Learn or Die | Upskilling Is The Future of Education

December 11, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski

Hey everybody! In this video I’m gonna
explain why we aren’t adapting rapidly enough to the current rate of change.
How this is actually an opportunity for you, your family, your company, rather than a
threat. And we’ll finish off with some simple tactics, solutions, projects that
companies and people are using to address this problem. Now we see this daily. An overwhelming
majority of people and companies are still way behind at their
real potential, what I call their technological potential. And why this gap?
Well, simply put: current skills acquisition paths – higher education, self
learning, on-the-job learning… are individually very rarely adapted to the
new pace of change. To add to this, skills that you have are decaying more rapidly
than they ever have before. What you learned a year ago might not only have
evolved, it might actually not even be relevant at all. Devices that people use are always shifting. Our understanding of the brain
gets monthly break-throughs. Channels to attract customers to
products decay over time. Machine learning platforms and
languages gain and lose in popularity. New tooling is constantly available. So where do you start? How do you keep up? It’s really
difficult. And what’s the solution to keep up? Higher education? Self-learning
online? On-the-job training? Now I want to run through these one by one
and show you why individually they’re just not enough anymore. Higher education just can’t keep up. At least not the way it’s being done at the
moment. Although they’re making an effort to adapt, universities tend to be
extremely slow. Many take two to three years to update their curriculum.
Researchers also agree that what’s taught in universities is rarely
applicable to the professional world. I mean think about it,
economics courses are making you carry out math proofs – why would you need to do
so many math proofs? Marketing courses teach you a romantic version
of what marketing used to look like, Completely disengaged from reality.
And the argument that universities allow you to develop some sort of critical thinking has
actually been debunked and is quite wrong. Most of the time you’re just
repeating what you’ve learned. Clayton Christensen even predicts that half of
the universities within the USA will be bankrupt within ten to fifteen years. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to university
or you shouldn’t go to college. You actually should from an economic point of view.
Because apart from a very small number of exceptions that are sort of
trendsetters, like Google, IBM, Apple, us at Growth Tribe… the majority of employers
still regard college or university degrees as a must-have. So higher
education does make sense financially, but it won’t fix your growing skills gap.
So what is the solution? It’s online self-learning, right?
Well, it’s actually not that easy. There’s too much choice
and not enough self control. How many online courses
have you actually signed up to? 2, 5, 10, 100? How many have you actually
completed? If it’s many, then you’re actually an exception, as massive online
courses have an average completion rate of anywhere between 5 to 20 percent. And
that’s really low. Where do you find them? Was that actually what you should be
learning? Which of the hundred that you signed up to is actually the most
important start learning right now? As Seth Godin puts it, “the Internet is the
greatest self-teaching resource ever developed. But few take advantage of
it, because it doesn’t come with a motor”. Lack of tests, curation, limited
certificates, and essentially there’s no cruise control. And even though courses
tend to be free or cheap, that actually has the adverse effect of what it
wants to achieve. The more you sign up to, the less you’ll end up actually
completing. What to start with, what’s the right order? And while I’m doing this
course I get FOMO – is that other course actually more important to be doing
right now? I’ll put it very simply, online courses
lack curation. Where do you start? What do you include in your menu?
What’s essential for you? Just do a quick search on Udacity – there’s
an endless list to choose from. So as much as we love online courses,
they’re not the perfect solution. So what is the perfect solution? Is it on-the-job learning? Learning while you work?
Learning by doing is probably the most effective way to learn. You don’t
become a kung-fu master by watching Bruce Lee movies you actually have to
practice. However, there is a catch. It’s actually not that simple to get the
right job where you’re gonna learn the right skills. Research from the European
Commission has highlighted an impossible situation where if you don’t already
have the skill, you won’t get the job that allows you to learn the skill. And
once you acquire that position you also need to be a little bit lucky to enter a
company that has the skills internally. Where people are willing to train a
newbie in an environment where your day-to-day tasks also leave time for
training. Blockchain developers, innovation experts, junior data scientists,
junior marketeers need to have the chance in working for a company
already implementing these skills at a high level. Not only that, but the larger
the organisation the more specialised everyone will be, leaving less and less
room for you to wear multiple hats and try yourself at different skills. Now the greatest companies allow their employees to evolve through a horizontal set of
tasks. These opportunities are actually still very rare. They tend to be limited
to larger organisations who have adopted a multidisciplinary based approach or to
startups and scallops where you have to wear many hats. I actually believe small,
medium, and large organisations should be the first ones to tackle this issue.
So I’m actually purposely not going to go into the details of how I think
primary, secondary, and university education should have changed. There’s smarter
people out there working on this where tests are currently running. Have a look
at project-based learning in Finland, for example. What Wonder School is doing in
the USA or what Cartesius School is doing in Amsterdam. I will, however,
address the larger elephant in the room. Now SMEs and corporates employ millions
of people. A large majority of whom received their skills and education
training in a different time. Hiring large armies of new talent for them is
simply not a solution. It’s too slow, it’s too expensive and in most cases the
company just isn’t attractive enough to, as they say, hire “only the best”.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the best just don’t want to work for you.
A recent survey shows that 39% of large company executives said they were either
barely able or unable to find the talent their firms required. And not just
developers. The only viable solution is to retrain current employees while
scaling a culture of necessary lifelong learning. Now far from being a simple HR
issue, this huge talent overhaul has enormous implications. So what’s the good
news? Where’s the opportunity? And what are some companies
and people doing to address this? The optimal solution is actually
really simple to design on paper, and we’re actually carrying it out
at Growth Tribe. It’s a balanced mix of
curated guided education, horizontal job experience and online self-learning.
Solutions that mix some of these are starting to pop up. LinkedIn has launched
an internal A.I. Academy to help employees across the company understand
how to incorporate artificial intelligence into their everyday work.
This academy also includes training on how to approach AI ethically. Skyscanner has launched an internal growth
hacking ninja certification program to upskill their marketeers and engineers. It’s a course that’s been developed in-house by
subject matter experts across 32 different topics regarding marketing,
programming, data analysis, to build an army of what we call T-Shaped Players.
And more legacy organisations like AT&T have spent up to 250 million on employee
training and personal development programs, not to forget 30 million on
tuition assistance annually. The impact is very simple to measure. From January
to May 2016 trained employees filled 50% of all technology management jobs at
AT&T. And those same people received 47% of internal promotions. Let’s look at
Booking.com who allows anyone in the company to have unlimited access to
Udemy, Lynda, Blinkist, Globesmart, Coursera, EDX and OpenLearn. Airbnb is running its
own internal university to teach data science. They work with leadership across
the company to set data literacy expectations and they found ways to
measure success of this internal academy. And look at us at Growth Tribe. We’ve
launched a Growth & AI six-month Traineeship where companies can hire
fresh talent or bring in their own talent, and where we give them a mix of
curated online learning, in-person teaching and coaching, and on-the-job
projects, placing students into tech companies so that they can learn on the
job. Fast-growing companies at the forefront like The Student Hotel or HelloPrint
are joining this program because they understand that adding these tool
sets to the brain of their people will help them to grow faster than the
competition. We’ve also started building internal academies for companies so that
they can internalise this skills training. So now look at yourself. Is this
notion of internal skills learning at the board of your company right now?
Have you adopted this growth mindset of lifelong learning? What is your company
doing? What are your training budgets? And essentially what should you be learning next?