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The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change

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The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change

Abstract and Figures

This report aims to identify, understand and visualise major changes to learning in the future. It developed a descriptive vision of the future, based on existing trends and drivers, and a normative vision outlining how future learning opportunities should be developed to contribute to social cohesion, socio-economic inclusion and economic growth. The overall vision is that personalisation, collaboration and informalisation (informal learning) are at the core of learning in the future. These terms are not new in education and training but will have to become the central guiding principle for organising learning and teaching in the future. The central learning paradigm is thereby characterised by lifelong and life-wide learning, shaped by the ubiquity of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). At the same time, due to fast advances in technology and structural changes to European labour markets that are related to demographic change, globalisation and immigration, generic and transversal skills become more important, which support citizens in becoming lifelong learners who flexibly respond to change, are able to pro-actively develop their competences and thrive in collaborative learning and working environments. Many of the changes depicted have been foreseen for some time but they now come together in such a way that is becomes urgent and pressing for policymakers to consider them and to propose and implement a fundamental shift in the learning paradigm for the 21st century digital world and economy. To reach the goals of personalised, collaborative and informalised learning, holistic changes need to be made (curricula, pedagogies, assessment, leadership, teacher training, etc.) and mechanisms need to be put in place which make flexible and targeted lifelong learning a reality and support the recognition of informally acquired skills.
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The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
LF-NA-24960-EN-N
ISBN 978-92-79-21472-1
The Future of Learning:
Preparing for Change
EUR 24960 EN - 2011
9 789279 214721
Authors: Christine Redecker, Miriam Leis, Matthijs Leendertse,
Yves Punie, Govert Gijsbers, Paul Kirschner, Slavi Stoyanov
and Bert Hoogveld
The Future of Learning:
Preparing for Change
Authors:
Christine Redecker, Miriam Leis,
Matthijs Leendertse, Yves Punie, Govert Gijsbers,
Paul Kirschner, Slavi Stoyanov and Bert Hoogveld
2011
EUR 24960 EN
European Commission
Joint Research Centre
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
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JRC 66836
EUR 24960 EN
ISBN: 978-92-79-21472-1 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-92-79-21471-4 (print)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
doi:10.2791/64117
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© European Union, 2011
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Printed in Spain
The mission of the JRC-IPTS is to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making process by
developing science-based responses to policy challenges that have both a socio-economic as well as a
scientific/technological dimension.
3
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Table of contents
Executive Summary 9
Context and objectives of the study 9
The future of learning 9
Six major challenges for the future of learning 10
A vision for the future of initial Education and Training. 11
A vision for the future of lifelong learning 13
Policy implications 14
1 Introduction 15
1.1 Policy Background 15
1.2 Methodology 16
1.3 Outline of this Report 21
Part I. Envisaging the Future 23
2 Trends and Drivers 23
2.1 Demographic Trends: Ageing and De-greening 23
2.2 Globalisation 25
2.3 Immigration 25
2.4 Labour Market Trends 26
2.5 The Impact of Technology on Education and Training 27
2.6 Implications for the Future of Education and Training 29
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning 31
3.1 Brainstorming the Future of Learning 31
3.2 Group Concept Mapping Exercise 39
3.3 The Role of ICT for Future Learning Strategies 42
3.4 Key Insights: a Descriptive Vision of Future Learning 44
Part II. Challenges and Policy Options 47
4 Initial Education and Training 47
4.1 Introduction 47
4.2 Challenge 1: Multicultural Integration 48
4.3 Challenge 2: Early School Learning 52
4.4 Challenge 3: Fostering Talent 56
4.5 A Normative Vision of the Future of Initial E&T 61
4
Table of contents
5 Gaining and Retaining Employment 63
5.1 Introduction 63
5.2 Challenge 4: Transition from school to work 64
5.3 Challenge 5: Re-entering the Labour Market 67
5.4 Challenge 6: Re-skilling 71
5.5 Normative Vision for Future Lifelong Learning Strategies 75
6 Conclusions and Policy Implications 77
6.1 A Vision of the Future of Learning 77
6.2 Priority Areas 77
6.3 The Role of ICT 81
6.4 In Conclusion 81
7 References and Resources 83
7.1 Primary Data 83
7.2 Desk Research 83
5
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Acknowledgements
This report could not have been written without the input of the people who contributed to this study
in the different consultation events and exercises. We would therefore like to thank all stakeholders who
participated in the online consultations, the different workshop events and the GCM focus group for their
valuable contributions.
We would also like to thank our collaborators at Atticmedia for the beautiful visualisations and our
colleagues Lieve van den Brande (DG EAC) and Clara Centeno (DG JRC IPTS) for their valuable comments
and feedback, both in shaping the project and in revising its results. We are, as always, most indebted to
Patricia Farrer who edited and proofread successive versions of this report to prepare it for publication.
However, as ever, the views and conclusions expressed in the report, together with any errors or
omissions, are the responsibility of the authors.
7
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Preface
The Europe 2020 strategy acknowledges that a fundamental transformation of education and training
is needed to address the new skills and competences required if Europe is to remain competitive, overcome
the current economic crisis and grasp new opportunities. The strategic framework for European cooperation
in education and training (‘ET 2020’) recognizes that education and training have a crucial role to play
in meeting the many socio-economic, demographic, environmental and technological challenges facing
Europe and its citizens today and in the years ahead. However, to determine how education and training
policy can adequately prepare learners for life in the future society, there is a need to envisage what
competences will be relevant and how these will be acquired in 2020-2030.
To contribute to this vision-building process, JRC-IPTS on behalf of DG Education and Culture
launched a foresight study on “The Future of Learning: New Ways to Learn New Skills for Future Jobs”,
in 2009. This study continues and extends IPTS work done in 2006-2008 on “Future Learning Spaces”
(Punie et al., 2006, Punie & Ala-Mutka, 2007, Miller et al., 2008). It is made up of different vision
building exercises, involving different stakeholder groups ranging from policy makers, and scientists to
educators and learners. The majority of these stakeholder consultations were implemented on behalf of by
a consortium led by TNO of the Netherlands with partners at the Open University of the Netherlands and
Atticmedia, UK.
The detailed results of these stakeholder discussions have been published in dedicated reports (cf.
Ala-Mutka et al., 2010; Stoyanov et al., 2010; Redecker et al., 2010a).
This report synthesizes and discusses the insights collected. It identifies key factors for change that
emerge at the interface of the visions painted by different stakeholder groups and arranges them into a
descriptive vision of the future of learning in 2020-2030. In a second step, the report discusses future
solutions to pending challenges for European Education and Training systems and outlines policy options.
Based on the descriptive vision presented in the first part, a normative vision is developed of an ideal
learning future, in which all citizens are enabled to develop their talents to the best and to foster their own
wellbeing and prosperity as well as that of the society they live in as active citizens. Strategies fostering
such a vision and the policy implications supporting it are presented and discussed.
This final report and intermediate deliverables are available at the project website,
http://is.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages/EAP/ForCiel.html
The site also contains links to multimedia visualisations of the main issues raised in this report.
9
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Executive Summary
Context and objectives of the study
To determine how education and training
policy can adequately prepare learners for life
in the future society, there is a need to envisage
which competences will be relevant and
how these will be acquired in 2020-2030. To
contribute to this vision-building, JRC-IPTS on
behalf of DG Education and Culture launched a
foresight study on “The Future of Learning: New
Ways to learn New Skills for Future Jobs” (http://
is.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages /EAP/ForCiel.html). This
study aims to identify, understand and map how
learning strategies and trajectories are expected
to change, given current trends, thus creating a
descriptive vision of the future, and to develop a
normative vision outlining how future learning
opportunities should be developed to contribute
to social cohesion, socio-economic inclusion
and economic growth. These two objectives were
implemented by a series of extensive stakeholder
consultations, employing different formats
(workshops; online consultations; group concept
mapping) and including different stakeholder
groups (experts and practitioners; teachers;
policy makers) as well as a review of studies and
foresight activities.
The future of learning
The overall vision is that personalisation,
collaboration and informalisation (informal
learning) will be at the core of learning in the
Figure 1: Conceptual map of the future of learning
10
Executive Summary
future. These terms are not new in education and
training but they will become the central guiding
principle for organising learning and teaching. The
central learning paradigm is thus characterised
by lifelong and life-wide learning and shaped by
the ubiquity of Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT). At the same time, due to fast
advances in technology and structural changes to
European labour markets related to demographic
change, globalisation and immigration, generic
and transversal skills are becoming more
important. These skills should help citizens to
become lifelong learners who flexibly respond
to change, are able to pro-actively develop their
competences and thrive in collaborative learning
and working environments.
New skills. The increased pace of change will
bring new skills and competences to the fore, in
particular generic, transversal and cross-cutting
skills, which will enable citizens to flexibly and pro-
actively respond to change and to seize and benefit
from lifelong learning opportunities. Problem-
solving, reflection, creativity, critical thinking,
learning to learn, risk-taking, collaboration, and
entrepreneurship will become key competences
for a successful life in the European society of the
future. While mathematical, verbal, scientific and
digital literacy will remain key building blocks for
successful participation in society, it will become
increasingly important for citizens to have a better
understanding and awareness of the natural and
social environment in which they live, which will
lead to a new focus on nature and health on the
one hand, and on civic competences on the other.
New learning patterns. With the emergence
of lifelong and life-wide learning as the central
learning paradigm for the future, learning strategies
and pedagogical approaches will undergo drastic
changes. With the evolution of ICT, personalised
learning and individual mentoring will become
a reality and teachers/trainers will need to be
trained to exploit the available resources and tools
to support tailor-made learning pathways and
experiences which are motivating and engaging,
but also efficient, relevant and challenging. Along
with changing pedagogies, assessment strategies
and curricula will need to change, and, most
importantly, traditional E&T institutions schools
and universities, vocational and adult training
providers – will need to reposition themselves in
the emerging learning landscape. They will need
to experiment with new formats and strategies for
learning and teaching to be able to offer relevant,
effective and high quality learning experiences in
the future. In particular, they will need to respond
more flexibly to individual learners’ needs and
changing labour market requirements.
Six major challenges for the future of
learning
This study has identified the following
major challenges for the future of learning. Initial
Education and Training institutions have to deal
with:
- multicultural integration to address
immigration and demographic change;
- reducing early school leaving to combat
unemployment and to promote a better
educated workforce for competitiveness
and economic growth;
- fostering talent to develop a ‘smart’
economy based on knowledge and
innovation and to let people develop
themselves as reflective and responsible
persons.
The challenges for lifelong learning are also
three-fold:
- promoting a rapid and more fluent
transition from school to work in order
to reduce the barriers between the
worlds of work and education;
- facilitating re-entrance to the labour
market, especially to tackle long-term
unemployment; and
- focussing on permanent re-skilling
to enable all citizens to keep their
competences updated and quickly
respond and adjust to possibly fast
changing work environments.
11
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
To better understand and discuss these
six challenges, a number of “persona” were
developed, which illustrate the key issues
involved for future learning strategies (Figure 2).
Various online and face-to-face stakeholder
consultations on viable future learning strategies
for the different persona were conducted,
independently of the descriptive vision
development. Expert opinion underlines and
confirms that in 15 years’ time learning strategies
will be personalised, tailor-made and targeted;
collaborative and networked; and informal and
flexible. For initial Education and Training (E&T)
this will signify a move towards learner-centred
and social learning strategies that are integrated
in their daily lives and into society. For continuing
professional development and learning strategies
for re-skilling and up-skilling, there is a trend
towards shorter-term, targeted and flexible
learning modules; to tapping the tacit knowledge
of a team and supporting intergenerational
learning and towards mechanisms that better
support the validation and recognition of
informally acquired skills.
A vision for the future of initial
Education and Training.
Initial Education and Training will need to
react more effectively and promptly to changing
job requirements and societal trends. They will
need to better address and narrow the current
gap between the world of education and the
world of work. In the future, learner-centred,
decentralised, and tailor-made learning strategies
will prevail, which will (need to) be accompanied
by corresponding pedagogies and teaching
strategies as well as flexible curricula, modified
assessment and validation mechanisms and
closer collaboration with other societal players,
including tertiary education providers and
prospective future employers.
Personalisation in initial E&T. The key for
unlocking the future of learning will be the
promotion of personalised learning plans and
tailor-made learning activities. Personalised
learning will facilitate the social and cultural
integration of migrant children and help them
to overcome language barriers; it will enable
teachers to detect students at risk of dropping out,
help them to diagnose the problems and learning
needs and to offer re-engagement strategies; and
Figure 2: Persona development
12
Executive Summary
it will help develop talent and foster excellence
by providing more engaging and challenging
learning opportunities. A mix of different
technologies will support personalisation, by
allowing for a diversity of learning activities, tools
and materials; by providing tools which support
continuous monitoring and support diagnostic,
formative and summative assessment strategies;
by making educational resources openly
available; by allowing for the implementation
of collaborative projects; by offering learning
opportunities that are motivating, engaging and
even playful; and by supporting multilingual
environments.
Collaboration in initial E&T. E&T institutions
need to re-connect with society to better align
learning objectives and societal needs. In the
future, European societies will be more inter-
cultural and flexible. Young people need advice
and guidance to come to terms with the increasing
rate of change and find their way in a complex
world. Schools must offer them the orientation
they need and promote mutual understanding
and active citizenship, in direct interaction with
society. Thus, collaboration not only within
the classroom, as it is (or should be) practiced
today, but with the community at large, and with
people from other social, cultural or age groups,
will become increasingly important to enable
younger learners to come to terms with life in
an increasingly diverse and uncertain world.
Virtual study exchange programmes, internet-
based intercultural exchange projects, online
massive multiplayer games, simulations and
other internet-based services can assist schools in
allowing learners to experience, understand and
reflect upon societal developments in a safe and
protected environment.
Informalisation of initial E&T. In the past,
one of the major roles of schools was to make
Figure 3: Overview of future Lifelong Learning strategies
13
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
knowledge accessible to all citizens. Today
information has become a commodity that
is available anytime and anywhere. Thus, the
future role of schools will be to guide students
in identifying and selecting the learning
opportunities that best fit their learning styles
and objectives; to monitor progress, realign
learning objectives and choices and intervene
when difficulties arise; and to implement viable
assessment, certification and accreditation
mechanisms. Schools will become learning hubs
which offer guidance and support for learner-
centred learning pathways, tailored to individual
learning needs, paces, modes and preferences.
Achieving this requires flexible curricula;
teachers who are trained to effectively guide
and coach students in their learning endeavours;
competence-based assessment strategies that are
to a certain extent independent of the concrete
learning content; and certification mechanisms
that allow alternative learning experiences to be
integrated into school education.
A vision for the future of lifelong
learning
In the future, people are likely to change
their professions more frequently throughout
their life and they are remaining longer within
the workforce due to demographic changes and
higher life expectancy. According to experts, it
will be common for all citizens whether they
are at the beginning or end of their careers,
whether they are highly skilled or do not have any
relevant qualifications to continuously update
their skills. Professional careers will become
more flexible and dynamic and all citizens, no
matter how highly qualified, will need to pro-
actively design and promote their careers by
seizing relevant training opportunities. ICT will
play an important role in facilitating lifelong
learning opportunities, as, in the future, a range
of sophisticated and adaptive learning tools and
programmes will be available which will make it
easy for people to upgrade their skills and drive
their professional careers.
Personalisation. Due to increased labour
market dynamics, people will have to assume
responsibility for their qualifications and take
initiative in developing their professional careers.
However, to improve the match of skill supply and
demand and to make training targeted, effective
and efficient, industry will also need to get more
involved in shaping training and encouraging
workers to participate in lifelong learning. In
the interests of both employers and (prospective)
employees, training opportunities will become
targeted and tailor-made. Technological advances
will allow people to effectively and efficiently (re-)
qualify for jobs of their choosing, by identifying
and addressing their particular training needs
and offering learning strategies that are tailored
to their level of competence, their (future) job
requirements, their time constraints, and their
learning styles and objectives, thus making
effective and efficient lifelong learning far easier
than it is today.
Collaboration. Professional relationships
will increasingly be characterised by an open
knowledge exchange, not only between
colleagues and peers with similar professional
profiles and learning needs, but also
between older and younger, experienced and
inexperienced workers. To enable citizens to
quickly and effectively upgrade their professional
and practical skills, ICT-based peer learning
networks and communities, which allow workers
to mutually benefit from each others’ specific
knowledge and experiences, will become an
important tool for lifelong learning. Furthermore,
intergenerational learning will facilitate continuing
professional development, as it allows younger
workers to tap the tacit knowledge of more senior
workers whose professional experiences will
become better recognised as a valuable source of
knowledge in a fast-changing work environment,
while, at the same time, allowing more senior
workers to continuously update themselves on the
fresh knowledge younger people bring into the
workplace. ICT supports these developments by
providing environments that scaffold, document
and archive this learning process and thus convert
14
Executive Summary
knowledge exchange into an accessible learning
resource that is available anywhere and anytime.
Informalisation. In 2025, it is expected that
there will be abundant learning opportunities
that assist people in converting professional
experiences and personal skills into competences
that are relevant for (new) job profiles. However,
not all of these training opportunities will
lead to formally recognised qualifications.
Similarly, professional experiences acquired
in previous jobs will give rise to a number of
diverse competences that are seldom officially
acknowledged or recognised. Thus, the experts
repeatedly and almost unanimously underline that
in view of increasing labour market dynamics,
informally acquired skills need to become better
recognised and mechanisms will have to be
put in place that allow people to obtain formal
recognition for their experiences and skills. ICT
can support the documentation and validation
for informally acquired skills. However,
accreditation frameworks and mechanisms need
to be developed to make individuals’ learning
portfolios relevant and valuable for their career
development.
Policy implications
The visions presented in this report are not
necessarily new or radical. Many of the changes
depicted have been foreseen for some time but
they have now come together in such a way
that policymakers must urgently consider them
and propose and implement a fundamental shift
in the learning paradigm for the 21
st
century
digital world and economy. To reach the goals
of personalised, collaborative and informalised
learning, holistic changes need to be made
(including, among others: curricula, pedagogies,
assessment, teacher training, leadership) and
mechanisms need to be put in place which
make flexible and targeted lifelong learning a
reality and support the recognition of informally
acquired skills.
15
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
1 Introduction
1.1 Policy Background
Europe is currently facing a number of
changes and challenges which will profoundly
affect the way in which people live, work and
learn in 10 to 20 years’ time. By 2020, 16 million
more jobs will require high qualifications, while
the demand for low skills will drop by 12 million
jobs.
1
However, Europe has a lower share of
university graduates than other leading industrial
nations like the USA or Japan, and is struggling to
offer viable lifelong learning options to 80 million
people who have low or basic skills. 25% of the
current generation of students have poor reading
skills and 1 in 7 young people leave school early.
These learners are ill prepared for life in a society
that will require, on the whole, higher skills
than today. Also on the social and demographic
level, profound changes will manifest themselves
which will pose additional challenges to social
cohesion and to the sustainability of European
social systems, requiring policy makers to take
measures to ensure that all citizens can actively
participate in society.
The Europe 2020 strategy
2
acknowledges
that, to remain competitive, overcome the current
economic crisis and grasp new opportunities,
Europe has to concentrate on smart, sustainable
and inclusive growth. One way to achieve these
overall goals is to develop and invest in citizens’
skills and competences. Consequently, one of
the five targets for measuring the success of the
Europe 2020 strategy is the modernisation of
European Education and Training systems and
1 http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/
news/statements/pdf/20102010_2_en.pdf.
2 Europe 2020. A European strategy for smart, sustainable
and inclusive growth. Commission Communication.
COM(2010) 2020. http://ec.europa.eu/eu2020/pdf/
COMPLET%20EN%20BARROSO%20%20%20007%20
-%20Europe%202020%20-%20EN%20version.pdf.
institutions by reducing early school leaving and
increasing tertiary education attainment. Also to
meet other targets, such as increasing the overall
employment rate as well as the share of women,
older workers and migrants in the work force, and
to reduce poverty, it is of paramount importance to
develop citizens’ occupational skills and relevant
competences. The importance of competence
development is further emphasized by three
of the ten Broad Economic Policy Guidelines
adopted by the Council in July 2010
3
and by
the fact that six of the seven flagship initiatives
address, among others, appropriate and adequate
skill training and competence development.
However, with the speed of technological
and socio-economic change, learning strategies
and trajectories are becoming similarly volatile.
Considering that knowledge generation and
organisation have changed substantially over the
last 10 to 20 years, giving rise not only to new
communication and working patterns, but also to
new learning approaches and competence needs,
it is vital to have a clearer understanding of how
learning opportunities may change over the next
10 to 20 years in order to better advise policy
makers.
Thus, to determine how education and
training policy can adequately prepare learners
for life in the future society, there is a need to
envisage which competences will be relevant
and how these will be acquired in 2020-2030.
To contribute to this vision-building, JRC-IPTS
in collaboration with DG Education and Culture
launched a foresight study on “The Future of
Learning: New Ways to Learn New Skills for
Future Jobs” (http://is.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages/EAP/
ForCiel.html). This study aims to provide evidence
3 http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/10/st11/st11646.
en10.pdf.
16
1 Introduction
on how competences and occupational skills will
and can be acquired in the future, in order to
support priority setting for education, training and
skilling policies. It does not intend to correctly
predict or model the future. Rather, it employs a
number and variety of stakeholder consultation
exercises to come up with imaginative visions
and scenarios of the future of learning, which
provide valuable insights into current trends and
their possible development in the future.
This report presents a synthesis of the
results of this project, which was conducted
jointly by IPTS, TNO, the Open University in
the Netherlands and Atticmedia, on behalf of
the European Commission (DG Education and
Culture).
1.2 Methodology
The main objectives of the Future of
Learning study are twofold. On the one hand,
it aims to identify, understand and map how
learning strategies and trajectories are expected
to change, given current trends, thus creating a
descriptive vision of the future. On the other
hand, based on the projection of current socio-
economic trends and challenges into the future,
the study sets out to develop a normative vision of
the future by identifying strategies which ensure
that future learning opportunities contribute to
social cohesion, socio-economic inclusion and
economic growth.
In order to achieve these two objectives, a
series of extensive stakeholder consultations,
employing different formats (workshops; online
consultations; group concept mapping) and
including different stakeholder groups (experts
and practitioners; teachers; policy makers) were
set up. The different consultations were designed
to jointly reinforce and cross-validate one
another. Both research lines were developed on
the basis of extensive desk research, including
other foresight studies and policy documents,
and intensive discussion and planning activities
among the consortium members and IPTS to
ensure the significance and validity of the results
obtained.
Figure 4: Overview of the methodological approach
17
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
1.2.1 Towards a descriptive vision of the future
of learning
The key question for this line of the research
was: “What will learning look like in the future?”
Variants of this question were put to experts (May
2010, 16 experts), teachers (February 2010, 13
teachers) and policy makers (May 2010, 15 policy
makers) in dedicated workshop brainstorming
and discussion sessions, leading to three different,
though vastly overlapping and coinciding maps
of the landscape of future learning.
Additionally, a selected group of experts
were involved in a more targeted and intensive
consultation process, employing the Group
Concept Mapping Methodology (GCM). This
intensive process involved a focus group of 13
experts at three stages, i.e. in (1) gathering, (2)
clustering and (3) rating insights on major changes
to education in 20 years’ time. The experts came
up with a total of 203 ways to complete the trigger
statement “One specific change in education
in 20 years’ time will be that: …”. Each expert
then arranged the changes foreseen in different
thematic clusters and rated them for importance
and feasibility.
The vast amount of data thus generated
was subsequently aggregated and analysed.
To depict the emerging structure in the data,
multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster
analysis were applied. Based on the experts’
sorting activity, each statement was placed on a
map, reflecting its proximity or distance to the
other statements. Based on the position of the
statements and the clusters proposed by experts,
the statements were subsequently clustered
into 12 groups, which were labelled using titles
suggested by the experts.
1.2.2 Towards a normative vision: identifying
challenges and their solutions
Based on literature research, the findings
of the GCM mapping exercise and in intensive
consultation with policy makers, a number of
challenges were identified that are expected to
have a pronounced effect on the socio-economic
future of Europe. Each of these challenges
was illustrated by the use of a “persona”, a
stereotypical character, outlining the main
problem at hand. Subsequently the persona
descriptions and illustrations were subjected to a
series of stakeholder consultations with experts,
teachers and policy makers, both online and face
to face.
Persona development
In total, nine different persona were
developed, which address the two key questions
for the normative vision development: 1. How
can education and training institutions and
systems address future learning needs?, and 2.
How can demand and supply of skills be better
matched? (Figure 4).
While contributing to the two overall
questions, each persona addresses a particular
challenge for future education and training or
employment and labour market strategies (or both,
as in the case of Joshua and Frank), namely:
1. How will E&T meet future learning
needs, e.g.:
• How can an increasing number of
children from multicultural backgrounds
be integrated and be enabled to fully
develop their talents (Chanta)?
• How can early school leaving be
prevented and effectively dealt with
(Bruno)?
• How can all students be enabled to fully
develop their individual talents, i.e. how
can learning pathways and trajectories
be adapted to individual learning needs
(Emma)?
• How can the learning objectives and
strategies in vocational and higher
education better be aligned with labour
market needs?
• What will the future role of teachers
be? (Frank)
18
1 Introduction
2. How can demand and supply of skills be
matched, e.g.:
• How can people, who do not have directly
relevant qualifications, be enabled to re-
enter the labour market after a longer
period of unemployment? (Sven)
• How can people with low qualifications
be enabled to develop a professional
career that enables them to remain in
employment throughout their lives?
(Ingrid)
• How can (possibly highly qualified)
people who are faced with unexpected
labour market shifts which make their
expertise obsolete, qualify for a job in a
different field? (Martina)
• How can people effectively update their
professional skills to actively develop
their career? (Slavi)
• How can experts effectively pass on their
professional knowledge and experience
to younger generations? (Frank)
• How can the transition from vocational
and higher education to the labour
market be improved and skill
mismatches be addressed? (Joshua)
Online stakeholder consultations
Based on these character descriptions and
illustrations, a series of stakeholder consultations
were conducted, both face to face and online.
For the full results and transcripts of the online
consultations, including a more detailed
description of the methodology, see Redecker et
al., 2010a.
Phase 1: Preparation
In a first phase a network of experts and
stakeholders interested in the research was set
up on different online platforms, on LinkedIn,
Facebook and YouTube. The LinkedIn group on
“The Future of Learning”, with its over 1,100
members currently (September 2011), proved to
be by far the most valuable resource for expert
input.
Phase 2: Experimentation
Based on the personas, a forum-like
discussion about the specific questions and
topics represented by the personas was set up. A
discussion site was set up on the website (
www.
futureoflearning.eu
) where in weekly rounds,
three personas with corresponding challenges
Figure 5: Overview of the personas developed
19
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
were presented. For this, a set of open-ended
questions were posed, that users could comment
on in a forum-like environment. The topics
discussed were:
• The future role of teachers (illustrated by
Frank, 23 comments)
• The school of the future (illustrated by
Emma, 20 comments)
• Inclusion (illustrated by Chanta, 8
comments)
While the discussions were interesting,
some comments proved difficult to interpret and
integrate into a coherent set of ideas.
Phase 3: Piloting
To consolidate and validate the findings of
the previous stage, three statements per persona
were selected among those provided by the
experts in the initial open online consultation. A
survey was set up, asking respondents to express
their agreement or disagreement (on a range from
1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree) and
encouraging them, for each statement, to justify
and explain their agreement or disagreement. This
pilot survey (PS) was launched on 20 April and
closed on 20 June 2010, generating responses by
111 stakeholders.
Phase 4: Implementation
Based on reflection on the results of the
pilot survey, a series of three quantitative
surveys was developed, each consulting
stakeholders on three personas grouped
according to a common theme. The surveys
were drafted around the following three topics,
taking into account multiple personas and their
related questions and topics:
• Lifelong Learning (132 completed
surveys) – Online Consultation I (OC I)
• Future Challenges (101 completed
surveys) – Online Consultation II (OC II)
• The Future of School Education in
Europe (90 completed surveys) – OC III
All three quantitative surveys were designed
along the same lines: providing an introduction
based on the personas and listing several
Figure 6: Example of the first open consultation on the personas of Emma and Chanta
20
1 Introduction
statements to which respondents could rate on a 1
to 5 scale with “1” representing “strongly disagree”
and “5” = “strongly agree”, i.e. a 5-level Likert
scale. The results were analysed using standard
descriptive statistics, assessing the percentage of
responses on each scale. In the analysis, special
attention was paid to statements that received
considerable variation (i.e. a considerable share
of agreement as well as disagreement).
Based on the information voluntarily
provided by about half the participants,
respondents’ profiles range from academics,
researchers, consultants and practitioners
(most of these have expertise in education and
training, pedagogy, technology, foresight and/
or innovation) to educational policymakers and
advisors. The majority of respondents come from
Europe covering at least 15 different European
countries. None of the surveys can be regarded
as representative however.
1.2.3 Face-to-face consultations
To validate initial findings on the online
stakeholder discussion, a series of workshops
with different stakeholder groups was
implemented.
Teachers were consulted in two workshop
session at the eTwinning conference in Seville
in February 2010. The focus of the workshop
sessions was on the personas of Chanta (albeit
represented as “Max”), Emma and Frank (a
teacher, re-named “Daniel”) and on the questions
of (a) how schools will be able to best develop
the potential of their students and teachers, and
(b) which should be the key learning objectives
for each of these persona in the future.
A workshop with 16 external experts and
four European Commission members, involved
in the research, and six further project members
was organised and took place in Amsterdam on
15-16 May 2010. Here, the results of the online
consultations were presented and discussed
and the challenges represented by the different
personas were debated.
Furthermore, on two occasions, in May
and in November 2010, the findings of the
online stakeholder consultations were discussed
by staff from a range of different European
Commission Directorate Generals. On the first
event, discussion focussed on validating the
overall (preliminary) results, whereas in the
second workshop policy recommendations
Figure 7: Key personas and the challenges they illustrate
21
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
were developed for some of the key challenges
and themes, namely (1) how education and
training institutions and systems should develop
strategies to address multiculturalism, implement
personalised learning strategies, adapt assessment,
and use ICT effectively, and (2) how changing job
requirements can be addressed, self-responsibility
and flexible training opportunities can be fostered
and informal learning can be better recognized.
Considering the findings of the consultations
and the focus of the overall study, for the
purposes of this report, a set of six personas was
further developed to represent the most urgent
and pressing challenges for education and
employment in the future (
Figure 7).
4
Thus, the personas illustrating the changing
role of teachers (Frank); challenges faced by
workers with low formal qualifications (Ingrid)
and strategies for up-skilling (Slavi) will not be
explicitly presented in this report. Instead, relevant
findings will be integrated in the discussion of
the presented personas as follows. The changing
role of teachers (originally illustrated by Frank)
will be reflected in the discussion of the personas
representing primary (Chanta) and secondary
(Bruno, Emma) education. Challenges for lowly
qualified workers (originally represented by
Ingrid) are reflected in the discussion of the
persona of Sven, which illustrates the similar
problem of re-entering the labour market without
relevant qualifications. Finally, the problem of
up-skilling (Slavi) is addressed in the discussion
of Martina, who is a highly qualified senior
specialist who faces the more severe problem of
changing professional profile.
1.3 Outline of this Report
The report is divided in two parts, the first
of which is devoted to the development of a
(descriptive) vision of the future of learning. The
4 For a full presentation of all personas see Redecker et al.,
2010.
second part focuses on future challenges for E&T
and on future strategies and supporting policy
options for making the best of all possible futures
a reality.
In Chapter 2, a series of trends and drivers
impacting the future of learning are outlined,
which form the basis and background for the
stakeholder consultations conducted in this study,
the findings of which are outlined in Chapter 3.
Chapter 3 discusses and summarizes the major
changes to learning in the future, and develops a
vision of the future of learning on the basis of the
different stakeholder consultation exercises.
Chapters 4 and 5 present and discuss six
challenges for the future of learning which
are illustrated and represented by six different
persona. Chapter 4 focuses on E&T systems
and institutions, by considering how increasing
multiculturality and heterogeneity in European
classrooms can be addressed adequately early in
primary school (Chanta, 4.2); how early school
leaving can be effectively prevented or dealt with
when it happens (Bruno, 4.3); and how schools
will be able to develop all students’ talents and
foster excellence, thus preparing students for
tertiary education and assisting them in their
career choices (Emma, 4.4).
Chapter 5 exploits lifelong learning
opportunities which assist in matching labour
market skill supply and demand. It discusses how
the transition between tertiary and vocational
E&T and the labour market can be smoothed
(Joshua, 5.2); how people who have been out of
employment for a longer period of time can be re-
integrated into the labour market (Sven, 5.3) and
how highly qualified people can be enabled to
re-skill if their specialist skills become obsolete,
due to technological advances, labour market
shifts or unexpected labour market disruptions
(Martina, 5.4).
Chapter 6 draws conclusions from the
findings in all parts and sections and discusses
policy implications. These could help to pave the
22
1 Introduction
way to an efficient and effective European E&T
system that responds adequately to the changes
ahead and contributes to competitiveness and
sustainability by driving excellence and equity.
23
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Part I. Envisaging the Future
2 Trends and Drivers
A variety of demographic, societal,
economic and technological factors is expected
to influence and impact on the future of learning
and education. This chapter will provide a brief
overview over the main trends and drivers which
affect the future of learning and will present some
of the more salient consequences for employment
and Education and Training.
2.1 Demographic Trends: Ageing and
De-greening
Across Europe there is a growing
awareness that our societies are going through
an unprecedented demographic transition,
based on the combined effects of decreasing
fertility rates and rising life expectancy.
5
Both demographic extremes, ageing and de-
greening (i.e. the decline in the number and
share of younger people), will impact future
jobs, employment, work-biographies and skills
and competences.
Individual life expectancy has risen
substantially over the last 50 years and is expected
to continue so for the next decades. Over the past
45 years, life expectancy at birth has increased by
about eight years for men and women.
6
In most
EU Member States, life expectancy - currently 75
5 EENEE & NESSE, 2008; Reflection Group, 2010.
6 Schlotter et al., 2008.
Figure 8: Share of European population by age groups in the geographical region of Europe
Source: UN population statistics, http://esa.un.org/unpp/index.asp
24
2 Trends and Drivers
years for men and 82 for women on average is
set to increase by an additional 15 to 20 years in
the course of this century.
7
Whereas back in 1950
only 13% of the European population was over
60 years of age, this share has increased to 22%
in 2010 and is expected to reach 34% in 2050.
8
While the population aged 60 and above
will increase by about 42 million between 2010
and 2030, the number of young people under the
age of 30 will decrease by about 12 million in
the EU27 (Figure 9). The population aged above
80 years is expected to double from 23 million
in 2010 to 46 million in 2040 in the EU 27.
9
The
share of old people in the population will be
significantly higher in Europe than in other world
regions such as Asia and Africa.
10
7 Reflection Group, 2010.
8 UN population statistics: http://esa.un.org/unpp/index.asp
9 Eurostat EUROPOP 2008 data.
10 Schlotter et al., 2008.
In parallel, the fertility rate in Europe has
decreased steadily, from 2.7 children per family
in 1964 to 1.4 in 1999, a trend that is expected
to continue. In Europe, the number of children
and teenagers under the age of 19 is expected to
decline from 160 million in 1980 to 110 million in
2025.
11
With women giving birth to 1.5 children
on average, and more and more women foregoing
children altogether, Europe’s population is ageing
and its native-born labour force declining.
12
The combined demographic extremes of
very high life expectancy and very low fertility
will exert enormous pressure on Europe’s social
welfare systems. Europe has to come to terms with
the reduction in the working age population and
a higher share of people of retirement age.
13
In an
ageing society with almost twice as many people
11 UN population statistics http://esa.un.org/unpp/index.
asp?panel=2
12 Reflection Group, 2010.
13 Schlotter et al., 2008.
Figure 9: EU 27 population projection by age group, 2010-2030
Source: Eurostat Population projections, EUROPOP2008.
25
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
over 65 per worker as today, EU Member States
will have to make considerable efforts to finance
their social support regimes and to retain older
people in the workforce.
14
Employers will need to
change their recruitment and retention policies
to attract and retain qualified staff.
15
The future
workforce of Europe will need to be recruited
increasingly from the older population, which
raises the need for an improved training system
especially for this group because economic
growth in Europe will heavily depend on their
performance in the labour market.
16
2.2 Globalisation
A new multi-polar world is emerging where
power is more diffuse and international dynamics
more complex.
17
Between 2005 and 2050, the
working-age population of emerging economies
is expected to increase by 1.7 billion, compared
with a decline of 9 million in the developed
economies.
18
As new global competitors with
innovation capacity like China and India emerge,
it will be increasingly challenging for Europe to
keep its competitive edge.
By 2030, China could be the biggest global
economy and India the fourth largest.
19
China
and India contributed 58% of all global growth
in 2007 and it is estimated that BRIC economies
could be delivering 40% of all global growth by
2018.
20
Over the past 15 years, trade volume grew
by over 50% as a proportion of GDP in Russia,
nearly doubled in China and more than doubled
in Brazil and India.
21
Forecasts by some leading
economists suggest that China in particular
may increase its share of world GDP from 11%
today to 40% in 2040, whereas the EU15 GDP
is projected to decline from 21% today to 5% in
14 Reflection Group, 2010.
15 Wilson, 2009.
16 Schlotter et al., 2008.
17 Reflection Group, 2010.
18 Talwar & Hancock, 2010.
19 Talwar & Hancock, 2010.
20 Talwar & Hancock, 2010.
21 Eurostat, 2007.
2040.
22
China’s GDP could overtake that of the
US as early as 2015
23
and within the next 40-
50 years, the overall GDP of the BRIC countries
could exceed those of the largest EU countries,
the US and Japan.
24
Although the assumptions underlying
some of the forecasts have been challenged,
25
the figures are indicative of the speed at which
the global economic balance is tilting in favour
of China. By 2030, Asia is expected to be at
the forefront of scientific and technological
developments, producing high-value goods
capable of transforming production and overall
quality of life.
26
With slower growth than its main
competitors, the EU’s share of global wealth is
inevitably declining.
27
Europe will increasingly
compete with much younger societies whose
pools of young “digitally-empowered talent”
will eventually out-number Europe’s under any
demographic scenario.
28
The power of these
emerging economies will challenge European
societies and call for targeted measures to ensure
that, through innovation and excellence, Europe
is able to maintain its prosperity and defend its
social welfare states.
29
2.3 Immigration
The UN projects that up to two million people
will migrate from poor to rich countries every
year until 2050, with around 1.6 million coming
to Europe.
30
As the domestic supply of labour and
skills declines, Europe will need to attract more
migrant workers, with consequences for our
22 Fogel, 2007.
23 Maddison, 2007.
24 OECD, 2007.
25 Cf. EENEE & NESSE, 2008.
26 Reflection Group, 2010.
27 Reflection Group, 2010.
28 Linton & Schuchhard, 2009.
29 Hofheinz, 2009; Linton & Schuchhard, 2009; Fingar,
2008.
30 http://www.un.org/esa/population/unpop.htm.
26
2 Trends and Drivers
ability to manage societal integration. Without
migration, the EU will not be able to meet future
labour and skills shortages.
31
According to a 2007
study by the Hamburgisches Weltwirtschafts
Institut (Germany), in the absence of immigration,
the size of Western and Central Europe’s labour
force would shrink from 227 to 201 million in
2025 and to 160 million in 2050. To maintain the
labour force constant, a net inflow of 66 million
labour migrants would be necessary.
32
However, currently third-country nationals
show low employment and high unemployment
rates,
33
the reasons for which are not only rooted
in education and qualifications. Thus, it is already
recognized that measures need to be adopted
to make education and training accessible
to immigrants to facilitate their transition to
the labour market which contributes to social
cohesion.
34
To tap the potential of the current
generation of young migrants, efforts in formal
education need to be increased, addressing the
specific needs of immigrant children and youth
at an early stage, to empower them to become
active participants in society.
35
This is particularly
important, considering that many children
of migrants have significantly lower levels of
educational attainment than their peers.
36
2.4 Labour Market Trends
The jobs of tomorrow, whatever they look
like, will, on the whole, require new and higher
levels of skills.
37
The foresight report “Changing
professions in 2015 and beyond” identifies
three main drivers that are expected to impact
the skills requirements even by 2015: the shelf-
life of knowledge is decreasing; the amount
of information is increasing; and concurrent
31 Reflection Group, 2010.
32 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/15/38295272.pdf
33 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/15/38295272.pdf
34 European Commission, 2009c.
35 European Commission, 2007a.
36 European Commission 2008b; 2008c.
37 http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=568&langId=en;
Cedefop, 2010a.
pressures of generalisation and specialisation of
the workforce will persist/increase.
38
European economies are witnessing a
general trend towards an increased demand
in knowledge- and skill-intensive occupations
related to technical and managerial activities.
39
For example, by 2015, there will be a shortage of
ICT practitioners estimated at 384 000 to 700 000
jobs; by 2020 an additional 1 million researchers
will be needed and the health sector will face a
shortage of about 1 million professionals.
40
The
share of jobs requiring high-level qualifications
will rise from 29% in 2010 to about 35% in
2020, while the number of jobs employing those
with low qualifications will fall from 20% to 15%
(Cedefop, 2010b).
On the whole, the occupational structure of
Europe is moving towards knowledge and skills-
intensive jobs, and most new jobs are expected
to emerge in knowledge- and skills-intensive
occupations. (Cedefop, 2010b). This trend towards
more knowledge-intensive jobs is reinforced by
another general trend: Already, 65% of Europeans,
who are or have previously been in employment,
have changed employer at least once in their
lives.
41
The majority of Europeans feel that one’s
level of professional experience (54%) and one’s
qualifications (52%) are the two most important
assets which one should emphasise in order to
find a job easily today.
42
Given the growing importance of
qualifications and skills, a chronic skills shortage
is expected in Europe’s labour markets, as
currently one in three Europeans of working
age have few or no formal qualifications and
nearly a third of Europe’s population aged 25-
38 European Commission, 2006.
39 Cedefop, 2010b.
40 European Commission, 2010b.
41 Eurobarometer 261, 2006; http://ec.europa.eu/public_
opinion/archives/ebs/ebs261_en.pdf
42 Eurobarometer 316, 2009; http://ec.europa.eu/public_
opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_316_sum_en.pdf
27
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
64 have no, or only low, formal qualifications.
43
Expected future decreases in the demand for
unskilled labour in the EU will aggravate societal
inequality. Currently, however, people who need
training most, i.e. those with low or irrelevant
skills, tend to be those who use training the least.
Workers who already have a tertiary degree are
50% more likely to receive post formal education
training than those with only a secondary
degree.
44
Hence, increasing the educational level
of low-skilled workers, who face a substantially
higher risk of being unemployed than medium-
and high-skilled workers, as well as improving
the equity of the educational system are major
challenges for educational policies in the 21st
century.
45
43 Euractiv 2010; http://www.euractiv.com/en/enterprise-
jobs/unemployment-soars-due-to-skills-shortage, referring
to: http://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=4508&la
ngId=en
44 Schleicher, 2006.
45 Schlotter et al., 2008; Hofheinz, 2010.
2.5 The Impact of Technology on
Education and Training
Technological developments and changes
have had significant impact on society, not only
in ICT but also in biotechnology, medicine,
materials and nano-sciences. In the future, it is
expected that technological developments will
continue to advance at unprecedented speeds.
Trends include increases in computing power
accompanied by decreases in cost; a shift from
networked to ubiquitous computing; computing
based on bioscience; smart drugs and cognitive
enhancement; brain-machine interfaces; 3D
printing and plastic electronics; complex and
intertwined socio-technical systems.
46
Furthermore, digital technology could
become the single biggest lever for productivity
and competitiveness, underpinning the majority
of future job creation in Western economies
46 Facer, 2010.
Figure 10: Cedefop jobs forecast (2010)
Source: Cedefop 2010a.
28
2 Trends and Drivers
at least, if these manage to foster a “vibrant,
growing, highly skilled workforce of technology
professionals, create an increasingly large pool
of technology-capable business people, and
encourage every individual to develop their IT
user skills to secure employment, to interact
socially and to access government services”.
47
Technology will be one of the main drivers
for changing job structures and requirements,
and will thus determine which skills people need
to acquire. We can already see that technology
changes job requirements and profiles, when
we observe, for example, nurses now routinely
performing minor operations, builders and
mechanics working with digital maps, and
farmers using advanced knowledge of remote
animal health monitoring or precision farming.
48
This trend is expected to become more
pronounced. For example, it already is expected
that there will not be enough experts who are
able to interpret genetic data, although genetic
sequencing as such will become even cheaper.
49
The e-skills UK (2009) report predicts that, in the
UK alone, 550 000 new technology professionals
will be needed by 2015. The strongest growth
will continue to be in high skill areas, but hybrid
skills (technical, business, creative, interpersonal)
will also be increasingly important.
A study on the “shape of jobs to come”
50
argues that advances in science and technology
will give rise to new career opportunities, both
in existing disciplines and in newly created
fields. The list of 110 possible future job profiles
generated in this study ranges from “old age
wellness manager”, over “memory augmentation
surgeon”, “vertical farmer”, “waste data
manager”, “virtual clutter organiser” and “social
networking workers” to “virtual lawyers” and
“virtual teachers”, to mention just a few. All of
47 e-skills UK, 2009.
48 ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/foresight/docs/21966.pdf
49 http://jahresthema.bbaw.de/kalender/leben-3-0-und-die-
zukunft-der-evolution
50 Talwar & Hancock, 2010.
these job profiles will require skills that have not
even been identified yet, although it is clear that
all of them will require some degree of ICT skills.
However, technology does not only affect
what we will need to learn, but also how we
will learn in the future. A range of (foresight)
studies underline the impact of technological
change on education and training. According to
the European Internet Foundation, for example,
the key to adequately preparing learners for
life in a digital world is to “redesign education
itself around participative, digitally-enabled
collaboration within and beyond the individual
educational institution”. They predict that by 2025
this will have become the dominant worldwide
educational paradigm.
51
In a similar vein, a study commissioned
by the MacArthur Foundation envisages that,
in the future, learning in E&T institutions will
be based on the principles of self-learning,
networked learning, connectivity and interactivity
and collective credibility. Pedagogy will use
inductive and de-centred methods for knowledge
generation and open source education will
prevail. Learning institutions will be characterised
by horizontal structures, mobilizing networks
and flexible scalability.
52
Collins and Halverson
(2010) envisage that, with the advent and
increasing impact of technologies, a new era of
education – the lifelong learning era – will begin,
which will differ substantially from the current
“schooling era” and will to a certain extent reflect
a return to the pre-industrial “apprenticeship
era”. In the lifelong learning era, learning will
take place across a number of different “venues”
and will involve mixed-age groups in different
constellations. On the whole, flexibility and
diversity will increase.
In line with these studies, the Beyond Current
Horizons (BCH) project (Facer, 2009; 2010)
explores from a socio-technical perspective
51 Linton & Schuchhard, 2009.
52 Davidson & Goldberg, 2009.
29
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
how education (in the UK) will (need to) change
up until 2030. Key socio-technological trends
as identified by the BCH study include the
increasingly important participation in networks
comprising both technical and social elements
and the expectation that formal and informal
learning will take place across a wide range of
different sites and institutions. Consequently,
according to BCH projections, the future of
learning will be characterised by networked
learners, networked workers, networked E&T
institutions, and information forums promoting
public debate. A second thread running across all
scenarios is the expectation that informal learning
strategies will become an integral part of learning
and will also (need to) be embedded in E&T.
The DELPHI study conducted by the
Learnovation project identifies technological
progress (4.2)
53
and social networking on line (3.8)
as the two most important factors for changing the
way in which people learn, followed by cuts in
public funding for education (3.8), globalisation
(3.7) and multiculturalism (3.3). Thus, the vision
developed by the Learnovation project for 2025
is characterised by technology-enabled lifelong
learning opportunities:
“Being a lifelong learner becomes a condition
of life. Technologies, due to their massive
and common use in everyday life, acquire an
emancipating power on people’s opportunity and
ability to learn, favouring a spontaneous tendency
towards metacognition and ownership of their
learning process”.
A study by IBM Global Education (2009)
identifies five interrelated “signposts” for the
future of education, indicating a number
of challenges and/or opportunities for E&T.
These signposts are technological immersion;
personalized learning paths; knowledge skills
for service-based economies; global integration
of systems, resources, and cultures; and aligning
53 On a Likert scale from 1=very little impact to 5= very
significant impact.
E&T with economic needs and demands. Again,
technology is identified as the main driver of
change, promoting technologically-enhanced
learning opportunities that are immersive, tailor
made and globally networked.
2.6 Implications for the Future of
Education and Training
2.6.1 Lifelong learning
A common thread identified by studies on
the future of E&T is the emergence of lifelong
learning as the new central learning paradigm.
Lifelong learning is seen as an important
ingredient for Europe’s response to demographic
change, globalisation and increased labour
market dynamics. Thus the key insight for the
future is that all citizens will need to continuously
update and enhance their skills throughout their
lives, from the cradle to the grave.
Technology will play a key role in levering the
potential of lifelong learning. With the ubiquity of
technology and with its increasing adaptability,
learning “anywhere, anytime and anyplace” can,
in the future, become a reality. Furthermore the
increased adaptability of computer programmes
and environments will contribute to making
targeted and tailor-made learning opportunities
feasible, thus raising the attractiveness of
professional training courses. Furthermore,
technology can contribute to making learning
and training more accessible and attractive to
those who need it most, including those with low
skill levels.
2.6.2 Shift from institutions to individuals
Several emerging technologies, in particular
open source technologies, cloud computing
and mobile technology will enable a seamless
education continuum that is centred on the
30
2 Trends and Drivers
student, not the institutions.
54
Thus, education
institutions will cease to be exclusive agents
of coordination, service provision, quality
assurance, performance assessment, or support.
They will need to re-create themselves as resilient
systems with flexible, open, and adaptive
infrastructures, which engage all citizens and
re-connect with society; schools will become
dynamic, community-wide systems and networks
that have the capacity to renew themselves in the
context of change.
55
As a consequence, the responsibility for the
provision of individual education will increasingly
move from the state to the individual and family
groups.
56
While state involvement in early years’
educational provision will remain central, the
influence of the private sector on curriculum and
policy will continue to grow.
57
Assessment will, on the one hand, becomes
embedded in the learning process and pedagogy
will rely increasingly on interaction, including the
interaction with rich technological environments,
which will be responsive to learners’ progress and
needs.
58
Thus, assessment will continue to move
towards technologically-supported automation,
while peer production will remain marginal.
On the other hand, however, content, teaching
and accreditation will become disaggregated.
54 IBM, 2009.
55 KnowledgeWorks, 2008.
56 Collins & Halverson, 2010; KnowledgeWorks, 2008.
57 Sandford, 2009.
58 Collins & Halverson, 2010.
Different forms of accreditation should be
developed to recognise informal know-how and
practice-based competences.
59
2.6.3 The increasing importance of generic and
transversal skills
The widespread use of technology in society is
expected to give rise to new skills and increase the
pressure on E&T systems to respond to economic
demands.
60
Furthermore, the digital economy of
2025 will demand a flexible workforce, with a
mindset of continual change and the capacity to
change and adapt in response to the complexity
of the global economy. This flexibility will need
to be developed and nurtured.
61
Generic and
transversal skills sometimes also labelled soft
skills such as problem solving, communication
in different media,
62
team working and ICT
skills, management and leadership, multicultural
openness, adaptability, innovation and creativity
and learning-to-learn are increasingly valued in
modern economies and labour markets, along
with basic skills such as reading and writing,
academic skills, technical skills, managerial and
entrepreneurial skills (Wilson, 2009; Green,
2008).
63
In particular at the post-secondary and
professional learning level, people will need to
develop skills that facilitate going back and forth
between learning and work.
64
59 Sandford, 2009.
60 IBM, 2009.
61 Linton & Schuchhard, 2009.
62 Collins & Halverson, 2010.
63 OECD, 2011; Collins & Halverson, 2010.
64 Collins & Halverson, 2010.
31
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
How will we learn in 10-20 years’ time?
This was the key question put to experts in the
education and technology field, to teachers and
to policy actors at the European Commission in
dedicated face-to-face workshop sessions over
the course of the year 2010. As a result, a series
of “maps” visualising the key future changes
to learning strategies and responses of the
education and training systems were generated.
Additionally, this question formed the basis of
an extensive brainstorming, sorting and rating
exercise, involving 13 experts and employing the
GCM methodology.
Though each of the visions developed
collaboratively on these different occasions is
distinct in focus and scope, together they provide
a detailed picture of a diverse and changing
landscape, in which technological trends together
with socio-economic dynamics impact learning
strategies and trajectories and call for a profound
change of E&T systems and institutions.
3.1 Brainstorming the Future of
Learning
3.1.1 Teachers’ views of the future of school
education
In a first session, teachers were asked which
will be the major changes to (school) education over
the next 10-20 years. The answers gathered can be
grouped into three main clusters, each including
several types of topics, as illustrated in Figure 10.
The main types of changes expected are:
More active ways of learning. Learning will
become more active, focusing on learning by doing,
experiencing, touching. At the same time, it will
become more social and collaborative with each
learner constructing his/her knowledge in interaction
with others in the context of practical applications
and tasks. Student-centred learning approaches,
where each learners individual needs and progress
are taken into account, will come to the fore. The
traditional roles of teachers and students will
change to support this development, and teachers
will become moderators and guides for students’
personalised and collaborative knowledge creation.
Revised learning objectives. More active
and constructive ways of learning will arise from
a shift in the balance between knowledge and
skills, and the emergence of new competences.
In a world that is characterised by information
overload, “knowing how” will become more
important than “knowing what”. Furthermore,
values, like respect, tolerance, responsibility and
cultural awareness and diversity will become
important learning objectives.
New learning settings and contexts. Changing
learning objectives and ways of reaching them
will be accompanied by the emergence of new
learning settings and their connections to various
contexts. Learning will be supported by flexible
and dynamic virtual environments and by a range
of tools and applications to facilitate individual
and collaborative learning processes inside
schools, outside school, and with connections to
various contexts. Physical or virtual boundaries
will become obsolete. From pre-school onwards,
learning will take place in versatile environments
that are smoothly integrated into life. Learning
environments will be motivating, social and
connected to nature and to the local community
and global society. In particular, learning will
become more holistic, embedded in the societal
context and the local community. Parents will be
respected as partners in the learning process.
In a second brainstorming session,
participating teachers were asked to identify the
32
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
Figure 11: Teachers’ views on future changes to school education
33
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
key competences students will be required to
acquire in the future, i.e. in 10 or 20 years’ time.
Subsequently, their answers were juxtaposed to
the key competences laid down by the European
Key Competences Recommendation of 2006,
65
of
which teachers were unaware.
Interestingly, all competences currently
defined as key competences and as important
cross-cutting skills in Europe were mentioned
in the brainstorming session as being important
for the future, thereby confirming their
continuing importance and relevance. However,
the discussion and the suggestions from the
participants transcended and refined the
current set of key competences, indicating how
they could be modified to better meet future
needs. For example, the description of Digital
Competence was enriched by the proposal to
include new communication patterns, such as
65 Council of the European Union, 2006.
being constantly online and coming to terms with
using different identities and communication
tools in parallel.
Furthermore, workshop participants
emphasized the increasing importance of
transversal skills, such as problem-solving,
analytical thinking, critical skills and effective
communication; attitudes such as flexibility,
openness and self-management; personal skills
such as self-confidence and independence, and
societal awareness, as expressed in the need to
respect nature and the environment.
3.1.2 Experts’ vision of the future of learning
In May 2010, a two day workshop with experts
from a range of related fields (education, foresight,
technology) was conducted in Amsterdam, at which
a mix of brainstorming and targeted discussion
exercises was employed to generate insights on
current and future trends and tendencies and their
effect on learning in the future. The initial post-it
Figure 12: Key competences as defined now and as suggested by the audience for the future
34
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
brainstorming exercise focused on generating a
general and comprehensive vision in response to
the question: “What will be the major changes
to education and training over the course of the
next 10-20 years?” The responses were collected,
discussed and subsequently sorted by the experts.
Figure 12 visualises the emerging map of the future
of learning.
Comparing experts’ findings with those of the
teachers, who had been asked to concentrate on
school education rather than the whole picture
of societal change, what is striking is the degree
of coincidence and overlap. Experts and teachers
both underline that technological change will be
one of the main drivers for change in education
and training. At the core of both maps are the
ensuing changes to learning strategies and
pathways: new competences and associated
assessment procedures which focus on skills
and attitudes rather than knowledge; learning
strategies that put the learner at the centre of the
learning process; personalised learning pathways,
adapted to learners’ individual learning needs and
objectives; the prevalence of collaborative learning
processes which also modify the relationship
between learners and teachers; and new learning
environments integrated into life and work.
The picture the experts paint is one of
a rapidly changing world where integration,
coordination, collaboration and personalisation
are key strategies for equipping citizens with
the skills and attitudes necessary to participate
actively in society. Additionally, the experts
expect that E&T institutions will become learning
Figure 13: Experts’ views on changes the E&T over the next 10-20 years
35
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Figure 14: Experts’ vision of a desirable future
36
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
Figure 15: Experts’ view on future skills requirements
37
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
communities that collaborate with employers on
identifying skill needs and adapt the abundance
of learning and teaching materials to serve the
individual learning needs of each of their students.
Skills and attitudes, such as problem-solving,
flexibility, creativity and reflection will become
more important than knowledge. Scientific
research will assist teachers and learning in
making learning more efficient. Learning will be
playful and inquiry-based.
In the discussions, experts underlined that
some of these developments should be seen
critically. For example, it was stressed that
although curricula need to be adapted to better
address labour market requirements, E&T should
not completely submit to market demands and
mechanisms.
Towards the end of the workshop, to
summarize the interesting and diverse discussions
and draw conclusion, participants were asked
to list the key elements of a desirable future
of learning. Figure 13 gives an overview of
the findings of the group. Technology related
contributions are marked in green.
When comparing this map to the initial
map, what sticks out is the need for (policy)
mechanisms that ensure that all citizens can
benefit from the wealth of learning opportunities
expected to be available in the future. The
desirable future that experts describe is thus one
in which everybody has access to a range of free
and open learning opportunities that flexibly
respond to the learner’s learning needs and
preferences. Learning will be integrated in life
and work, tailor-made, enjoyable, networked
and collaborative and adaptable. Skills rather
than knowledge will come to the fore and
there will be new assessment and certification
mechanisms that make relevant skills visible.
Experts were also asked to identify the key
competences and critical civic skills that citizens
will need to acquire to successfully participate in
the future European society.
When comparing experts’ responses on
future skill needs to those of teachers and
policy actors, interesting differences arise which
indicate that experts think more “out of the box”
than those directly involved in either teaching or
educational policy-making. For experts, it is clear
that skills and attitudes are the decisive factors for
a successful future contribution to society. They
underline that personal and social responsibility
as well as inter-personal skills such as team-
working and networking form the basis for
successful participation in society. Personal skills
that will enable citizens to seize learning and
employment opportunities include risk-awareness
and risk-taking, which is also expressed in a sense
of entrepreneurship, experimentation, looking for
challenge and ‘failing forward’; creativity and
critical thinking; and resilience, compassion,
alertness and competitiveness. Experts also
underline that some knowledge-based skills and
a sound general education will remain important.
History, ecology and aesthetics are fields in
which they think individuals will need to develop
awareness and understanding in the future.
3.1.3 Policymakers’ visions of the future
Policy actors at the European Commission
have contributed to the study on three occasions,
in September 2009, May 2010 and November
2010. At the May workshop, 16 participants from
different Directorate Generals and other European
institutions (EAC, INFSO, EMPL; EACEA, ETF)
participated in a brainstorming exercise, similar
to the ones conducted with experts and teachers,
on the major changes expected for E&T over the
course of the next 10-20 years.
In line with the observations expressed by
teachers and experts, policy actors emphasize
that technology will be one of the main drivers
for change in education and training. They also
expect personalised and collaborative learning
processes to prevail and teachers and learners
to be empowered to design learning processes
that are better fitted to individual needs on the
one hand and societal changes on the other.
38
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
Figure 16: Policy actors’ view on future changes to E&T
39
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Correspondingly they underline, while the current
set of key competences will also remain important
in the future, their focus will change towards
skills and attitudes rather than knowledge, which
will be acquired and complemented in a lifelong
learning perspective.
As a general tendency, E&T will (have to)
become more responsive to labour market needs
and better align curricula, content and learning
objectives, particularly in higher education
and vocational training. Also, industry should
be more closely involved in shaping and re-
aligning curricula to ease the transition from
E&T to work. E&T institutions on the whole
will need to become more transparent and
accountable, open to society and the needs
of their learners. Informal learning activities
need to become better recognised. The main
challenge for E&T in the future is, according
to policy actors, overcoming the current
implementation gap and putting into practice
what have long been recognised as necessary
and needed transformations. This is perceived
to be particularly difficult in view of expected
or persisting budget cuts and continuing
technological and demographic change.
Barriers that hinder the take up of promising
learning strategies, such as new ethical issues
arising from privacy concerns or a lack of
adequate and targeted teacher training, also
need to be adequately addressed for change to
happen.
3.2 Group Concept Mapping Exercise
The Group Concept Methodology (GCM)
was employed to evaluate the findings of a focus
group of 13 experts which was involved at three
stages, i.e. in (1) gathering, (2) clustering and (3)
rating insights on major changes to education
in 20 years. The experts came up with a total of
203 ways to complete the trigger statement “One
specific change in education in 20 years will be
that: …” Each expert then arranged the changes
foreseen in different thematic clusters and rated
them for importance and feasibility.
The vast amount of data thus generated
was subsequently aggregated and analysed.
To depict the emerging structure in the data,
Figure 17: GCM Cluster Map
40
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster
analysis were applied. Based on the experts’
sorting activity, each statement was placed on a
map, reflecting its proximity or distance to the
other statements. Based on the position of the
statements and the clusters proposed by experts,
the statements were subsequently clustered into
12 groups (Figure 16).
Looking at the content of the different
clusters, four general themes or trends emerge.
The first set of clusters (in blue in Figure 188)
address changes that are expected to happen to
formal education and training. Experts underline
the fact that, in this respect, institutions will
change to become enablers and connectors in a
globalised education market. Informally acquired
skills will be better recognised and integrated
in qualification frameworks. These clusters also
suggest a shift in the responsibility for acquiring
competences from the institutional to the
individual level.
Teachers will become mentors rather than
instructors, in line with the general tendency,
expressed by the second set of clusters (in red),
towards learning strategies that are targeted
towards individual and professional needs and
respond to individual learning preferences
and needs. The central position of the lifelong
learning cluster on the map indicates not only its
central role for future learning, but also that this
cluster is a connection point for all other clusters,
suggesting that many of the envisaged changes
to learning strategies and pathways are related
to the fact that, according to the experts, in the
future, skills and competences will be acquired
in a life-long learning perspective.
Information and communication technology
(ICT) plays an important role for the future of
learning. While statements across all clusters
reflect changing learning patterns due to the
opportunities offered by ICT, there are three
clusters that explicitly address how emerging
technologies will give rise to new learning
strategies (in green).
Looking at the 203 individual statements
and their ratings in detail, some of the expected
Figure 18: GCM landscape of changes to E&T in 2020-2030
41
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
changes stick out as being of particular
importance. These include:
• The nature of learning will become more
learner-centred, individual and social;
• Personalised and tailor-made learning
opportunities will address individual
and professional training needs;
• Innovative pedagogical concepts will be
developed and implemented in order
to address, for example, experiential
and immersive learning and social and
cognitive processes;
• Formal education institutions will need
to flexibly and dynamically react to
changes and offer learning opportunities
that are integrated in daily life; and
• Education and training must be made
available and accessible for all citizens.
Considering the rating of the statements
in these clusters with respect to feasibility and
importance, as an absolute score, the average
score of each of the 12 clusters ranges above
3 (on a Likert scale from 1 to 5), indicating
that all 12 major themes can be considered
important and feasible. In relative terms, some
differences emerge. The technology-oriented
clusters score higher on feasibility and slightly
lower on importance when compared to other
clusters, while the clusters addressing flexible,
targeted and personalised learning strategies rate
higher on importance and lower on feasibility.
Thus, while experts are optimistic concerning
the development of technology-enhanced
learning opportunities, they are sceptical about
the feasibility of implementing learner-centred
approaches in formal education and, in general,
the ability of formal education systems and
institutions to keep pace with change and become
more flexible and dynamic.
This general tendency is confirmed and
further specified by a detailed look across clusters
at the 57 statements that score higher than average
on importance and, at the same time, lower than
average on feasibility, thus indicating issues that
will need particular attention by policy-makers.
The most prominent of these include:
• the need to ensure appropriate,
accessible and affordable education that
Figure 19: GCM cluster ratings on importance and feasibility
42
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
caters for the learning needs of every
citizen, irrespective of age;
• the importance of implementing
pedagogies that focus on transversal
competences, such as strategic,
problem-oriented, situational thinking,
creativity and learning to learn;
• the need to align technology and
pedagogy to create participative learning
environments which enable high
quality learning experiences that keep
participants interested and motivated;
• ways to integrate learning into the
workplace, community and home;
• ways to adapt assessment strategies
meaningfully to the manifold ways in
which people actually learn; and
• the need to address the changing role
of teachers as learning mediators and
guides, enabling them to become
lifelong learners themselves.
3.3 The Role of ICT for Future Learning
Strategies
One of the most salient and important
findings, which emerged in all the different
stakeholder consultation exercises, is the
impact of Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) on future learning
strategies and trajectories. It is therefore worth
considering more in depth the role(s) of ICT in
the future learning landscape.
First of all, as pointed out by all stakeholders,
ICT is one of the driving forces for socio-economic
change. On the technological side, trends towards
high-quality, converging, mobile and accessible
technologies, together with more sophisticated,
user-friendly, adaptable and safe applications and
services will integrate technology more and more
into everyday life. Eventually more advanced
technologies, such as ambient technologies,
immersive 3D environments and strong AI, may
become a reality. As a consequence, technology
will be more smoothly integrated into our daily
lives and become a basic commodity.
With the emergence of more integrated,
adapted and adaptable technological solutions,
new skills come to the fore. As a consequence
of changed communication and interaction
patterns, interpersonal skills – communication,
collaboration, negotiation and networking skills
will become more important. At the same
time, the ubiquity and abundance of information
will require individuals to improve their meta-
cognitive skills reflection, critical thinking,
problem-solving, managing and organising. For
people to actively manage their personal and
professional lives and find their way around
Figure 20: The role of ICT for future learning strategies
43
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
in an interconnected maze of interactions,
determination, resilience, experimentation,
risk-taking, creativity and entrepreneurship will
become key competences.
However, ICT not only affects what people
need to learn, but also how they will learn. Due
to the ubiquity of technology and its power to
facilitate highly dynamic, adaptable and engaging
virtual learning environments, personalised
lifelong learning opportunities will become
feasible. According to experts, in the future a vast
variety of learning modules, courses and packages
will become available which offer targeted and
tailor-made training opportunities for all learning
and training needs, in all life stages and for
all qualification levels. Different formats and
combinations thereof will be available, including
programmes that adapt to individual learning
pace and progress, self- and peer-assessment
tools, serious games, virtual reality, immersion
and simulation. Thus learning programmes will be
responsive to individual learning styles, specific
learning objectives, needs and preferences. Virtual
learning networks, communities and groups will
offer (peer) support and online collaboration
will lever individual progress. Learning will
become smoothly integrated into everyday life,
accompanying individuals wherever they are and
whatever they do and allowing them to study
more efficiently and effectively.
Within formal education and training, i.e.
in schools, universities and vocational training
institutions, ICT will contribute to transforming
pedagogical strategies and re-shaping curricula.
Mobile devices, immersive environments and
serious games will contribute to embedding
real life experiences into formal education and
training and to better aligning demand and supply
of skills. While face-to-face learning will prevail
for students in primary and secondary education,
ICT will enable teachers to better respond to
diversity and heterogeneity in the classroom
Figure 21: Conceptual map of the future of learning
44
3 The Landscape of the Future of Learning
and to adapt learning material and objectives to
individual students’ learning needs. Technology
will allow teachers to compile personalised
sets of learning materials; to constantly monitor
progress without having to interfere in the
learning process; to re-align learning objectives
and strategies in response to progress made; and
to use a vast variety of engaging and interesting
learning materials that more effectively facilitate
learning.
However, all stakeholders underline that
to realise the potential of ICT in promoting
tailor-made collaborative learning opportunities
that are adaptable, challenging, relevant and
enjoyable, open access and basic digital skills
need to be fostered. Policy makers need to ensure
that all citizens will be able to benefit from the
opportunities offered and that more vulnerable
groups are equipped with the necessary skills
to participate in learning activities that are more
and more technology-based. Similarly, E&T
institutions will need to be provided with the
necessary ICT infrastructure and tools to become
e-mature. Teachers and trainers need to receive
targeted training, enabling them to align pedagogy
and technology to the benefit of their learners.
Guidance is needed for educators, learners and
parents alike on how to best use technology.
3.4 Key Insights: a Descriptive Vision of
Future Learning
The overall vision of the future of learning
emerging from the expert consultations highlights
the importance of new skills and new learning
patterns that are characterised by a tendency
towards personalisation, collaboration and more
informal learning settings, the latter dubbed as
“informalisation” in Figure 19 above for lack of
an appropriate term.
The key drivers for these tendencies are
socio-economic trends and their impact on labour
markets. Future jobs call for targeted and tailor-
made training opportunities, support working
patterns that are increasingly collaborative
and require flexible and accessible learning
opportunities. Because of increased labour market
dynamics, personal, social and learning skills
will become increasingly important. Another key
driver for these changes is ICT, which is also an
enabler to address the arising changes.
Reflecting more in detail on the insights
collected, a number of key trends emerge, that
were repeatedly and consistently highlighted
across all consultations exercises.
First of all, the pre-dominant role of ICT
in driving change, its impact on society and
economy and on education and training,
coupled with its potential for facilitating learning
strategies and opportunities that more adequately
respond to societal change and labour market
requirements, make it a key element in the future
learning landscape. ICT will change what we will
need to learn and how we will learn in 2020-
2030.
Secondly, the role of education and training
institutions will change significantly. With the
emergence of lifelong and life-wide learning
as the central learning paradigm for the future,
traditional E&T institutions will need to reposition
themselves in the emerging learning landscape
of the future. They will need to experiment with
new formats and strategies for learning and
teaching to be able to offer relevant, effective and
high quality learning experiences in the future. In
particular, they will need to more flexibly respond
to individual learners’ needs and changing labour
market requirements. They will need bridge and
mediate between skill demand and supply and
seize the opportunities offered by ICT to better
align the two.
Moreover, learning strategies and
pedagogical approaches will undergo drastic
changes. With the evolution of ICT, constructive
and learner-centred pedagogies will see a revival.
Personalised learning and individual mentoring
will become a reality and teachers will need to be
45
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
trained to exploit the available resources and tools
to support tailor-made learning pathways and
experiences which are motivating and engaging,
but also efficient, relevant and challenging. Along
with changing pedagogies, assessment strategies
and curricula will need to change.
Furthermore, the i