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Future & Skills Learning

Institute for the Future on the skills needed

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) updated its respected Future Work Skills 2020 report to include literature reviews of all the relevant studies. They highlight six key drivers of change and 10 related skill sets individuals need. The report is about America but the drivers apply to England as well. It is well worth reading, going far beyond the oft quoted need for creativity for “jobs we don’t know exist yet”. Instead it breaks down and analyses the trends which will become increasingly important, and which a system of education must take into account.

The six drivers of change

Extreme longevity: Increasing global lifespans change the nature of careers and learning
Rise of smart machines and systems: Workplace automation nudges human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks
Computational world: Massive increases in sensors and processing power make the world a programmable system
New media ecology: New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text
Superstructed organizations: Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation
Globally connected world: Increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the center of organizational operations

Ten skills for the future workforce

Sense-making: Ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
Social intelligence: Ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
Novel & adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
Cross-cultural competency: Ability to operate in different cultural settings
Computational thinking: Ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
New-media literacy: Ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
Transdisciplinarity: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
Design mindset: Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
Cognitive load management: Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
Virtual collaboration: Ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

Read the report: Future Work Skills 2020

Institute for the Future – Future Skills

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