A new report by Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Pearson that explores the changing world of work and provides recommendations for shifting from the traditional route to employment to a network of pathways that is flexible, dynamic, and ultimately serves more learners.
Released at the Horizons conference in June, Demand-Driven Education: Merging work and learning to develop the human skills that matter looks at what is required for transitioning to the third wave in postsecondary education reform – demand driven education.
The first wave – access – was focused on getting more people to enter higher education. The second wave was focused on improving achievement – getting more students to earn degrees and certificates.
In this third wave, the worlds of education and work will converge producing programs that ensure students are job-ready and primed for lifelong career success.
Adapting to the needs of both the learner and the employer, “demand-driven education takes account of the emerging global economy — technology-infused, gig-oriented, industry-driven — while also striving to ensure that new graduates and lifelong learners alike have the skills required to flourish.”
The report states, “as the future of work unfolds, what makes us human is what will make us employable.”
While technological literacy is critical, learners need educational experiences that cultivate skills, including fluency of ideas, originality, judgment, decision-making, and active learning, all supported by collaborative academic and career paths.
The report showcases promising practices from the US and UK to suggest a forward-looking agenda for education and training, moving from uncertainty to the economic advancement of all learners. Some of the strategies profiled include:
- competency-based education, which allows learners to show what they know as soon as they know it and move quickly to the next level;
- employer and industry-led models, which radically lower the opportunity costs of education by providing further training on the job;
- the latest labor market intelligence tools and techniques, which provide educators with powerful insights into the changing skills marketplace;
- dynamic and work-based pedagogy, to instill the critical skills needed for the future of work; and
- new pathways and business models that support access and completion for learners at any point in their career and at virtually any income level.
In a recent interview, Joe Deegan, co-author of the report and senior program manager at JFF, said, “although technology such as digital assessment might enable educators to make programs faster and more adaptive, the most significant change is one of mindset.”