How technology is impacting the future of learning

Posted on: July 24, 2017 by Marianne Hewlett

Some of the world’s most sought after jobs, from a block chain developer to a 3D printing technician didn’t exist ten years ago. Vocational courses in these areas were unavailable a decade ago and it’s unlikely that you can enrol into a University to study for these roles today. Future jobs will continue to drastically change so simply relying on a solid University education or years of experience is no longer enough to see you though a lifelong career.

Jobs that were once seen as secure are also now at risk from automation. By 2019, PwC predicts 25% of tasks across every job category will be automated. Thanks to the power of search engines and intelligent machines, analysing vast amounts of data in the blink of an eye there is little benefit in memorizing facts and information by heart anymore. Being able to ask the right questions and knowing how and what to analyse, to understand the context and being adaptable to change has become a much more valuable workplace currency.

Plugging the skills gap in a changing world

Employee demographics have also drastically changed which are impacting the world of workplace education. Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends Report highlights that on average, our careers will last up to 70 years and we’ll stay in a job for around 4.5 years. This projection suggests that we’ll have to adapt and change our skillset continually throughout our working life. In fact, the average life of a skill lasts only five years, meaning our competencies could quickly become out of date.

The need to refresh our attitude to skills is also being driven by economies. The European Commission predicts that Europe will have to plug a deficit of 500,000 IT professionals by 2020. Individuals, particularly the younger workers, are also feeling the strain. Manpower found that 93% of millennials would happily spend their own money on keeping their skills up to date. However, not all employees are willing to go that far. To fill this gap, L&D teams will need to quickly readdress company strategy for retaining talent, engaging employees and upskilling their teams.

The emergence of ‘on-demand ‘learning

Companies are seeking new approaches to workplace learning to manage talent, build teams and invest in the right skills for working in a digital age. On-demand learning that is immersive and can be accessed anytime is helping companies to achieve this. Employees can learn what they want, wherever they want and exactly when they need it. For the employer, learning pathways can be created to ensure hundreds if not thousands of workers can re-skill in new types of skills such as data science, cybersecurity and analytics.

Modern learning is becoming increasingly ‘bite-sized’ ensuring that employees skills are kept up to date and constantly refreshed. In fact, education is becoming more informal and peer orientated rather than traditional and hierarchical. At the same time, workers are increasingly enjoying learning from their peers in short-session tutorials.

The impact of emerging technologies

Emerging technology such as VR and AR is also driving the pace of change in workplace education. AR and VR technologies can democratize education as it can transport the learning experience directly to the individual. For example, a classroom in rural Kansas could be transported to the British Museum or the Sistine Chapel.

L’Oréal is one company that’s breaking the mould with the immersive powers of VR for learning. By using off-the-shelf cameras to capture hairdressers at work, it’s created training centres so apprentices can effectively look over an experts’ shoulder. Wherever in the world they are, a L’Oréal trainee is able to view the work from multiple angles and even step inside the virtual shoes of a pro to share their experiences.

In the world of VR, at Atos, we’ve experimented with ‘Augmented Interactive Reality’ or AIR. Augmented Interactive Reality forms an augmented reality space for its users well-stocked with interactive holographic content. Using interactive smart glass technologies and semi-transparent displays on a mobile device, the technology projects 2D and 3D digital holograms into the real world. Users of this new technology will one day be able to access the information they need at a glance, increasing both productivity and efficiency. Developments like this are only the beginning and soon augmented and mixed reality will become second nature for business education.

While technology and automation will change the world of work forever, employees can re-invent themselves through lifelong learning and discover a whole new career path that once might have seemed out of reach. To explore more, you can read my recent post on adopting a growth mindset.

For more information, download our Future of Work e-book with the latest learning trends that will shape how we’ll be working in 2030.

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About Marianne Hewlett
Senior Vice President and member of the Scientific Community
Marianne Hewlett is a Senior Vice President at Atos and a seasoned marketeer and communications expert. Passionate about connecting people, technology and business, she is a member of the Atos Scientific Community where she explores the Future of Work and the impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society. She is a strong ambassador for diversity and inclusivity – and particularly encourages female talent to pursue a career in IT – as she believes a diverse and happy workforce is a key driver for business success. As an ambassador for the company’s global transformation program Wellbeing@work, she explores new technologies and ways of working that address the needs of current and future generations of employees. A storyteller at heart, she writes about the human side of business and technology and posts include insights into the future of work, the science of happiness, and how wellbeing and diversity can drive success.

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