This major change is currently being felt in every educational and learning systems around the world as they struggle to adapt learners and instructors alike to a new, flexible system. “Stop asking a young person what you want to be when you grow up. It freezes their identity into a job that may not be there. Ask them how you want to be when you grow up. Having an agile learning mind-set will be the new skill set of the 21st century,” says Education-to-work expert Heather E. McGowan.
What does this mean to the next generation of workers? What knowledge can one acquire then to become a qualified worker? To be a capable and qualified worker one must know basic literacy skills. The question is, are these basic skills enough in the 21st century?
The answer is very clear, these skills are not enough.
This is because High School students of 2017 will work in 2037 in types of jobs we can’t even imagine. Therefore, we must teach our workers to become lifelong learners and not only to acquire basic skills.
Becoming Lifelong Learners:
What does it Mean to Become a Lifelong Learner?
The answer that was given by the international organization P21.org was the 21st century workers must have the 4 c’s skills (Creativity, Critical thinking, Collaboration and Communication).
A New Approach – Shifting from the 4 C’s to the 6 C’s
Yet, this model does not go far enough to cover the how of the 21st century worker and based on this growing model it should consist of 6 C’s.
This updated model changes “Information, Media and Technology Skills,” to “Computer Literacy” since it’s required today to move a worker from the level of “skills” to the upper level of “literacy.”
Also “Life and Career Skills” is updated to “Career and Learning Self-Reliance,” since the career aspect must be emphasized.
The worker who will acquire these skills will be ready for Industry 4.0, which includes cyber-physical environments, and for the rapid innovation that economy systems will go through in the coming years.
How can organizations make sure that their workers will acquire these 6 C’s?
The answer is very critical, only effective and modern digital learning platforms can assure that employees will acquire these skills. To understand the above answer, let us try to understand what does it mean to be an “effective and modern digital learning platform.”
An effective and modern digital learning platform is a learning environment that promotes interactivity, formative assessment and social interactions.
- These attributes derived from the Social-Constructivism theory, a leading learning theory of the past 20 years that claims that effective learning is achieved by combining three elements
- The learner should be active in constructing his or her own knowledge
- The learner should interact with peers and the instructor
- The instructor should be an active facilitator and function as a “Guide on the side and not sage on the stage.”
As Vygotsky showed, social interaction plays a major role in the learning process. The ability of the learner to express himself verbally is essential to knowledge construction. By expressing and hearing themselves, learners fine-tune their understanding.
In a classic implementation of a social-constructivist classroom, the instructor plays a major role as a learning facilitator by combining guidance and authority – two key factors for an effective learning environment.
The catch is that excellent implementations of the classroom-learning model are relatively rare. Mainly since excellent conditions for classroom learning (solid instructors, modern environment, small class size – all in proximity to each other) are hard to find and expensive to duplicate.
Digital learning platforms however are scalable: they enable companies to prepare all employees in a standard way without caring about geography. If properly used digital learning platforms will include higher-order thinking skills interactions that promotes Critical Thinking. Moreover, advanced digital learning platforms have social aspects that promote Collaboration and Communication with a sense of belonging.
Such platforms create communities of learners that share the same experience and function as “classmates” in a large-scale program:
- Discussion in Context – learners can ask their colleagues for assistance from within the content – No need to go elsewhere (LMS etc.).
- Comments are shared and can be rated, serving as a priority mechanism for instructional supervisors.
- Social Benchmark – each learner sees how they compared with the group average, at each single point
- One-Click Interaction – chat and video tools to interact immediately with a peer for prompt support
Selecting the Digital Learning Platform for Promoting The 6 C’s:
Organizations that move from face-to-face instruction to modern digital learning platforms encourage their employees to develop Computer literacy and can use the wisdom of the crowd to promote Creativity. These employees become lifelong-learners than learn to manage their learning and Career.
It is important to bear in mind that current “traditional” LMS’s are not suitable for promoting the 6 C’s, since they focus on the administration of the content. Only effective and modern digital learning platforms, such as Time to Know solutions, can create the proper “how” due to its strong “human connection” and meaningful active learning experiences.
So, What’s Next?
The professionals in these organizations who are responsible for corporate learning should ask themselves not only “What should employees learn,” but also “how should employees learn?”
As John Dewey, the great philosophers and educator, said “school is not preparation for life, it is life itself.”
The same is true for corporate learning, training is not only in preparation for jobs, it should give workers the skills to become lifelong learners to survive in the 21st century.