation no longer exists. In fact, the speed at which things are changing means that we are entering a period where even traditional degrees and professional qualifications no longer have the weight they once had. In many cases, such as in the software developer community, demonstrable skills for the job at hand are now more valued than college degrees.

Learning is clearly no longer a one-stop shop. It doesn’t end after school or college, but rather will become part of the daily routine of successful and satisfied workers, just as fitness has become a more important part of daily life over the past 10 years. years. It is therefore crucial that the delivery of this learning changes to respond to this new model.

A multimodal approach to workplace education

Tending to focus on the institution and / or the educator, traditional approaches to education delivery are outdated and ill-suited to today’s predominantly digital world. The format of lectures, for example, was originally optimized for a time when books were a scarce resource. Today, with such a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, it’s an extremely inefficient way to integrate new information. Many existing online courses, such as MOOCs (Open Massive Online Courses), are often no better, simply replicating traditional learning formats, with static and non-interactive recordings of lectures.

However, a multimodal approach, comprising written, audio, and visual content in a variety of formats and with multiple touchpoints, has been scientifically proven to accelerate learning. By allowing experts to put together the best online content available into engaging courses that meet a variety of learning preferences, this approach means online learning can really make sense.

The ability to continually update and adapt content as new resources become available is especially important in areas of science and technology where the topic can quickly become obsolete. By way of illustration, more than 1.8 million scientific articles are published each year in more than 28,000 journals. While keeping up with this volume of information is often seen as a problem, it is actually an opportunity, the key to which lies in its retention.

Today’s learners want access to the most recent information to make sure their skills are relevant. It is therefore important to help them find, analyze, evaluate and retain this information as it becomes available.

Holistic learning experience

Prior knowledge has long been considered the most important factor influencing learning. With employees at different levels and in different disciplines all looking to improve themselves, it is clear that we cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to education and learning. In addition, our prior knowledge has been transformed by the opportunity of the Internet. For example, with over 500 hours of content uploaded every minute to YouTube and over 500 new articles uploaded to Wikipedia every day, although we might not realize it, we are learning from sources on the web all the time. .

The breadth and variety of information opens the doors to truly personalized learning for all and that is why e-learning can be very effective if used in the right way.

One of its advantages, for example, is that it allows students to learn at their own pace, thus allowing for greater engagement. This commitment can be further strengthened by the formation of new connections between previously held concepts. Cognitive scientists have shown that new content is more likely to be remembered if it relates to what already exists in a student’s memory. Online courses should take the latest developments and knowledge, and integrate them into existing materials. If, in addition to this, learners can ask questions and interrogate what they are being taught, they will benefit from a more holistic learning experience. After all, the best way to fully understand a concept is to question it.

Technology has a key role to play in enhancing learning – by leveraging the largest and most comprehensive learning resource the world has ever seen (the Internet), by unlocking models such as ” learning on the go ”with mobile applications or even greater interactivity using virtual and augmented worlds. reality.

Workers take charge of their own destiny, develop and retrain to ensure they are ready for the future. As the world around them changes and their ability to learn becomes more and more closely linked to their ability to exercise a skill and land a new job, it is of crucial importance that they are placed at the center. of their own education and encouraged to learn faster and memorize more. However, the traditional education system is not suited for this purpose.

By leveraging the world’s most valuable educational resource – the Internet – and creating a model multimodal approach tailored to the specific needs of each individual, we will create a new medium of instruction for a new type of learner, able to follow the path. rhythm of the pace of change.

Joshua Wohle is the CEO and co-founder of Spirit stone, an edtech platform that organizes learning materials from the Internet.

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