And Why is Today More Important Than Ever to Change The Way We Learn?
Learning is an Unstoppable Process
Throughout the history people have never stopped learning. Why? Because it’s impossible. It is impossible to stop. Learning is an unstoppable process which continues for the entire human life. From birth until death, to say the least. And why?
Growth is a basic setting of human beings. Driving force which leads individuals and civilizations forward. And when we achieve the desired degree, after the eventual short sense of enjoyment in what was accomplished we set new, higher goals.
At the same time, human settings equalize growth and learning and that makes it unstoppable. Humans will continue to learn and gain progress. But there is one historical fact to keep in mind — our progress was not always linear. Great people, great organizations and great civilizations have fallen. We should never underestimate fast and major changes that surround us. And we must change as well if we want to fit in a changing environment. The most important change is to change the way we learn. And learning is a much broader term than education.
We Are All Different, We Should Learn Differently
Most of the educational institutions today still provide models and content of learning which are completely outdated and don’t serve its purpose. Children who enroll into schools these days will mostly be working in jobs which do not yet exist and while doing them they will use technological tools which have not yet been invented.
The purpose of learning is to provide a man the tools so he can be able to survive in the future. Today those tools are human values, strategy, interpersonal communication, system management in a transformable environment, freedom of thoughts and care for others. Despite the fact that at the moment there is an emphasis on the education in STEM field, we can’t forget the skills that make us humans, the ones that separate us from the machines. Leaders of the digital transformation which, due to the technology they develop, experience the future a bit sooner than the rest of the world, when faced with the question of which type of knowledge and skills people should develop, state that the human knowledge should head in the direction of all the things people are better at than the machines.
But of course we should always be aware of the context of the digital era and technology that surrounds us.
Learning in The Era of Digital Transformation
Human memory is incomparable with machine memory so we can rely on technology and stop teaching a bunch of facts which are mostly irrelevant and useless for most of us. We are all different and we should learn differently and create future learning processes based on the following three approaches: individual, multidisciplinary and creative.
If we seek for excellence, we should seek for what we are best at and for what drives us, what makes us passionate. Without an individual approach to learning there will be even more people with average knowledge and skills who are definitely not fulfilling their potential.
Multidisciplinary approach is crucial for improving outcomes and providing us the possibility to fully explore without limitations of imaginary borders that have costed us many undiscovered discoveries so far.
Future belongs to authentic people, I’m completely sure about it. Creativity is a key part of authenticity.
Ask yourself a question: how come that we were more authentic and creative when we were pre-school kids than when we grew up? Authenticity is often suppressed by our educational system. Creative learning will manage to keep future generations more authentic, free and adjustable to constant change.
Develop Soft Skills or Die Hard
Mastering various skills and different knowledges soared the man out of the cave and into the universe in an incredibly short amount of time, relatively speaking. Learning itself is the reason why the human race is more successful than any other animal on the planet. Human capacities and results in that field are beyond compare to any other living creatures known to us. I emphasise living because the human capacity of learning developed knowledge that created the machines and further research brought new findings which led us to give the intelligence to the machines.
Long ago the machines became faster, bigger and stronger than humans and today they are even smarter. But still, only partially.
Close future of the human existence will rely on soft skills.
For humans, to make it a competition in learning against technology is as pointless as it would be to make a decision to race an airplane. On the other hand, using technology for learning is as useful and manageable as is flying with that same plane. Actually, the similarities are completely unsubtle - better view, new perspectives, quicker arrival to the wanted destination and commodity.
I hope that you are not afraid of flying. Even less of learning. Or of technology. There is no need for us to compete but there is a strong need for synergy.
Based on a working paper by Frey and Osborne there is an estimation that 47% of jobs are at risk of automation until 2020.
There are two directions out of this challenging situation. The first one is for you to do nothing and to wait for the politicians or whoever you find responsible for your life to do everything for you. That didn’t turn out to be the luckiest solution so far. The second one is to direct and to create your own future. Despite of many solutions such as universal basic income which aren’t bad, still the principle of being responsible for our own lives seems like a solution that has a better chance for success.
If you can read this that means that you are among that 4,2 billion internet users. And for us, there is no excuse for failure. Knowledge has never been more accessible than it is today. Only ten years ago most people had a chance to see the most inspiring leaders for only a couple of times in their lifetime if they were lucky enough to live in a big city in a developed country. Today, we have a chance to see or listen to almost every speech and lecture given by anyone wherever and whenever we find it the most convenient. We have a possibility to perfect the existing and to gain new knowledge on the most relevant scientific institutions all around the world and to become acquainted with new ideas. We are able to take a free online course from the best universities in the world such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Caltech, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, ETH Zurich or Tsinghua University and University of Hong Kong. There are hundreds of free online learning platforms with various courses. Even the most demanding among us can find plenty possibilities and opportunities. We can spend our entire life reading or listening to free ebooks or audiobooks- only Gutenberg project offers around sixty thousand titles.
Last but not the least, the qualities that are the most critical for success in today’s world — including emotional intelligence, influence, empathy, communication, persuasion and collaboration — all stem from self-awareness. In an era in which human characteristics such as attitude towards work, life and towards other people best come to expression we should learn from ourselves through introspection.
Every situation is a lesson. It is up to us to make a decision if we are going to gain knowledge out of it or continue to repeat the same pattern or often the same mistakes. Using the technology wisely in the learning process is a good thing, but using our human capacity wisely will bring outstanding results and performance.
Learning determines our life and we are fully responsible for both.