Learning. All. The. Time.

So, the “2017 Predictions” posts are starting to flow, and while I’m certainly interested in the education prognostications, I’m more interested in what people are saying outside of our field. (I’m somewhat pessimistic that anything will significantly shift in edu next year, especially in terms of our penchant for trying to do “the wrong thing right.”) To that end, I came across an interesting Deloitte paper that makes a number of interesting forecasts. I’m just going to pull a few out, but the whole report is pretty interesting reading if you have the time. Remember, these are for business, but they’re for us as well.

Prediction #1: “Organizational Design Will be Challenged Everywhere”

Key quote: “Today, the key to organizational success is not “scalable efficiency,” but “scalable learning.” You, as an organization, must be able to experiment, put prototype products in front of customers, rapidly learn from your competitors, and stay ahead of your marketplace, industry, and technology trends. This means your whole organization has to focus on customercentric learning, experimentation, and time to market.”

Thought: That sound like schools and classrooms to you? Innovation in schools does not tend to be driven by “scalable learning” but by usually isolated, courageous edge runners who aren’t waiting for the system to catch up. And imagine if the entire system really focused on the way students really learn best, “studentcentric” learning if you will. That would be doing the “right thing.” I doubt many school organizations will be “challenged” any time soon.

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Prediction #2: “Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities”

Key Quote: “Culture creates innovation. When a company has a clearly defined culture (whatever that may be), it offers employees a sense of security and freedom — they know what to expect…In other words, today’s organizations cannot succeed in silos — so people who “fit the culture” and feel comfortable communicating throughout the company also tend to be most effective as individuals. Such a transparent and open environment can only happen when people feel authentic, included, and respected. All of these qualities come from a strong, reinforced, and well-documented culture.”

Thought: I’m becoming more and more fascinated by the ways in which culture is absolutely integral to relevant, sustainable change in schools. A lot of my work in 2017 will be around this question, but if you’re in a school environment that isn’t “transparent and open” and where people don’t feel “authentic, included, and respected,” well, good luck with changing anything for the long term.

Prediction #10: “The Learning and Design Function Will Continue to Struggle

Key Quote: “But what has really changed for 2017 is the fact that today L&D should embrace “self-directed learning” and truly build a “learning experience” that helps individuals at all levels to learn all of the time… ‘Digital organizations’ are learning all the time. This means people are trying things, discussing mistakes, and learning on the job.”

Thought: Please let me know if that sounds like what students in your school are being prepared for. Please.

Prediction #11: “The Future of Work is Here”

Key Quote: “The essential issue we face in 2017 is the rapid commoditization of AI technology (speech recognition, natural language processing, sensors, and robotics) and the impact that could have on almost every job… New tools are becoming commonplace; they are entering the workforce at a time when jobs themselves are becoming more dynamic, more than 40 percent of workers are contingent and the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has increased. So we, as HR leaders, are in the hot seat to figure out what all of this means.”

Thought: Actually, we in K-12 education are on the hot seat as well. And if you haven’t already figured it out, no amount of flipped classrooms, maker spaces, “personalized” learning, Chromebooks, or “college and career”/”future” readiness is going to make any difference if we don’t step back and do a fundamental rethink of our work.

The workplace is transforming, and I don’t use that word lightly. But in education, we’re still happy to just adopt and trumpet “innovations” that at the end of the day change little because we haven’t been brave enough to do what we all know is best for powerful and deep learning (not schooling) to take place in classrooms, and because we’re loathe to keep up with and embrace the difficult new contexts of life and work that our kids are facing.

So here’s a prediction for 2017: Only those who truly feel the discomfort and challenge of these times will lead meaningful change in their schools and classrooms. Unfortunately, my sense is that too few will have the courage, the capacity, and the conviction to do that work.

(Image credit: Brian Gaid)


Originally published at Will Richardson.com.

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