Whitepaper explores need for greater skills-based focus in higher education and through life to respond to rapid technological advancements and changing labour market demands
D2L, a global learning technology leader, has announced a new whitepaper, “The Future of Work & Learning in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution,” which highlights the ways in which work and learning need to shift to be more skills-focused, in line with technological development and changing societal norms. The paper explores why we must embrace new or hybrid learning models to transform our thinking about lifelong learning and skills development to allow individuals and economies to thrive going forward.
“The digital revolution has impacted how we interact with each other. Technologies such as AI, robotics, nanotechnology and 3D printing have ushered in a Fourth Industrial Revolution that’s changing almost every industry,” said Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, D2L. “The role of education and workforce development is shifting towards a skills marketplace as individuals will be required to upskill, and possibly reskill, on an ongoing basis to remain competitive in the new world of work.”
The Whitepaper suggests that as higher education leaders and policymakers think about how to prepare for the future of the workforce, the education system must be at the crux of any solution. The following recommendations are proposed:
- Make education and training a priority for investment. Investing in the development of an education system that is affordable, accessible, flexible and responsive is paramount to ensure value and create a competitive economy.
- Think responsive, flexible and adaptive. Recognising that learner demographics are dramatically shifting, education systems must adapt to the reality of a post-traditional learner.
- Align programmes and credentials to labour market needs. The education system must become more responsive to changes in the labour market, including regular examination of the relevance of programme offerings and where to invest limited education resources. The use of labour market information, such as essential skills in demand, employment statistics, unemployment rates, and wages and salaries should be a foundational component of such regular examination.
- Recognise the shift to a skills market. Designing “hybrid” programmes with skill sets from different fields will enhance the value of a postsecondary credential for students as demonstrable skill attainment is increasingly more desirable by employers.
- Leverage industry as a partner. Include industry partners in the design and execution of educational programmes to ensure alignment of skills taught to skills sought.
According to the 2016 World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, there are many skills that are not considered important in job roles today, but by 2020 will be a critical requirement in the same roles. While some education institutions and individual learning programmes are already adapting to meet changing workforce demands, this whitepaper seeks to advance dialogue and debate around how governments and institutions can become more responsive to the shifting needs of both students and workers, as well as how systems and thinking must adapt to ensure individuals are better prepared for the new world of work.
The Future of Work & Learning in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution will be launched at the Education World Forum, which sees ministers and their senior advisers representing over two-thirds of the world’s population gather to debate future education policy. The event is being held in London, UK, from 21st 24th January.
This whitepaper will deliver helpful information to policy makers and practitioners as they make crucial decisions about current systems and processes. To download The Future of Work & Learning in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution, visit www.d2l.com/futureofwork.
D2L believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests. Working closely with clients, D2L has transformed the way millions of people learn online and in the classroom. Learn more about D2L for schools, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com.
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