At the forefront of an education revolution

Kirsty Chadwick - Group CEO at TTRO..jpg

The world is currently at the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – also called Industry 4.0 – which is described as the stage in our development when technology becomes embedded in every aspect of society. It involves ongoing interactions between people and technology that will redefine how we go about our everyday lives.

“You need only look at companies like Airbnb (hotel accommodation), Amazon (retail) and Uber (taxi services) to appreciate how swiftly Industry 4.0 is transforming the business world,” says Kirsty Chadwick, Group Chief Executive Officer at The Training Room Online (TTRO). Her organization is applying various new and emerging technologies to revolutionise the field of Human Capital Development with the end-goal being to upskill and empower people for the ‘now’ and for the future.

Chadwick warns that learners will not have the necessary competencies to thrive in an Industry 4.0 workplace unless radical changes are made to the current inflexible school curriculums. “We need to leverage the latest thinking in adaptive learning, artificial intelligence, game-based learning and both augmented and virtual reality to lift education methodologies to the next level – we must create an Education 4.0 or Learning 4.0 to match the fast pace of Industry 4.0,” she says.

TTRO is a market leader in the design and implementation of digital learning solutions to make learners and jobseekers ‘future fit’. Locally they are building digital platforms to help some of the Sectoral Education Training Authorities (SETAs) to digitize and facilitate SETA-accredited training. “We are also bringing systemic change through our partnership with the Department of Basic Education to introduce cloud-based digital access to the entire CAPS curriculum,” says Chadwick.

This platform will give children, parents and teachers equal opportunity to access content and uplift themselves. Teachers will not be replaced by digital learning solutions; but the role that they play in learner outcomes will evolve over time. Studies show, for example, that advances in the application of artificial intelligence can improve teachers’ performance with a consequent improvement in learner outcomes.

TTRO, which has offices in Cape Town (HQ), Johannesburg, Riyadh and Dubai, has also launched a Saudi Arabian-based project to upskill its citizens, create new jobs, new industry and promote the small medium enterprise development. Their ‘Innovation Center for Learning 4.0’ is a state-of-the-art digital learning hub comprising a combination of targeted, adaptive and practical training programmes to take individuals on a lifelong education journey.

“We are working towards a secure ‘now’ by ensuring that our existing education methodologies are implemented effectively – at the same time we cannot afford further delays in developing digital learning solutions that deliver skillsets for the future,” says Chadwick. She admits that identifying these skillsets is tricky due to the constantly changing workplace.

Experts predict that two out of three children entering primary school today will end up working in new job types that do not yet exist; half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree will be outdated by the time students graduate; and 40% of the future skills required in key jobs in any given industry are not yet part of the core skillset of these functions today. The only insight comes from thought leadership studies such as the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report titled ‘The Future of Jobs’ which lists complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity as the top three workplace skills for 2020. 

Education specialists will have to impart these and other ‘future fit’ skills through intelligent, personalised and machine-driven digital learning. Their collective goal will be to use technology as an enabler to transform traditional education systems and deliver highly-skilled individuals capable of supporting future economies.

Industry 4.0 will forever change the employment landscape and will demand that both learners and employees expand their skillsets to remain relevant; but there is no need for panic. “The good news is that Industry 4.0 gives us the tools to solve the employment problems that it creates – we will leverage technology to deliver digital learning solutions that will prepare learners for the future work environment,” concludes Chadwick.

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