Monday, December 7, 2015

Shifting people in times of exponential change

Today I'm getting ready for our R&D Meeting tomorrow by reading the KnowledgeWorks Forecast The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code.  Briefly, this document is looking at the shifts in society that are disrupting organizations and changing the role of employment in people's lives.  As such these changes are also going to have an effect on how, when and why people learn.

I've heard Ian Jukes talk at a number of different conferences, his message being that we "live in times of exponential change".  This is addressed in The Future of Learning as well:
If education continues to advance one step at a time, it will fall exponentially behind the world for which it aims to prepare learners.
 There are a number of drivers of change identified in The Future of Learning.  These are:
  • Optimized Selves: based on wearable devices and sensors that enable us to track and analyze our behaviours such as sleep, exercise, nutrition, social interactions and so on, we are able to deepen our self-knowledge.  
  • New Labour Relations: with machines!  Smart machines and artificial intelligence can now perform much of what was traditionally "middle class" work including complex cognitive tasks.  The challenge is to redefine what is the unique human contribution in the workplace.
  • Alternative Economies:  Underemployment and debt has led to people finding they are limited in their participation in the consumer economy.  The prediction is that "individuals will move in and across multiple intersecting economies ... and seeking educational approaches that fit their needs and outlook".
  • Self-managing Institutions:  arising from the growing open culture movement, the prediction is for flexible webs comprised of many organizations and individuals.  These are seen as being distributed, autonomous organizations that operate with minimal management.
  • Shifting Landscapes: including new relationships at work, a redefinition of wage labour and what constitutes a job.  Learning and re-learning will help individuals adapt to these turbulent and volatile conditions.
I think in our R&D Meeting we want to consider what might happen when educators and learners re-imagine their roles and interactions as a result of these changes.  Here are some ideas from The Future of Learning - all of which I think will make a positive difference to education within the next 10 years:
  • New tools and practices informed by neuro- and emotion science will help educators design learning experiences and develop rich feedback to help learners engage in experiences that optimize learning.
  • Personalized learning will move beyond tailoring pacing and curriculum resources towards the dynamic curation of customized learning relationships with an expanded range of learning partners.
  • As educators work to prepare students for new economies, they will create assessments that measure mastery, real-world impact, and social-emotional development.  Educators and learners will focus their interactions on realizing personal potential and demonstrating meaningful competencies.
  • Learners and their families will use smart contracts to access experiences and resources across more distributed and diverse learning ecosystems, personalizing their learning and supporting their distinct interests, needs and aspirations.
Photo Credit: Ramon Snellink via Compfight cc

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