17 October Will Your Child Be Ready for the Digital Age?
By David Doran and Alec Goldman
We’ve known for a while now that tomorrow’s jobs will look markedly different from today’s; according to a McKinsey and Company study, “…60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated.” Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that education will need to be markedly different as well…beginning now. Today’s learners are tomorrow’s workforce, and they need to be ready to adapt to change as it happens. So, what does that look like?
Well, about that “school” thing…
It’s always been a given that working for a tech giant requires a university degree. How else will the likes of Apple and Google determine who will best help them drive future innovation? However, degrees don’t necessarily lead to a culture of innovation, and Apple, Google, and IBM are increasingly acknowledging that by eliminating those university degrees from the hiring criteria for multiple engineering, research, and management positions. And it’s not just tech: Ernst and Young, Bank of America, and Penguin Random House have also moved in this direction.
The trend means businesses have finally acknowledged that many of today’s jobs (let alone tomorrow’s) don’t entirely align with current four-year degrees. As Laszlo Bock, then Google’s SVP of People Operations, said in a New York Times interview, “…G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criterion for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.” As a result, “…the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time…”
For parents concerned about their children’s success in the digital age, this means that the world is, indeed, changing, but traditional education is not transmitting the necessary skills. Secondary education is even further behind universities in focusing on developing 21st Century skills, rather than merely acquiring information.
The as-yet-unknown work requirements of future jobs demand future-focused skills, such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication (aka “The Four Cs”), initiative, and adaptability. Employers know they need to search them out. As Bock said in a later interview, “when you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.” Bock is describing self-directed learners with initiative and a passion for learning.
For these reasons, most of today’s learners are searching for alternatives to supplement their conventional education paths, typically long hours of afterschool tutoring and test prep.
WeLearn has developed an alternative model which focuses on creating life-long, self-directed, deeply passionate learners who go beyond knowledge to thrive in an uncertain future. This can take the form of supplements to traditional education, or transitioning to a full-time, personalized learning path, incorporating The Four Cs, flexibility, grit, and empathy. Come see how we can help your learners not only stand out when applying to the best universities but also possess the skills that will guarantee their success in the digital age.
(David Dwight Doran, Founding Partner and Chairman of regional law firm DFDL, is the Founder of EdTech startup WeLearn, whose mission is to make alternative, future-focused education a viable option. Alec Goldman, WeLearn’s Director of Personalized Learning, has been educating and counseling students in Asia and the U.S. since 1995.)