The world is rapidly changing. Particularly with new technologies, the pace of change means that skills have a shorter half-life. There is no longer a job for life.
This shift requires that education adapt to reflect the changing skills needed in the future. This means that what we teach must change. To reflect the rapid digitization taking place in all industries, including education, we must also adapt how we teach.
Let’s look at these two main themes in more detail. We will see how what is taught and how it is taught.
Rethinking the lessons we give
Education at all levels must change to help children thrive in today’s changing world. Many of the jobs that schoolchildren today will be working in are not even available. LinkedIn projects 150 million new jobs in technology over the next five-years, and nearly all the roles listed in LinkedIn’s “Jobs On the Rise” report 2022 can be performed remotely.
What skills are necessary for success? The World Economic Forum identified key characteristics that will ensure high-quality learning in the future in its Schools of the Future Paper. These skills include:
* Skills in global citizenship (including awareness of the larger world and sustainability).
* Creativity and innovation skills (including problem solving and analytical thinking).
* I believe technology skills (including programming and data science) should be included as an option.
* Interpersonal skills (including empathy, empathy, cooperation, and social awareness).
It was a pleasure to see soft skills such as creativity and interpersonal communication included on the list. Our inherent human social and emotional abilities will be increasingly valuable as machines automate more of our workplace tasks. With this in mind, I’d like to add the following skills to the list:
* Ethics – As more companies seek to use AI ethically, the title of AI ethicist is on the rise.
* Diversity (cultural diversity, diversity of thought) – Did you know that the number of workplace diversity specialists was up 64 percent by 2020? This could be an important career path in the future.
How to teach it
The first industrial revolution was the birth of formal education. It’s not surprising that the way we approach education has not changed much since then. Students are still expected to learn the material in lecture halls and classrooms all over the globe, and they often sit directly in front of their teachers.
This is not to be critical of lecturers and teachers. As a married teacher, I have great admiration for the work of educators. The way education is delivered must change in order to help students thrive in 21 century and to create leaders for the world.
Particularly, I believe that the teachers of tomorrow will be facilitators and not content providers. These are some of the key enablers for this transformation:
* Increased use of digital content and online learning — a trend that was greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Learning that is more personalized, self-paced and self-directed – learning becomes flexible and adapted to each student’s needs.
* Less collaborative, problem-based, and project-based learning. This better reflects 21 century workplace.
* Less complicated learning, because according to a study from Microsoft, humans have an attention span that is around eight seconds. This is less than a goldfish! Future education will be delivered in bite-sized and snackable form.
* Immersive learning – Using technologies such as virtual reality and augmented realities to bring subjects to life and immerse students, you can make learning more immersive.
South Tapiola High school, Finland
South Tapiola high school, also known as ETIS, will show you how these shifts in practice. This school is consistently ranked among the top schools in Finland.
ETIS provides a curriculum that aims to help students develop skills like collaboration, entrepreneurship and social awareness through real-world applications. The school offers a Young Entrepreneurship Program where students can work together to create and run their own businesses and compete against other young entrepreneurs in national competitions. The school also offers a European Parliament for Young People Program that provides hands-on experiences for civic duty. Students can participate in regional and national sessions with students from different backgrounds to discuss the current challenges facing the European Union. To integrate technology into the school’s curriculum, the school partners with tech companies like Microsoft and Dell.
If you are wondering if “traditional” subjects are being sacrificed for these 21 -century skills then rest assured that ETIS is not a weakling when it comes core curriculum subjects. ETIS students surpass national averages in math & chemistry by more that twice!
It’s obvious that it’s a daunting task to rethink what and how we teach. It is essential to ensure that our education systems meet the needs 21 -century students, and prepare them for success in today’s rapidly changing world. You can read more about these future trends in my book Business Trends in Practice: 25+ Trends that are Redefining Organizations. It is filled with real-world examples and reveals the key trends that will define the future of business.