1-Sentence-Summary: Long Life Learning questions the current educational systems worldwide in relation to an increasing trend in job automation, growing life expectancy, and a devaluation in higher degrees, all with a strong focus on the future of work and urgency to adapt to it.
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Favorite quote from the author:
Technology has revolutionized the way we live. Our everyday lives revolve around smart devices that can ease our work both professionally and at home. For some, automation is a blessing that allows them to work more efficiently. However, some see it as an imminent threat that can cause them to remain jobless.
So which one is the truth? The answer is both. Due to the dynamics of today’s environment, people and companies have to adapt rapidly to technological changes. And those who fail to do so will remain unemployed and burdened by financial and social troubles.
The only solution is to change our educational system and prepare for these rapid shifts in trends. Our current system prepares us for an outdated life path, where a college and a major would guarantee a job and financial stability. Add a family and a house to that, and you get the traditional life we were all taught to pursue.
However, the times change drastically. Therefore, education must be a continuous part of our lives, as skills need to adapt to modern advancements. Moreover, we have to prepare to meet the needs of a population with an increased life expectancy.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- The primary focus of an employer should be the talents and skills of his employees.
- Developing new skills requires a “learning by doing” approach and targeted education programs.
- A fair and honest hiring process is favorable for both employers and employees.
Lesson 1: The future of work lies within the skills of the workforce.
Many people find themselves at some point in their careers when they feel like quitting or changing their professional paths completely. As life expectancy grows, people start considering this even midlife. However, some find it difficult to do so, as they lack the luxury to just quit their jobs and pursue a different career.
Still, workers over 50 aren’t going anywhere, as pension funds and the Social Security Trust Fund are no longer a safe retirement choice due to lack of money. Instead, they require training according to their skills and the market demand to keep up with this working environment.
More than that, companies should integrate the people who have no budget for education into the working environment. Therefore, companies will invest more in R&D and training programs tailored for each worker, as this will save money in the long term by having a more efficient and integrated workforce.
AI-driven software will shape the future that will allow individuals to pursue their interests and develop skills accordingly.
Both employees and employers should start focusing on the demand and supply of commonly needed skills and how to tackle the challenges that come with training and developing them.
Lesson 2: Learning and working concomitantly is the new way of learning skills.
Automation is here to stay. People who have been working in repetitive jobs or jobs that robots can easily replace should expect this. However, they can do something to become a part of this transition rather than getting left behind.
For starters, it is essential to acknowledge these changes and not resist them. People should embrace this progressive change and know their options. For example, if self-driving vehicles replace a factory machinist, it still needs monitoring by someone with the skills to do so.
Therefore, the right approach is to learn during the job with the help of training programs especially designed to develop the skills we need. Targeted education programs are a great solution. Plus, with the help of virtual reality, trained individuals can now experience a more practical approach to learning.
Other ways to train adults through targeted education are on-ramps. These are programs that teach adults different sets of skills and place them into a local working environment. Adults can benefit from these short programs of learning and gain skills to advance in their careers or switch to new ones.
Lesson 3: Fairness and transparency in hiring are beneficial for all parties involves.
The job matching process of today isn’t well structured. Instead of quality, employers seek large quantities of applications, then screen them rapidly without really getting to know their candidates. Ultimately, the two rarely meet or hear from each other. As a result, the job market has a significant shortage of skilled workforce.
Another common issue is related to the expectations that come with a job. Often, employers advertise an entry-level position but require expertise in the field. Therefore, they receive applications from confused prospects. This only results in frustration on both parties. The true problem is rooted in a phenomenon called “credential inflation.”
Since employers are looking for higher degrees as a prerequisite rather than a bonus, applicants feel the need to add more qualities in their resumes to stand out from the rest. So instead, the market should be centered around Collegiate Learning Assessments, which are based on a 90-minutes performance-based task.
Using real-life situations, applicants can prove their worth through practical tests. These assessments can demonstrate far more than one’s credentials and help match the two parties better. Moreover, applicants and employers should embrace new types of resumes based on skills that derive from certain situations and if the prospects meet job-related criteria or not.
Long Life Learning Review
Long Life Learning draws a comparison between the current state of the working environment and its future through the perspective of a progressive eye. The relationship between employers and employees lacks the means to achieve long-term sustainability, while the educational system fails to prepare students for the dynamic job market. The readers will get an insight into the future and learn how to prepare for it by reading this book.
Who would I recommend the Long Life Learning summary to?
The person who is curious about the future of work, such as a professor or an entrepreneur, the college graduate who is interested in pursuing a degree in a lucrative field, or business leaders trying to foster a modern working environment and adapt to the trends.