9.1 Life time learning?!

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    The old, educational process is like a traditional, industrial process. Start at four years old, go through the educational pipeline, and after graduating college or university, you are ready to start working. You learned the same stuff as your student colleagues, and can compare scores due to the standardization of our examinations.

    I guess there will be many more locations in which to learn in the near future, in addition to greater variation in available content. The experience would be more tailor-made, if you like. So instead of going to school for 6 years, you can pick up learning opportunities, when and where you need it, about 1,000 times per year, for a period of 30 years…

    If we want to be usable as interdisciplinary junctions in the value network, remain employable in the process of value creation, and keep our new organizations up to par in these dynamic times, then we will have to assume an attitude of learning for life. By “being usable,” I mean as a human being who is aware of the qualities and responsibilities that reach far beyond technical skills. Learning is becoming more accessible. Information and knowledge can often, and easily, be found on the Web. Knowledge is shared with people from all over the world, and, as a result, new insights and new knowledge come into being. This is what we need to prepare our children for.

    So, the question is: should we still send our children to schools, and, if so, what do we want them to develop?

    I am looking into a direction in which our educational institutes have to deliver autodidactic people, who can produce knowledge by sharing existing parts with others, and then remix it with new ideas; who find change and development necessary and quite common; people who present themselves and behave like meaningful beings; and, people who can mobilize their knowledge, experience, and information for themselves, and in relation to others.

    “At schools, we are educating people for professions that will not be around in five years time while we have to educate people for occupations that will only come into being in five years time.”
    Martijn Aslander, Dutch thought leader

    In order to join that global game of value creation in the future, our educational system will have to be fundamentally changed. Pumping improvement money into a dead system, like many governments presently are doing, in order to get a competitive advantage, is disastrous. We no longer need a closed institute, but an open space, dazzling, creative, and social; virtual and physical, with places for meetings and activities in the community, village, or city where the school is located. Also, the locations wherein we create value are learning locations, as well.

    The rise of alternate learning venues, such as coworking centers, tech labs, and corporate in-house innovation departments, open to internal peers of an organization, is excavating the exclusive right of a physical school (building) to be the center of education and learning. Boundless and blurring are Society 3.0 themes, obviously also in education.

    The city as a university?

    “Major social and commercial hubs now offer learning opportunities alongside existing products or services to satisfy demand: libraries, high streets, theatres, galleries, public transport interchanges, and cafes all form part of an informal network of knowledge exchange and dissemination. The boundaries between work, education and leisure have blurred and the city has started to respond to this opportunity. New city educational networks have become a valuable piece of social and financial infrastructure, giving purpose and employment to those seeking to learn or teach for enjoyment or enrichment…“
    Source: Treehugger blog.

    As more organizations are working like networks, with dynamic groups of people, one of the key elements of these organizations is a need to store their knowledge somewhere, and present it to newcomers the moment they need it. Otherwise, there will be no progress, since everybody would be busy reinventing the wheel.

    Could that be a true learning organization?

    And, in case if you wonder what the new roles or tasks (or jobs) may be, you will find exotic titles, such as gamifier, data pilot, environmental scanner, content curator, knowledge guardian, cloud service broker, relevance analyst, barrier fighter, team builder, network recruitment specialist, and trust agent. Some of these roles are already being played within our organization, Seats2meet.com.

    There are role requirements, such as, “we are looking for an expert in cutting-edge technology, like EC2, Hadoop, Solr, JBoss, and Hibernate,” or, “an expert on NLP and machine learning techniques, such as data mining and Bayesian classifiers.” I have no clue what these acronyms mean.

    But, when I read that, “the team is looking for a reasonable, mature coach, helping us to keep our entrepreneurial focus without spoiling the fun,” I still may have a role to play. How about you?

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