Undoubtedly, this is an age of disruption.
This newly edited volume by Sungsup Ra, Shanti Jagannathan, and Rupert Maclean titled “Powering a Learning Society During an Age of Disruption” critically discusses the roles and benefits of encouraging and actively promoting effective lifelong learning societies during a time of all-pervasive change. This change is occurring within individual countries, at the regional level, and worldwide. With digitalization, increasing life expectancy, and the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, creating a learning society to promote active lifelong learning has become more important than ever.
The major areas of change examined, all of which have important implications for the patterns, content, and modalities of education and training, include (but are not limited to) the COVID-19 pandemic; the fourth industrial revolution and its implications; and technological change including the internet, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Each of these major changes is creating disruptions that throw into question the foundations and taken-for-granted assumptions upon which education and training are based.
In the view of many of the authors of the articles represented in this collection, each of whom is an opinion leader in their respective areas of expertise, this may well require the “re-engineering of education and training” to adequately accommodate such fundamental change.
As an abstract from the preface emphasizes: “We are undergoing an age of disruption prompted by the fourth industrial revolution that brings together increased automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence, but also by accelerating climate change and recently, by a global health disruptor, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The onus of dealing with these unprecedented disruptions, and growing uncertainties lie with current and future
generations of students, learners, and workers. Addressing these challenges can be encapsulated into one action: developing a learning society, where people learn how to learn, not just what to learn, to cope with disruptions and turn them into opportunities…”
Workplace-Based Training in the European Union and the Experience of Skillman
A full chapter of the book is dedicated to Skillman, illustrating its origins and the background against which the network was formed, focusing on the EU policies and challenges associated with skills mismatch. The context in which the tools and solutions of the Skillman Network have evolved, their current features, and how they were designed and implemented in the era of coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) are discussed in the section. The Skillman tools and the solutions presented are Skills Anticipation Wave (SAW); Global Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) Framework, a transnational platform of CoVEs for emerging skills in advanced manufacturing; Peer Learning Clubs (PLCs); and Skillman’s Self-Assessment Tool (SAT).