Between foundational re-skilling and specialist upskilling, there’s no doubt that today we are experiencing the rapid evolution of education. But can we keep up? It’s uncertain how many things we as humans have a capacity to be proficient at or master. But we do know that if we are to make our Industry 4.0 world for the highest benefit of all, we need more education, with a greater variety, for more people at more stages of their lives than ever before.
Despite the legacy education system evolving with the times, increasingly it finds itself taking on water as many people find its price to be bigger than its worth. Many find it focused on teaching people what it can explain to them rather than what they need to know, preparing them for the next phase at each stage, but not for life itself.
However, society has placed much value on credentials, meaning most people need a certificate to work. I believe we will continue to see the growth of services, professions, management and the demise of labor-intensive work.
Increasingly, as we advance, there will be more free time for more of us to do things we want. In nearly all cases, being educated and unemployed is better than being uneducated and unemployed. The blessing of education is that it enhances people’s ability to find something beneficial and enjoyable to do — and presumably, increase their income.
As more people pursue their interests, we embrace a paradigm of continuous learning. One in which training that extends human consciousness is valued — not the creation of cogs for the machine. Education is a positive thing and the cornerstone of a civilized society. It is one of the most labor-intensive service industries and — despite technical aids — will continue to be a great creator of work as it diverges and fragments.
In the future more individuals, at more points in their lives, will need and want more education. We should do what we can to meet their needs for economic, social, aesthetic and moral reasons. We ought to view training as an investment, not a price. Active pastimes and games — not spectating — tend to relate to one’s level of education. Hobbies are never purely amateur, even with such pastimes as baking, birdwatching, music-making and sailing. Learning doesn’t just occur in a formal classroom. It can happen anywhere, anytime in an educational network where the family, the office, and multiple styles or schools mix. Capability, imagination and passion are at least as important in the future as enterprise. Our wealth of well-being demands we recognize life as art, and the work of knowledge-creation, personal discovery and fulfillment, as well as recreation and domestic activity to be most valuable.
All the possibilities for the future of employment depend on our ability to provide access to educational opportunities that fit people — including what they want and need. To that end, we get to propagate the importance of people who think, act and learn for themselves. We get to form a society that rejoices in, not shuns, choice and responsibility. If we don’t get education right, soon, we’re going to face a scenario of lost possibilities and a generation that one day might say they have a promising future behind them.
Young people today often live mythically and in-depth. But they typically endure years of instruction siloed into impractical information subjects. Instead of suppressing the direct natural experience of youth, who respond with untaught delight to the poetry and beauty of today’s immersive technological environment and popular culture, we must prepare them to study it as an active — and not necessarily benign — force. This is their pathway to countless accomplishments in an Industry 4.0 environment.
The labor force of tomorrow rejects goals. Instead, talent seeks roles, that is, total involvement and embodiment as an active participant in the unfolding drama of work and the human relationships that provide. Instead, they want roles, that is, total involvement. They do not want fragmented, specialized goals or jobs. Educational institutions are waking up to the shift from old ways to the new environment. What we’ve traditionally known as the classroom now struggles for survival with the fluid and dynamic outside world created by new informational media. As people become participants in deep, dynamic networked environments, there is an opportunity for the classroom to break from its confinements as a physical opaque box of schooling to become a connected platform where an enormous amount of valuable work occurs.
By relying on legacy educational environments, students find stimulating engagement lacking and don’t immediately see how the educational system relates to their mythic world of electronically processed data and their direct experience. Because of this, I predict education will evolve from imposing top-down instruction to co-active finding and making.