It's a vexing question: As automation, robots, and AI do more of the work that people used to do, and do it better and safer in many cases, what will people be doing and how should we educate and train people for these new roles?
The Pew Research Center and Elon University address this question in a survey they did that resulted in responses from just over 1400 experts and highly interested individuals, selected because of their familiarity with the internet and its impact on work and education. They were asked what they think will happen to jobs and education over the next 10 years.
Claire Cain Miller, in her analysis of the survey report for the New York Times, concludes:
The logical response seems to be to educate people differently, so they’re prepared to work alongside the robots or do the jobs that machines can’t. But how to do that, and whether training can outpace automation, are open questions…People still need to learn skills, the respondents said, but they will do that continuously over their careers. In school, the most important thing they can learn is how to learn.
The authors of the report reduced the many lengthy responses to five major themes, presented in the summary below.
No doubt, the workplace now and over the next 10 years will require people to be continuous learners and to be more self-directed in what and how they learn. Methods of learning in schools, colleges, and in the workplace will continue to evolve and be more learner-centered. Proof of competency will become more important than evidence of educational completion. Companies will have to assume greater responsibility for employee learning in response to an ever-changing workplace. The danger is that people who can't adapt readily to change, who are not independent learners, or who are not a good fit with the new workplace culture, will be left out in the cold.
[Look for our forthcoming book from ATD titled, Minds at Work: Managing for Success in the Knowledge Economy]