Imagine having the world at your fingertips. It’s actually not that hard to fathom since we’re currently living in a world that allows us to consume information, music, movies, and even personal relationships at a rapid rate. Anything we need to know is only a Google search away, and we’re no longer at the mercy of outdated encyclopedias. This advancement is great for the transfer of new ideas, but is it great for learning?
Generation Z has come of age in the digital era. The internet and home computers were the norms. But what about Millennials and Gen X? The generation who grew up with Blockbuster instead of Netflix, libraries instead of Amazon and CDs instead of Spotify learned in a much more laborious way. With the future of work shifting to knowledge-based roles (such as software engineers, marketers, accountants), the need to evolve as quickly as technology evolves is the difference between advancement and becoming obsolete.
Learning is no exception. The shift in expecting everything at our fingertips is great for acquiring new knowledge and skills because it means that if there’s a knowledge-gap, instead of it taking months or even years to fill, it can be filled in weeks or sometimes even days. Companies like Coursera, Udemy, and EdX offer free and paid courses that allow learners to find an educational path that works for their schedule, and then guides them through a training pathway. These new, on-demand skills can be used to find a new job or to enhance an existing skill-set.
Streaming culture has turned modern society into an on-demand society, and knowledge and skills are no exception. Learning new skills, and then ultimately having verified proof of those skills, is where the future of work is now and certainly where it will be in the foreseeable future. Digital credentials allow the learner of new skills to own proof of that learning, as well as provide a potential (or existing) employer verified proof that someone knows how to do what they said they can do. It’s a win-win for learning, and it’s a win-win for the advancement of knowledge.
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