Paradigm Shifts in Education/Workforce Development

I read a very diverse range of materials…and today while I’m not registered to participate in the SXSWedu conference in Austin, I was perusing the conference agenda and the session information.  I found it interesting that several representatives from the XQ The Super School Project will be presenting.  The XQ Super School Project has moved from a national competition to a national movement to reimagine high school. I find the project intriguing as many of it’s proponents have discussed the need for radically changing the traditional for-credit classroom into more of an informal education environment for learning…. in my mind, moving toward what the Extension model has done well for a long time. I also find much of their materials fascinating in that I believe that it really does represent the trends I’m seeing in technology, workforce development, the public schools and in the communities I work and play in. I can’t speak to whether I wholeheartedly believe in the XQ project because I’m just not familiar enough with it.  I can say however that I think some time reflecting on how we are educating and working is always a good idea. This morning though I found myself spending some time ruminating on some of their materials.

In particular, I found the following XQ chart fascinating. While we don’t know definitively what the future workforce will look like and what jobs will be in the future, we can identify some trends that will shape those jobs.  Makes me wonder whether we should be starting a competition/movement to discuss how these changes are going to effect Extension as a national endeavor.

Jobs that were once performed by humans are quickly being replaced by machines or sent to lower-cost markets. What does this mean for young people’s future work lives and the demands they will face? Here are some examples of the shift in requirements from the old paradigm to the new knowledge economy.
Old Paradigm Knowledge Economy
  • Follows orders
  • Product driven
  • Climbs the corporate ladder
  • Boss creates directives, and change takes time
  • Face-to-face meetings in the office
  • 9 to 5
  • Lifelong employment
  • Resume
  • Commutes to office
  • Completes given tsks
  • Domain specialization
  • Co-creates plan to achieve goals
  • Customer driven
  • Seeks leadership opportunities
  • Team responds quickly and strategically
  • Office? What office?
  • Flex time
  • Changes jobs often
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Works remotely
  • Pursues goals creatively
  • Agility across domains


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