Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work — from McKinsey & Company; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpts:

Our findings help define the particular skills citizens are likely to require in the future world of work and suggest how proficiency in them can influence work-related outcomes, namely employment, income, and job satisfaction. This, in turn, suggests three actions governments may wish to take.

  1. Reform education systems
  2. Reform adult-training systems
  3. Ensure affordability of lifelong education

Establish an AI aggregator of training programs to attract adult learners and encourage lifelong learning. AI algorithms could guide users on whether they need to upskill or reskill for a new profession and shortlist relevant training programs. 

Foundational skills that will help citizens thrive in the future of work


From DSC:
No one will have all 56 skills that McKinsey recommends here. So (HR) managers, please don’t load up your job postings with every single skill listed here. The search for purple unicorns can get tiring, old, and discouraging for those who are looking for work.

That said, much of what McKinsey’s research/data shows — and what their recommendations are — resonates with me. And that’s why I keep adding to the developments out at:

Learning from the living class room

A powerful, global, next-generation learning platform — meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, safely, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently!!!

 

In the US, the AI Industry Risks Becoming Winner-Take-Most — from wired.com by Khari Johnson
A new study illustrates just how geographically concentrated AI activity has become.

Excerpt:

A NEW STUDY warns that the American AI industry is highly concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area and that this could prove to be a weakness in the long run. The Bay leads all other regions of the country in AI research and investment activity, accounting for about one-quarter of AI conference papers, patents, and companies in the US. Bay Area metro areas see levels of AI activity four times higher than other top cities for AI development.

“When you have a high percentage of all AI activity in Bay Area metros, you may be overconcentrating, losing diversity, and getting groupthink in the algorithmic economy. It locks in a winner-take-most dimension to this sector, and that’s where we hope that federal policy will begin to invest in new and different AI clusters in new and different places to provide a balance or counter,” Mark Muro, policy director at the Brookings Institution and the study’s coauthor, told WIRED.

Also relevant/see:

 

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code.”

 

5 Ways Higher Ed Will Be Upended — from chronicle.com by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
Colleges will lose power, prices will go down, and credentials will multiply — among other jarring shifts.

Excerpt:

The dominance of degrees and “just in case” education will diminish; nondegree certifications and “just in time” education will increase in status and value.

In contrast, “just in time” education teaches students the skills and knowledge they need right now. They may need to learn a foreign language for an coming trip or business deal. They may need to learn an emerging technology. “Just in time” education comes in all shapes and sizes, but diverges from traditional academic time standards, uniform course lengths, and common credit measures. Only a small portion of such programs award degrees; most grant certificates, microcredentials, or badges.

From DSC:
Long-time readers of this blog and my old blog at Calvin (then College) will see no surprises here:

I published the idea of 50% off and more back in 2008

I discussed The Walmart of Education with Mary Grush back in 2013

Learning from the living class room

 

Many Americans aren’t aware they’re being tracked with facial recognition while shopping  — from techradar.com by Anthony Spadafora
You’re not just on camera, you’re also being tracked

Excerpt:

Despite consumer opposition to facial recognition, the technology is currently being used in retail stores throughout the US according to new research from Piplsay.

While San Francisco banned the police from using facial recognition back in 2019 and the EU called for a five year ban on the technology last year, several major retailers in the US including Lowe’s, Albertsons and Macy’s have been using it for both fraud and theft detection.

From DSC:
I’m not sure how prevalent this practice is…and that’s precisely the point. We don’t know what all of those cameras are actually doing in our stores, gas stations, supermarkets, etc. I put this in the categories of policy, law schools, legal, government, and others as the legislative and legal realm need to scramble to catch up to this Wild Wild West.

Along these lines, I was watching a portion of 60 minutes last night where they were doing a piece on autonomous trucks (reportedly to hit the roads without a person sometime later this year). When asked about oversight, there was some…but not much.

Readers of this blog will know that I have often wondered…”How does society weigh in on these things?”

Along these same lines, also see:

  • The NYPD Had a Secret Fund for Surveillance Tools — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
    Documents reveal that police bought facial-recognition software, vans equipped with x-ray machines, and “stingray” cell site simulators—with no public oversight.
 

From Skill to Instinct: How Higher Education can Bridge the Gap Between Classroom and Career — from edtechreview.in by Stephen Soulunii

Excerpts:

Higher education has conventionally focused on providing quality education for its students. However, modern students are increasingly attending higher education, not for scholarly pursuits, but to increase their value in an intensely competitive job market.

From DSC:
Funny how that happens when the price of getting a degree has skyrocketed through the years — and then one sees one’s family members struggling with getting out from crushing loads of debt (a process that often can take decades to do).

There is a lot that could be said here, but looking at this article makes me see how misaligned things are these days. The learning objectives that would be put forth from the corporate world don’t match up with the learning objectives as put forth by professors.

No wonder there’s a major disconnect. 

One last quote drives the point home — which swims against the current that many faculty members swim in:

65% of HR professionals believe teamwork and collaboration are the most foundational people skills – and 40% believe these skills are the most lacking in new hires.

 


Also relevant here, this is an excerpt of a piece sent to me by Christina Ioannou:

Skills Union offers accredited cohort-based, active learning courses in partnership with leading universities and employers. Their career-focused content ranges from software engineering and UX/UI design to growth marketing and digital entrepreneurship.

The company announced a US$1.5 million seed investment round, supporting its mission to bridge the global tech skills gap, through university accredited courses that meet the needs of the rapidly growing tech sector. The investment round was led by Online Education Services (OES), part of the Seek group of companies, with notable investors including KDV, Hustle Fund, Koh Boon Hwee, Siu Rui Quek, Ishreth Hassen, Sumardy Ma, Simin Zhou and Anvesh Ramineni.

Skills Union dot com

 

From DSC:
While checking out an edition of innovation & tech today, the following sites caught me eye.

LearnWorlds looks intriguing to me. It will be interesting to see how teachers, professors, trainers, instructional designers, artists, coaches, and more make their living in the future. I’m pulse-checking the area of learning platforms and posting items re: it so that we can stay informed on these trends.

Learn Worlds dot com -- create and sell online courses from your own website

Learn Worlds dot com -- create and sell online courses from your own website

Also from LearnWorlds:

 


Also see:

Thinkific’s powerful, all-in-one platform makes it easy to share your knowledge, grow your audience, and scale the business you already love.

thinkific.com -- an online learning platform

 

Amazon Contractors Are Revolting, Here Are Their Demands — from interestingengineering.com by Loukia Papadopoulos
Two major delivery partners announced they chose to shut down rather than keep sating Amazon’s draconian demands.

Excerpt:

The firms essentially offered Amazon an ultimatum to either agree to a set of conditions that they said would improve driver safety, or they would shut down — well, Amazon is their only client. Amazon refused, and the two companies actually followed through with their ultimatum.

From DSC:
Our son, who is college age, worked at an Amazon distribution center last summer. He is typically a healthy person. But his back and knees did not do well over the summer. After just a few weeks of having to meet an aggressive (and constant) quota of items being shipped, pains and issues started appearing. I don’t know how some of their employees keep up the pace that they are required to maintain…hour after hour after hour after hour…day after day, month after month.

Also see:

Amazon is destroying millions of unsold goods, from smart TVs to laptops — from fastcompany.com by Lucy Wishart
An Amazon warehouse exposé in the UK underscores a larger problem with how goods are treated as disposable.

Excerpt:

A recent undercover investigation in an Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline, Scotland, reported the disposal of more than 130,000 “new or lightly used” objects in a single week in just that one location. Public outrage was clear. Questions were asked about how Amazon could be so wasteful and why weren’t the usable objects sent to those in need?

 

 

Potential unfulfilled: COVID-19, the rapid adoption of online learning, and what could be unlocked this year — from christenseninstitute.org by Thomas Arnett

Excerpt:

The foundational tenets of conventional instruction hinge on uniformity and compliance. Schools and classrooms, by and large, need students to conform to a common set of requirements in order for cohort-based learning to work. Unfortunately, nearly all students struggle to one degree or another to fit conventional instruction’s norms.

For example, conventional instruction requires students to show up to school ready to learn at times dictated by the school schedule, but for some students, life gets in the way. Conventional instruction moves all students through content at a uniform pace, but not all students master content in the time allotted. And conventional instruction often obliges students to sit and work or sit and listen for large portions of the day, yet some students struggle to sit quietly for extended periods of time. Fortunately, online learning offers the ability to replace many of these systemic rigidities with greater adaptability to students’ needs.

From DSC:
The above excerpt brings the image (below) back to my mind. The image represents our educational systems’ ways of never stopping or slowing down for anyone. They leave the station at such and such a time and then they move at a very face pace for everyone. There’s no stopping them — regardless of whether a student has mastered the content or not.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

 

Coursera: The ‘Amazon’ Of Online Education May Grow By Magnitudes — from seekingalpha.com

Summary

  • Increasing student dissatisfaction and declining enrollment suggest that many people are rethinking traditional methods of higher education.
  • The historical value of universities is becoming defunct as the internet allows a more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible vector of transmitting knowledge.
  • Innovative platforms like Coursera offer students a huge “marketplace” of high-quality courses far less expensive than those in traditional universities.
  • Given Coursera’s minimal barriers to growth and its massive total addressable market, I would not be surprised to see its annual revenue rise by 10X or more within years.
  • COUR may be one of the few recent IPOs which is actually trading below its fundamental fair value – subject to the assumption that online education will eventually supersede traditional models.
 

For College Finances, There’s No ‘Return to Normal’ — from chronicle.com by Mark S. LeClair
The critical problems facing higher education won’t end with the pandemic.

Excerpt:

Higher ed is in trouble. It faces a demographic crunch in 2026, when smaller high-school graduating classes will mean greater competition for students. That will lead to tuition discounting and underenrolled classes for many colleges. And yet that demographic crisis is only one of many significant challenges the sector faces. As noted by Forbes in its annual review of college and university financials, approximately 20 percent of all institutions now warrant a “D” ranking (its lowest). Many are under serious financial strain and may not survive.

The Forbes financial analyses have been warning of a worsening situation for years. The added stresses from the Covid-19 pandemic will further aggravate the untenable circumstances facing hundreds of institutions. There is now a very short window within which we must carry out significant reforms.

 

Microcredential programs on the rise in Canada — from by Sharon Aschaiek; with thanks to Amrit Ahluwalia for this resource out on LinkedIn
Low rates of awareness about microcredentials by prospective students and employers remains a challenge.

Excerpt:

A new report on current views about microcredentials in Canada reveals a majority of higher education institutions are keen to create these concise, competency-focused upskilling programs, and many say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more relevant.

Released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) earlier this month, “Making Sense of Microcredentials” reveals what this emerging training trend means from the perspectives of three key stakeholder groups: universities and colleges, prospective students and employers. The 32-page descriptive research report is based on the results of a literature review, 44 interviews (17 with postsecondary schools), and 2,362 surveys, which included 161 representatives from 105 postsecondary institutions, including 41 universities.

Along these lines, see:

Mapping Out a ‘Credential As You Go’ Movement For Higher Education — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new initiative called “Credential As You Go” aims to shift this status quo by making it easier for students and workers to earn recognition for their learning—in increments smaller than the colossal college degree.

Its goals include creating a national credentialing system designed around what the journey through higher education and job training actually looks like for many people: intermittent, nonlinear and unpredictable.

Also along the lines of keeping things brief, see:

 

Michigan appeals to former teachers as districts face ‘dire’ shortage — from mlive.com by Kayla Miller

Kindergarten teacher Melissa Sanborn instructs students Kindergarten teacher Melissa Sanborn instructs students…Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 at Cook Elementary School in Grand Blanc. (Jake May | MLive.com) Jake May | MLive.com

Excerpt:

Looking ahead to August, Beecher Community School District is expecting to be short about a quarter of their needed teaching staff for the 2021-22 school year.

The Flint-area district is one of many schools across Michigan fighting to keep educators in classrooms amid a statewide teacher shortage. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is now appealing to former teachers to get recertified and back to work.

David Crim, spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association, said multiple factors are keeping people from pursuing teaching and forcing young teachers to leave the profession.

“There’s no respect for teachers, no respect for the profession and poor compensation,” Crim said. “We have the perfect storm.”

From DSC:
It feels like there are major changes occurring throughout the K-12 learning ecosystems out there. It will be interesting to see what shakes out from this period of disruption.

By the way, those with little respect for teachers clearly have never taught themselves. Teaching is a very difficult profession. You try providing personalized learning to 25-30+ students at a time. Once you begin to scratch the surface, you’re retiring. We need to continue to try to share our knowledge, learnings, effective pedagogies/research, growth, tools, contacts, and more to help the next generation of teachers, students, administrators, and leaders.

Personally, I would like to see teachers have far more agency themselves. Don’t straight jacket them so much with standardized testing every ___ weeks/months. And allow more choice and control for the students (where possible). And allow the damn trains to slow down and/or vary their pace — allow them to stop if necessary for a student or a group of students. 

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

I don’t see real personalized learning occurring until more technologies get involved/integrated into the classrooms out there — things like learner preferences, cloud-based learner profiles, AI and more.

 

A second demographic cliff adds to urgency for change — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
The demographic cliff we have been anticipating since the drop in births with the 2008 recession now has a younger sibling — the COVID-19 cliff is coming with another deep drop in recent births.

Excerpts:

In sum, competition is rapidly growing; the pool of “traditional” students is evaporating; employers are dropping degree requirements; and, with student debt now surpassing $1.7 trillion, we all know that families are looking for more cost-effective paths to the knowledge and skills they seek. “The fundamental business model for delivering education is broken,” said Rick Beyer, a senior fellow and practice area lead for mergers and affiliations at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “The consolidation era started a few years ago. It will continue. We will see more closures.”

What, then, are the bright spots for postsecondary learning?

Online learning tops the list despite some bad press for the hastily put-together remote learning of last year. Adult students, in particular, prefer the flexibility and mobility of online. Enrollment in online programs has continued to increase while overall higher ed enrollments have declined each of the past dozen years.

 

Why Tech Companies View the Job Search As Big Business — from edsurge.com by Ayesha Khan

Excerpt:

A pre-pandemic study shows that more than 4 in 10 college degree holders are underemployed and are likely to remain that way for decades to come. This coupled with the astronomical cost of college and mounting student loan debt raises a need for alternative pathways into America’s workforce. The current college system is not putting all Americans to work.
Jobtech has the potential to be more effective for job seekers by aligning their aspirations more directly with the needs of employers. Unlike higher education institutions, a jobtech company’s profit and survival depend on people getting placed in good jobs.

The success of these businesses hinges on securing opportunities for job seekers. This guarantees customer satisfaction, repeat business, positive margins and a healthy, sustainable business model.

 

 

Faculty and Staff Often Don’t Trust One Another. How Do We Fix That? — from chronicle.com by Jenae Cohn
Three ways to bridge divisions as academe prepares for the post-pandemic era.

Excerpts:

One of the few welcome outcomes of Covid-19, and higher education’s rapid move to remote instruction, is that many faculty members are more aware than ever of who the staff members are and what we do.

As Lee Skallerup Bessette wrote in October, staff members — anyone working on a college campus who is not a professor or an administrator — have been on the front lines during the pandemic: “We are the face that faculty members see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles with the technology they have been asked to use. We are the face that students see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles related to distance learning or on-campus policies and procedures.”

Yet however much academics and administrators have been turning to us for help now, they still rarely involve and entrust staff members with campus decision-making around teaching, curriculum development, and research.

It behooves every college and university to consider what authentic collaboration between the staff and the faculty might look like. How? Here are three concrete steps in that direction.
.
Step 1: Offer incentives for faculty-staff partnerships.
Step 2: Rethink hierarchical traditions.
Step 3: Create shared experiences. 

From DSC:
Although I was an Adjunct Professor for over 5 years and have worked alongside faculty members for 20 years, the majority of my work and efforts have mainly been on the staff side of the house. So I appreciate The Chronicle hosting this article and I thank Jenae for writing it. It’s an important topic.

If traditional institutions of higher education are going to survive, there needs to be much broader governance, a much greater use of teams to create and deliver learning experiences, and a much stronger culture of innovating and experimenting with new ideas. At the end of the day, I think that the following two things will be the deciding factors on whether a particular institution survives, merges, shrinks, or closes its doors altogether:

  • The culture of a particular institution
  • Whether that institution has visionary leadership or not (and not just being data-driven…which comes up short again and again)

Also see:

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian