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Back to the blogWorking and learning environments

Portrait of Bettina Maier
Bettina Maier

16.01.2017

The Working and Learning Worlds of the Future – Part 2

Change is becoming the norm

Apprenticeships and university degrees are usually the beginning of the working life. The requirements of companies regarding the skills of recent graduates are becoming more specialized. Standardized courses of education will not be able to react to these requirements with sufficient speed and flexibility in the long run. How can professional newcomers be educated more effectively in a period of constant change where knowledge increases quickly? What roll will “Corporate Learning” play?

Customized courses of education – lifelong learning

Are there going to be any “training programs” in the future that shape a person and that last a lifetime, or does each individual develop a customized portfolio of their competencies which continuously evolves and develops through lifelong learning? Such a portfolio would enable one to choose between different careers and thus allow for an individual way of life. Well-founded fundamental knowledge will continue to be the basis, which is expanded upon through modular knowledge components that can be combined flexibly. Integration of these learning modules means that changes in the education landscape are incorporated quickly and without complications. Maximum variability is the result – both in regards to the possibilities for specialization as well as to the combinatorics of competencies.

Curriculum Vitae 2.0

Working and learning on your own is a result of intrinsic motivation. What motivates a person is different for everyone. The motivation of people to network and share knowledge has been demonstrated in social networks for years. Through knowledge platforms, learning opportunities are linked with the informal knowledge that is gained during the workday.

In the future, learners will document their learning paths digitally, completely independent of third parties. The building blocks of their competence portfolio will be certified – aided by Blockchain, for example – and their data will be protected as well. The learner determines the degree of digital transparency – who can see which data and when. The skills declared in a portfolio are certified not just through degrees and certificates, but also supported by feedback from social and career networks.

Adaptive learning will become the norm

Company-specific open platforms offer access to adaptive learning opportunities. The learners themselves determine which content is valuable to them, and also decide where, when and how to acquire or pass on knowledge. They deepen and expand their portfolio of skills at their own speed – during a train ride or a discussion with friends in the park. They autonomously create learning content that is then evaluated by the users. Access to knowledge through the linking of virtual and real information makes learning an everyday activity.

Creating synergies through learning

In 2025, Generation Y will occupy an estimated 75% of all jobs worldwide. Innovation labs and start-ups that initiate a cultural change are established as a hybrid solution at the margins of the company. In the meantime, young people with a great affinity for technology are brought into contact with older employees who have years of experience. The classical distribution of roles in education and training is thereby dissolved. What would a scenario look like that creates cultural change in a company and establishes the values of a company while anchoring the two in education and training? Cross-generational learning models provide the opportunity to create synergies between new technological knowledge and the many years of experience in companies as well as to anchor the concept of lifelong learning.

Transfer of knowledge in Connected Training Hubs

In “Connected Training Hubs” traditional teaching methods are turned “upside down” in that the learners actively and autonomously acquire content, instead of passively absorbing it. In interdisciplinary teams, situational problem solving is developed in a project-based manner and exchange and interface competencies are promoted. The instructor has the role of coach and mentor and accompanies the learner. External experts bring new impulses into the hubs and support the teams. “Connected Training Hubs” form an important building block for the cross-company and international transfer of knowledge.

Immersive learning and co-working

On the basis of technologies such as VR and AR, employees can connect in real time, and they can also learn in a resource-efficient manner by using simulations and spontaneously working on problem solving. That way, operational processes are not only thought through abstractly, but can also be experienced in a practical sense. Furthermore, problems that might occur during production are simulated in advance. Wearables give the employees information about their vital data and protect them from excessive workloads.

Fluid structures

Linked services and the “economy of choice” bring maximum individuality and variety of versions – but also challenges in terms of planning and complexity. New process and product technologies are integrated. Unforeseen events occur more often and spontaneously. The combination of the younger generation’s skills, the older employees’ experience and the data analysis of intelligent machines provides enormous potential for the development of new solutions.

Constant change is accompanied by a more agile way of working. Employees team up for projects on short notice. A certain degree of transparency is necessary in order to identify the right employees for such teams. Company platforms can provide the foundation for connecting employees into fluid structures based on their portfolio of skills. Requirements and demands to specific competencies can be reacted to early on in the future.

The third part is concerned with the influence of Artificial Intelligence to learning.