Our earlier analysis suggested that #EducationDay needs to also embrace the needs of adults. As AI becomes more ubiquitous, every day must be an international day of learning, for everyone. But how does this look in the day-to-day grind of normal life? How are businesses, in particular, engaging in education?

We found a few practitioners from across the spectrum who were happy to weigh in. Some are clients, some are partners, many are professionals whose views we respect. Here is what they see.

Starting with those who are officially in the business of education, who are often fortunate enough to have engaged students and/or leadership sponsor continuous education. Clare Gillan is a lecturer at Babson College and is seeing the need to adapt.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway and is already disrupting how companies, governments, and individuals operate. Educators must prepare learners of all kinds for how to adapt and to remain adaptable in a world that will be especially fluid as digital, physical, and biological spheres merge and morph. Educators themselves must also adapt to who, what, where, when, and how they teach. It is both an exciting and disruptive time for all private and public sectors – and for people everywhere.

Damian Wong leads Confluent’s business across Asia Pacific and sees a similar need to adapt, with a bias towards self-sufficiency.

Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.  The emphasis of education needs to shift from learning facts and theories to learning about how to learn more effectively and constantly adapting these learnings to our environments and lives, to address changing real-world wants and needs. That is going to be the secret to success, as the world changes ever faster.

Technology providers have long recognised the need to provide education and training to accelerate the adoption of new possibilities. Greg Estes is VP for Corporate Marketing and Developer Programs at NVIDIA, and naturally has a strong AI-driven driven perspective:

“AI is impacting every industry, and everyone from engineers to executives needs to continually learn new skills to maintain competitiveness. Our Deep Learning Institute provides training and other resources to help developers, researchers, IT experts, and executives solve their most challenging problems. We’ve already trained over 200,000 people, and are seeing an ever-growing demand for AI education.” 

Change management consultants are exposed to issues that may not be visible to the rest of us. Stefan Norberg from Abaxum helps data centers modernise, with a specific focus on energy efficiency.

Education today is often and in many countries and organisations well geared up to educate on subjects of the past. Artificial Intelligence is not only for the well educated, but it is also for everyone. However, in order to identify the applications, the products, or the public-interest services based on AI we need “general” people to understand general concepts and ideas around AI. Education is about teaching things for the future, not of the past!

Online education and training providers have emerged to satisfy the self-service crowd. Skills You Need offers bite-sized modules that invites engagement over a longer period. Founder Matthew Scott explains the growth in diagnostics.

We have seen a huge increase in the number of people doing the Skills You Need Interpersonal Skills Self-Assessment over the last few years, across all age groups. This shows that there is a big appetite for personal development, especially in soft skills, and perhaps not many resources providing what is needed. There is also no question that your interpersonal skills tend to improve with age and experience!”

AI market leader SAS Software has long championed the need for lifelong learning. Skilling-up clients compete more effectively is important. As is empowering employees to embrace new realities. Barbara Anthony is a Learning and Development Advocate at SAS Software.

Learning journeys should never come to an end; that’s why they’re considered “lifelong”

Design thinking is increasingly touted as the breakthrough we need to win in an AI-driven economy. Designers need to work around limitations and constraints to create new markets. Erich Hugo is Interdisciplinary Business Developer, founder and director at BAS Interesting Times Gang

Education is key in implementing the future world we are currently creating. A knowledgeable consumer and citizen make educated choices. This doesn’t just pertain to the technological world we are living in but also safeguards our democracies and ethical choices. In the last few years, the world has been blighted by uneducated choices due to neglected and capitalised education systems. The good news is that it is a reversible trend as progress, both morally and technological wise, is unavoidable.

One consequence of the aging population is that the elderly too have the opportunity to embrace new technologies, and new possibilities. The Golden Concepts based in Singapore specialises in technology for the home-bound.  Vanessa Keng, its co-founder weighs in on the value of experiential learning:

In this day and age, education is increasingly accessible to everyone. Education is important, but more so is the interest in learning. This ensures we continue to learn every day not just through formal education, but also from the people whom we meet and the experiences we encounter.

Industry analysts are in the business of education; we just give it a slightly more fancy term. Martin Hingley from IT Candor reminds us that tecnology itself plays a crucial role in the re-imagining of education:

Education is the key to improving the prospects of individuals, families, and communities  – it is not just for the gifted. One of the IT industry’s most positive contributions is the Internet, which has truly ‘democratised’ learning. The IT industry is full of unquestioned assumptions. I’ve found it essential to challenge them as far as possible and to try to grab the truth from multiple perspectives. Both my parents and five of my brothers and sisters have been teachers, so I was born to have a positive attitude towards the benefits – and a realistic one about it as a profession!..

Communicating ideas, especially in a rapidly transforming digital world, requires careful storytelling balance between empathy with your audience and advancing the new possible. Rikke Sternberg from Inspire takes lifelong learning personally, to the benefit of her clients
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Learning never ends, even if education does. I welcome a future in which digitization further democratizes education as well as lifelong learning, formal and informal, for people of all ages and backgrounds around the world.

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As a final outlook, we wanted to include the unfolding importance of ecosystems. Amelia Agrawal is Business Management Director for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Sales for its cloud business, and understands the importance of community.

Beyond the basics of reading/writing, I feel today’s education is a syllabus of varied truth. Formal educational institutions now have to contend with social media platforms as their co-pilot in the learning journey, willing or not. There are and will be, many lenses on history, currency and the future. This is both a relief and a worry. Whoever controls the syllabus, controls the understanding of, shaping of, and potentially the manipulation of the truth. ‘Oran a azu nwa’ – it really does take a village to raise a child, but good mastery and governance of the village are key.

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