Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shaping the Future of Learning: anticipating and directing positive change

By now I've come to the end of the KnowledgeWorks Forecast The Future of Learning.  At our R&D meeting on Tuesday I discussed some of these forecasts and trends with colleagues, many of which could be viewed as opportunities or threats, depending on your perspective,  What follows below are several points taken from the last couple of pages of the report.
  • The purpose of education will be challenged.  Education needs to evolve to support people in pursuing new forms of career readiness while at the same time fostering human development and personal meaning.  We need to consider what competencies will be needed in the future for a world of human-machine partnerships.  Education needs to evolve to meet the needs of learners and society, and will need to balance civic life and individual success.
  • Equity for all learners will present a huge design challenge.  New divides could emerge as the technology-driven automation of work changes the relationship between humans and machines and redefines careers.  It's important to consider whether customised education will end up being only for the privileged or wealthy.
  • Learner responsibilities.  As the learning ecosystem expands, learners will have greater choice about how, when and where to pursue learning.  There will be greater choice, but also more responsibility for evaluating and selecting options.
  • Governance structures.  Education policy may struggle to keep up with the accelerating pace of change.  Data privacy, security and permissions will need special attention as new layers of information surround learning.
  • Catalytic roles.  As today's educational institutions struggle to adapt to change, many schools, colleges and universities may close.  Those that survive will need to decide how best to contribute to educational value webs as organisational structures loosen and societal expectations change.
  • There will be many opportunities for those who pioneer new educational roles.  Roles will diversify as learning ecosystems expand.  New kins of specialities will emerge to create and guide learning experiences, and to monitor and ensure their effectiveness.
  • Technology.  Technology will become increasingly important as the amount of data and information that people need to manage their life and work increases.  We will also need to consider the question of where should we let machines do human tasks.
The response to change can often be seen as flight, fight or freeze.  This approach is more about looking change squarely in the eyes, questioning the implications and then using it for good.

Photo Credit: SomeDriftwood via Compfight cc

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