Continuing vocational training in transition – courageous concepts of learning for a new working world

Immediate dialogue with policy makers on the state of continuous vocational training in the age of digital transformation

Why is there a need for courageous concepts of learning in the age of digital transformation, in order to ensure peoples’ employability in the future? It was this question that I was able to pursue as part of a parliamentary evening held by the Wuppertaler Kreis at the Deutsche Parlamentarische Gesellschaft in Berlin on the fifth of June 2019. It was very gratifying that, in addition to other experts from numerous educational companies, a large number of politicians also took part in this exchange. This underlines the relevancy of continuing training in the digital age.

What were the main points of my statement?

  • The working world is changing ever more noticeably and in ever shorter cycles.
  • Changes mostly do not occur neither simultaneously nor linearly.
  • Exponential technologies have an increasing impact on everyday work life.
  • Despite or also because of Big Data, the future and thereby also future (professional) requirements become more and more unpredictable.

The employability of people relies essentially on their job-relevant knowledge, their skills and abilities, as well as their willingness to constantly continue learning. But future requirements become progressively incalculable. Learners need to repeatedly strive for new learning goals, without knowing whether these learning goals even fulfill the forthcoming requirements.

This has the consequences that

  • learners and education providers in many fields have to ‘drive by sight’,
  • learning just-in-time moves, or rather has to move more and more into the spotlight,
  • it is more important than ever to learn permanently throughout your life,
  • individualised learning becomes necessary, even though it is not sufficient,
  • learners need to take self-responsibility for their learning process, which requires a high capacity and readiness to learn for all who want to participate in the labour market today as well as in the future,
  • it ultimately takes the educator’s courage to offer specific learning contents and formats of learning, just as it takes the learner’s courage to choose specific learning contents.

In summary, the state of things can be described as follows:

  • Never before has the link between employability and the need for lifelong learning been more evident than today.
  • Never before has the question of future learning needs been more difficult to answer than today.
  • Never before have learners been offered a greater variety of learning opportunities – especially because of the (new) didactic and methodological approaches driven by digitisation.

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Continuing vocational training in transition – courageous concepts of learning for a new working world

Peter Littig
About The Author
- Dr. Peter Littig, born 1948, is a mathematician, physicist and educational scientist. He used to teach at public and private schools and has been working in adult education since 1984. He was trainer, consultant and head of department at Control Data Institut. From 1995 on, he was head of education at DEKRA Akademie GmbH. He is now retired, but still serves as advisor on educational policy to the board of directors.He has published numerous papers and books on further education, human resource development and digitization in learning and training.

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