Uncertainty is an overarching theme of our age. Being a species with an innate fear of the unknown this presents us with substantial challenges. Rather than becoming more and more anxious about what we don’t know, it can be useful to focus on certainties, what we do know.

An insight by Chris Fraser, Me Learning’s Research and Development Lead.

To be prepared for a future where narratives of the past no longer apply in the same way (e.g. the idea of a career for life), people are going to need to be highly adaptable. The way to achieve this is by taking a long-term approach to developing essential ‘meta-skills’ – critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. These enable us to adapt so we can pick up (and put down) narrower skills with more limited shelf-lives as and when needed.

This takes somewhat of a shift in the way we think about learning. Added to this, the learning landscape has changed. The quantity of information we encounter is only going to continue increasing and as such we need to hone our critical abilities to distinguish what has value from what doesn’t – what is true and what isn’t. We need to better learn how to learn.

To achieve this the focus should be more on projects, experiences and challenges, where mistakes can be made and learned from. This is in contrast to anxiety-based models of learning where huge quantities of content need to be memorised and failing an exam has devastating consequences – this is ineffective and increasingly irrelevant.

Traditional higher education has become inaccessible to many but with more and more leading companies dropping the requirement to hold a degree [1] , we could be looking at a more inclusive future where people are rewarded for following their interests and rather than being something we do at designated times in specialised places, learning is seen as being truly continual.

[1] https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/no-degree-required/

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