Paul Higgins: Good thoughts Martin. I am doing a project on the future skills and training requirements for the Agrifood in Australia and your points on context specific learning are very similar to what I am thinking, especially as jobs and technology are likely to be changing and diversifying far more quickly in 10 years.
With college costs skyrocketing and the number of jobs for new grads on the decline, it’s no wonder that students are questioning whether a degree is worth the investment. But given that the jobs of the future are projected to require some form of post-secondary education, a key question is how to provide academic knowledge and industry-specific training that will prepare students for the future. The answer might come from a throwback to the Middle Ages: apprenticeships.
I have been arguing that apprenticeships will emerge again for a number of different reasons than the increasing price of college education:
today’s job tasks are increasingly more reliant on context specific knowledge, non academic skills, personal capabilities and practical working skills (project leadership, time management…) than what we usually want to acknowledge - what we learn in college is usually the generic part, but when that generic part is decreasing in importance so is the value of going to college
colleges and universities are not very good at looking outside their faculty to ensure that they are relevant for the rest of the society for the simple reason that they often think they are in the center of the universe - a stance that today’s conscious students recognize and despise, and which is on it’s way to render much of the knowledge that is taught as well as the methods for organizing and teaching irrelevant
the urge to increase the number of college graduates continues deteriorate the quality of the education
because of the success of the higher educational model during the last century colleges and universities have developed into centralized and administratively heavy mass manufacturing plants – and when the society needs other models for learning, entrepreneurial speed is usually much faster than speed of the incumbent’s
An apprentice model is surely one of many approaches that we will see challenge the traditional college model.