Lifelong learning is the latest formula in the fast-paced professional training segment. With the talent economy rolling in, higher education is transforming into lifelong learning for skill upgradation.
Lifelong learning paves the way for diverse career paths. This is made possible through digital courses, virtual classrooms, and smart devices. It also leads to a career-span that mocks retirement.
Here are some triggers for lifelong learning that I have identified across random readings:
Advent of AI:
Machines will take over many tasks. As a result, humans will focus on higher-value and new job roles that spur innovation. In the US, this will encourage an outcomes-based continuous learning effort, where both employers and employees will share stakes.
The OECD says that 65% of the children in nursery school today will end up doing a job that does not yet exist. In other words, there is need for reskilling. For instance, to work as a “vertical urban gardener” or “drone controller”.
Need For Hard Skills
To compete and stay ahead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, people will need hard skills. Consequently, new jobs will revolve around cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, UX design, and mobile application development. Therefore to land these jobs, people will need to attain new skills through learning.
Policymakers are offering “cradle-to-grave education,” “national retraining schemes” and “skills wallet” promises. The aim is no doubt to improve citizens lives, but in addition, there is a new thrust on lifelong learning as well. This was very evident in the run-up to the UK elections.
In India, where I come from, a curious trend of non- IT firms hiring techies is underway. Add to this, another wave of digital technology training courses accepting non-IT students. In other words, everyone is jumping on to the lifelong learning bandwagon.
Similarly, the future workplace will have employees, freelancers, on-contract workers, gig workers, temps, and consultants. If not for technology-based solutions, there is little hope of keeping them all skilled. Suffice to say, a lifetime of learning is also needed to adapt to the changing needs of business.
The following Ten Technology Trends can hence help to feed the Lifelong Learning curve in the coming years.
1. Social Content Creation
Traditional classrooms have given place to virtual online classes and video training sessions. Massive open online courses and mobile and e-learning platforms are also gaining popularity. In the same vein, more innovations in social content creation are expected in the form of YouTube videos, tools and apps. Such as, Grow with Google tools like Applied Digital Skills and Primer and micro MBAs like Skill Pill.
2. Augmented Reality Tools
New equipment or tools from the augmented reality learning kit will help information sharing, worker empowerment and corporate training. This includes display on AR glasses or safety helmets. See What I See (video conferencing) glasses, QR tags, AR triggers and mixed reality headsets will also proliferate.
3. Redeployment of Skills
To redeploy skilled workers intelligently, HR analytics and data can be employed. At the same time, talent analytics will help to improve hiring decisions. As a result, the HR workforce will turn to internal mobility rather than external hiring.
4. Use of Cloud Computing
Employee training programs can be launched through cloud computing. This will clearly ensure professional development based on continuous feedback, rather than annual reviews. The data collected and analyzed meaningfully by managers, will above all, help to track performance, resignations and promotions.
5. Universal Design for Learning
Learning Management Systems will see an overhaul. This is because accessibility design, user experience design, unified experience and universal design will gain precedence.
6. Open Educational Resources
Printed textbooks will become passé as open educational resources and flipped classrooms turn popular. As a direct fallout, competency-based education, stackable micro-credentials and prior assessments will become the norm.
7. Navigational Tools for Learning
Technologies that aid just-in-time micro assessments and navigational tools like Waze for Learning will come in. Furthermore, technologies that aim to customize and personalize the learning experience will likewise add to the lifelong educational journey.
8. Verifiable Standards
Tracking and authentication of professional credentials will flourish. In addition, blockchain technology based initiatives like the Digital Credential collaboration will abound.
9. Affordable Learning Funds
Funding for lifelong learning from employers will catch on as employee reimbursement programs. Or as an investment in human capital. According to Pearson, it would be seen almost “as a capital expense like R&D to be amortized rather than expensed, and potentially incentivized with tax credits.”
10. Educational Passport & Profiling
As a direct fallout of funding, every professional will maintain a Lifelong Learning & Training Account. This has been proposed by The Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program. Linked to it is the Learning Passport, which is a record of an individual’s educational credentials.
The above technology-led changes will, however, not wipe out the need for some skills. Teaching and learning are human skills. Critical thinking and social perceptiveness are again powered by the human brain. To top it all, creativity and originality are talent skills that no machine can take over.