How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

Smartphones 2018

UNICEF / Joshua Estey A student from St. Francis or Assisi School and other girls, check their smartphones after classes in the Central Visayas city of Cebu, Philippines.

This article is offered to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European stitch with the World Economic Forum.

Author: So-Young Kang, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Gnowbe

The future of the work is changing fast. With the emergence of machines and automation, we must give our employees the opportunity to use skills from the 21st century to keep them deployable. But how do we empower billions of people who may never have set foot in a classroom? How do we give them universal access to education and are they ready for the future?

One of the biggest challenges we face today is how to close the rapidly growing skills gap. Experts from McKinsey and PWC estimate that between 30-50% of jobs will be the domain of robots and AI in the next decade.

If this is true, we have to ask ourselves: what distinguishes us from robots? What are our unique qualities as people? And how can we use our strengths to remain relevant on a large scale?

We need a fundamental disruption of how we train and develop people for the 21st century. Learning must be about the soft skills rather than memorizing terms or preparing for jobs that will not exist. When it comes to complete tasks, machines can do it faster and better than we can. So which skills should we train and develop?

The good news is that we know what skills are needed to develop. The World Economic Forum published a list of the 10 skills needed to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of the The Future of Jobs report. For simplicity, I refer to this top 10 list as the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. These are the skills that robots and AI still can not do as well as people.

So how do we develop these 4Cs on scale and speed?

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to redefine the learning objectives and learn how we can deliver the content anytime, anywhere, to promote the idea of ​​shared learning and a mindset of lifelong learning.

    A map that compares the educational approach of the First and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

A map that compares the educational approach of the First and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Image: Awaken Group

To scale these mindsets, we have no choice but to use technology to enable us to do this at scale and speed. The global unemployment rate among young people is 13% (3x higher than that of adults), according to the International Labor Organization. Time is essential. A new way of learning and teaching to develop the 4C & # 39; s. We call it MPPG: Mobile-first, Participatory, Personalized, Group-based learning.

Mobile-first design

Since more than 44% of the world's population owns a smartphone, how can we use this device to close the fast-growing skills gap and allow people to take more responsibility for their own education? Now that the number of mobile users is greater than that of PCs, we have to design with a student in mind who probably is not behind a PC but maybe on the road. When designing for this mobile student, we have to be content always and everywhere bite-sized, interesting, swipeable and accessible. This is the power of mobile-first versus mobile-responsive learning.


With the level of stimulation to which people have become accustomed, the need to invite co-creation and participation is a crucial part of the development of the 4Cs. Ultimately, education should invite people to participate in their learning experiences – not just passive reading articles or watching videos. When students participate in their learning experience, the ownership of learning increases, increasing the chance of application, which is the true value of knowledge. Learners need to develop critical thinking to reflect on the challenges they face in the fourth industrial revolution.

    The future of learning. Image: Gnowbe

The future of learning. Image: Gnowbe


If we take on the same challenge, each of us will react differently based on our backgrounds and experiences, so let us evolve further than using overly simplified multiple-choice assessments to test knowledge. In a world characterized by VUCA volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – we must develop critical thinking and assessment skills so that each person is able to form his own opinions and perspectives. Learning must provide space for individuals to give their own answers, so that learning is personalized and relevant for different contexts. After listening to a lecture our takeaways will be different, so let's create space and time for personal reflection in learning.

-Group based on

Deeper learning takes place when adults debate, discuss and learn from each other and share their knowledge and experiences. This is also called & social learning & # 39; called. Embedding group-based learning in the fundamental architecture of education is essential for encouraging the sharing of behavior. Sharing and working in groups develops communication and collaboration skills.

We live in more complex, uncertain times, in an era in which people and tech learn to deal with each other. We hardly have time to develop the skills and mindsets of the 21st century and to close the growing gaps in employability. We need to develop new perspectives and ways to develop skills on a large scale. Based on the latest available adult science science, MPPG offers a practical framework for moving in the right direction.

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