The world has shifted, times have changed, and we continue to move rapidly into an unprecedented and unpredictable future. Although still in the early stages, Industry 4.0 will continue to impact every aspect of our lives. What makes Industry 4.0 significantly different is both the extent and pace of change it brings, driven by the convergence of the Internet of things, big data, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. These trends are demand driven for hyper-connectedness and hyper-personalisation. This is giving rise to a new breed of organisation, a new breed of worker and a new breed of learner.
We may be digital immigrants, but the use of technology has become part of our daily lives. We have embraced the information age, and we are adaptively learning how to deal with our hyperlinked society, and are continuously looking for creative ways to set boundaries around the way in which we expose ourselves and take in all of the information around us. We are becoming skilled multitaskers able to work with a multitude of content within the connected global village: balancing this with the practice of mindfulness. We are re-proving the importance of experiential learning through our personal transformation.
This brave new information age we entered did not come with a training guide, no facilitation notes and certainly no e-learning module. But what there has been is the unknown, the openness to asking “big” questions, the willingness to explore and experience a variety of answers. More content is now being written on how we need to shift into creating learning experiences for learners, crafting learning journeys for them composed of knowledge nuggets. We are suddenly talking about this “new breed of learner” with shorter attention spans, who like bite-sized knowledge delivered just in time. But I contest this, haven’t we always been this way? Is it not that before this exponential growth in technology we were forced into an unnatural learning environment?
Sticking people into classrooms and feeding them information almost intravenously is not learning! This unnatural learning system is one that was set up out of convenience—driven by metrics like bums on seats, previously unquestioned by the status quo, in which we were too afraid to try, too afraid to be curious, too afraid to question, too afraid to step out of our comfort zone. But, our comfort zone is not where learning takes place! Learning happens at the edge of chaos, when we grapple with information to regain equilibrium! It is this through this rubbing of old against new world views that new neural pathways are developed, this is literally how we “change our minds”—through changing our neural networks!