lifelong learning and employability

There are two objects taken as an exasperating and unavoidable duty by the vast majority of people outside my bubble: to study and to job. Therefore and amongst others, two vital and increasing societal movements alarm this vast majority: the so-called „lifelong learning“ and „to job up to your seventies“. The liquidation of former accepted age limits causes deep uncertainty.

And this is the first dilemma, focused by a saying that sails through the web for months now: „Those who require us to work until we’re seventy are the same who refuse giving us a job after we passed our fiftieth birthday.“

But there’s also a second dilemma: to stay connected to the job market, I have to seamless participate in further education – although nobody can anticipate, in which direction this market will move.

The Next Dilemma

Therefore „lifelong learning“ should empower me to handle unpredictability, to deal with the unprojectable. Instead, the supersaturated market of further education acts as if the massive change in education and work wouldn’t take place. Looking at the overwhelming range of further education options offered in Switzerland & Germany, I discover courses and seminars, taylored for jobs and functions – and also for „life scripts“ and societal ideas - that will fade away in the next five to ten years. Moreover, education still uses methods, that ignore the Digital Transformation as an all-embracing alteration of „living and working“ – as if we still lived in the good old classroom era, where fault-finders, dressed up as teachers, vaporize students with data.

That brings up another Dilemma: On the one hand, it’s forbidden to stop learning. I have to go on. But on the other hand the results of my edu-struggle do not empower me to meet the expectations of future job markets, to give the right answers to „VUCA“: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, to act appropriate and successful in different societal and professional contexts, to converse by the different tongues of interbranch codes, to use and to configure digitalized environments, to be able to act collaborative all over the place.

Learning in fact is urgent. But most people are sick to death of studying, because they remember this as a matter of boring and fruitless indoctrination without remarkable benefit except coming to an end. That’s one of the most influential parameters, why the promise of lifelong learning for most people sounds moore like an inevitable threat, not like an overture to increasing quality of life.

Therefore I insist on the necessity of an alternative „education design“ in school, university and in further education: of totally different trained and different acting teachers, lecturers, tutors, coaches, surrounded and supported by different architectures and landscapes of learning & teaching infrastructure, of versatile opportunities for „social workplace learning“.

It’s time.