Our changing world23/02/2015 11:46:31

 

The world is changing faster today than ever before! When I was young, you looked at the industries in the world around us and at the jobs adults were doing, and then decided which career to prepare for.  

Today, it is much harder. Many of the industries and jobs we see around us today are likely to be replaced by different industries and jobs by the time our children are ready to plan their careers.

 

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Education and training are also struggling to cope with change. In the 20th century, vocational training was often developed through a laborious process. Often, the process involved these stages:

1. Industry leaders are consulted to identify their training needs;
2. Guidelines are developed for writing the courses;
3. Funding proposals are put to government, and in due course, funding is allocated for writing curriculum;
4. Experts write curriculum documents outlining a course;
5. Funding for delivery of the course is proposed, and in due course allocated;
6. Course notes are developed;
7. Enrolments are called for, and the course is delivered.

This process could easily take 5 to 8 years. This meant that we were teaching content based on needs that had been identified many years earlier. 

In the relatively slowly changing world of the 1950’s, it might have been relevant to teach to meet needs that were identified 5 years or more earlier. But the same cannot be said of the 21st century. 

How then do we cater for a future that is unknown?

Perhaps the most important skills that anyone can learn - whether through school, college, university, or training in a workplace – are the ability to adapt and acquire new information and skills as they are needed.

What we learn today simply may not be relevant next year; and at work, what we are required to do today may simply not be what we need to do next year. Therefore, employers, supervisors, educators and workers all need to be prepared for a constantly changing workplace.

Sadly, universities, colleges and employers are not all changing as fast as the world changes. What do you think?

John Mason
Principal, ACS Distance Education