eXact learning solutions white paper       The West’s learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’            ...
European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’to create the circumstances that will bring about a ‘rena...
European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’These figures come from ‘China Daily’. Other relevant stat...
European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’In addition, technology innovators tend to compete, one  ...
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The Wests learning industry urged to experience a Sputnik effect


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The Wests learning industry urged to experience a Sputnik effect

  1. 1. eXact learning solutions white paper The West’s learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’ by Bob LittleSummaryFifty years ago, President Kennedy issued a wake-up call to Americans over the Space Race. Today, the publishing and IT industries in west-ern economies need a similar, urgent call to improve western workforces’ skills and renovate their old, outdated educational establishment.Fabrizio Cardinali, Chair of the European Learning Industry Group and Senior Vice President of Business Development of one of the leadingmobile and online learning content management solutions provider, eXact learning solutions, outlines what he calls ‘the Sputnik Effect’ for thecontemporary learning industry.He also suggests lessons that can be learned from the Florentine Renaissance and outlines the forces which combined to create a perfect’knowledge storm’ in those days. He hopes that a Renaissance 2.0 could hit Europe and help it to compete successfully in global workforcemarkets and in today’s Knowledge Society.Fifty years ago, President Kennedy issued a wake-up call to my now facing competition from emerging nations’ innovationAmericans over the Space Race. Today, the publishing and IT and R&D, it is even more urgent for a stagnating Euro zone.industries in western economies – and especially in Europe- need a similar, urgent call to improve western workforces’skills and renovate their old, outdated educational establish- Parallels with historic industry challengesment. It is possible to draw parallels between the world’s historicOn 12th September 1962, John F Kennedy – the then Presi- industry challenges - such as the one faced by the US aero-dent of the United States of America - committed his country space industry during the Cold War, with its sudden awaken-to the Space Race, saying, “We’ll do it right and do it first, ing after the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik at the endbefore this decade is over.” of the 1950s - and the peculiar challenges and opportunitiesSome seven years later – just within the deadline he’d set - currently facing the West’s publishing and learning technolo-the USA won the Race by putting a man on the moon. gies developers in their task to help their economies survive increasing competition, both for delivering appropriatelyToday, western corporate learning industry leaders need trained students and skilled workers in global markets.similar vision and commitment if they are to help their organi-sations continue to compete and survive global competition To be successful requires combining creativity and innovation.effectively from the emerging world labour and educational Interestingly, such a combination occurred in Europe duringmarkets. the Renaissance, and many people are researching the forces that occurred in those days to make that happen. The aim isWhile this is true for the US, Japan and any developed econo- ~1~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  2. 2. European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’to create the circumstances that will bring about a ‘renais- global challenges - by inventing the ‘next big thing’ in educa-sance 2.0’ perfect knowledge storm. Fortunately, with many tional technologies.2.0 instances patented by many markets, Europe still has the The USSR launching the Sputnik in 1957 - and thus becomingcopyright on the Renaissance - at least intellectually. the first nation into space - gave a wake-up call to the Ameri- can aerospace industry, which had been resting on its laurels in the wake of its world war glories. This call was heeded andThe Medici Effect the Americans reached the Moon first – in 1969.According to Harvard University’s Professor Frans Johansson– the unique factor of the Renaissance was what he termsthe ‘Medici Effect’. In other words, wise investment bankers A challenge to Europebrought together a set of skills from different disciplines to The western publishing and corporate learning industriescreate multi-disciplinary creativity. This is something you can’t today face a similar challenge since countries with emergingreach with mono-sectorial innovation - that is, with publish- economies – beginning with India and China – are carryingers, educationalists and technologists trying to pursue this by out research and development in ‘learning-related things’themselves, each in its own ivory tower. faster.For Michael Gelb, a leading pioneer in creative thinking whose Moreover, there is the issue of demographic drift. This meansworks have been featured in the New York Times, the Wash- that people in western economies are relatively few inington Post and Training Magazine, many of the people who number and, in general, the average age of these countries’lived in Florence during the Renaissance displayed seven populations is rising.habits of creative genius. Factors contributing to the West’s challenges include:Starting with its best known icon, Leonardo da Vinci, thewealth of creative genius that shone during the Renaissance • 1bn workers from the emerging ‘new economies’ (includ-seems to share these seven habits: an insatiable quest for ing China and India) have joined the global labour marketknowledge and continuous improvement, together with the since 2000ability to manage ambiguity and change; learning from experi- • 70% of India’s international trade is involved in providingence; sharpening senses and body/mind fitness, up to ‘whole outsourced services to Western economiesbrain thinking’ and a systemic view of the world. • Government spending on research and development in the new economies has risen by 3.5% annually since 2000A Sputnik effect • In China, by 2020, science and technology innovation willA ‘Sputnik effect’ is needed to restore such habits among be contributing 60 per cent of the country’s economicwestern entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the publish- growthing and learning industries. These entrepreneurs and thoughtleaders now need to collaborate to conceive new generation • By 2020, China’s reliance on key foreign technology willsolutions and business models, not only to survive in their decline to below 30% - compared with more than 50%own businesses but to also help western economies survive now ~2~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  3. 3. European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’These figures come from ‘China Daily’. Other relevant statis- use this knowledge to detect excellence and encourage talenttics include: development and performance support in the peers, students• Eight per cent of the population of Pakistan is under 30 and colleagues who show it. Moreover, innovative learning years old and publishing technology should be generated by multi-dis- ciplinary teams, working together to create innovative learn-• The number of workers at Chrysler who are in the ‘over ing experiences and solutions for our workforces. Something 45’ age bracket has risen from 41% in 2002 to 68% in desperately needed is an increase in the depth of creativity in 2011 today’s learning technologies.• A recent AARP survey has shown that, in the USA, half The last time that creativity was high on Europe’s agenda was of working age Americans expect to work into their 70s during the Florentine Renaissance. As Professor Frans Jo- whether because of financial necessity or by lifestyle hansson states in his book and teaches at Harvard University, choice the Medici family’s investments encouraged people both to• In Japan, the number of people between 15 and 64 is think laterally and to collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams. expected to decline by 740.000 a year for next decade In other words, it created the conditions to encourage creativ- ity, leading to new applications of existing technology and the• In Finland, the employment rate for those aged between discovery of new technological horizons which have remained 60 and 64 has doubled since 1990 and 21% of corporate at the foundation of many sectors and fields - including con- training programmes are now attended by employees temporary science. who are over 50 years of age• The rising median age will cut Europe’s growth by at least one per cent annually for the next three decades Collaborate and co-operateAccording to figures from Outsell, while education and train- In the learning industry context, we need the West’s competinging market revenues in the Americas have remained around companies to come together, to collaborate and co-operate.the $60bn a year mark from 2007 to 2010, these revenues inthe Asia Pacific region have risen steadily in that period from We may tend to expect – and wait for - creativity and tech-around $8bn to some $25bn a year. Significantly, revenues for nological innovation to come from large, global companies.education and training spending in EMEA have fallen consist- Yet, during the Renaissance, Venice had a population of justently from some $28bn to only $15bn. 90,000 people; Rome had 35,000 inhabitants and Renais- sance Florence only had 40,000 inhabitants. In those days, it would have taken three months to go from Florence to Amboise in France - as Leonardo did when he took the ‘MonaReducing the corporate learning ‘missile gap’ Lisa’ on a donkey ride to the French court. Thus, creativity andIn 1962, President Kennedy said, ‘We need to reduce our innovation are not the sole preserves of large or fast develop-missile gap’ and then set in motion the processes to bring ing organisations. Rather, ’adaptive’ and ‘personalised‘ mightthis about. Today, the West needs to reduce its learning ‘mis- be the key features of next generation technologies and ofsile gap’. But we can leverage the long-lasting educational the most effective contents used to teach our children andexperience and creativity we have on our side. To do this, we train our employees.need to understand the essence of creativity and genius – and ~3~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  4. 4. European learning industry urged to experience a ‘Sputnik effect’In addition, technology innovators tend to compete, one The best digital content that will survive will be the contentagainst the other. All of Renaissance Florence was pervaded that’s designed to better adapt to new learning delivery tech-by a unique mood – or an ‘aere’ (air) as written in old Italian nologies and devices.contemporary poetry - of cooperation and competition. Thismeant that artists worked together, experimenting in cross-sectorial innovation far more than in vertical silos – which is Views visuallyhow contemporary science separates subject matter domains These views are outlined in a presentation by Fabrizio Cardi-and expertise. These are arbitrary demarcation lines which nali, Chair of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) andweren’t there during the Renaissance but were subsequently CEO of eXact learning solutions, at the Corporate Plenary atshaped by modern science. Online Educa in Berlin, the world’s largest educational tech-Today, the learning technologies industry needs to re-engage nologies event. To see this presentation, visit:in lateral thinking and competition - still competing but taking http://www.online-educa.com/audio-video-1019risks together. The key issue here is speed. In other words, wemust do things rather than just talk about them. At the veryleast, we need to do what China or India is doing in terms ofinvestment in skills development and new learning technolo- About the Authorgies. Moreover, we need to do it as fast as they are doing it – For over 20 years, Bob Little has specialised in writing about, and commen-but we need to find our own creative and innovative strategies tating on, corporate learning – especially eLearning – and technology-relat-and solutions to the issue of performance support and talent ed subjects. His work has been published in the UK, Continental Europe, thedevelopment. USA and AustraliaInspiration from Charles DarwinWhen it comes to being successful at surviving the increas-ingly challenging issues surrounding global competition - andestablishing something of a world lead – we can turn toCharles Darwin for inspiration. eXact learning solutions eXact learning solutions, formerly Giunti Labs, is a leading online and mobile learning content management and digital repository solutions provider, offering a wide range of tools and servicesDarwin’s precepts teach us that it’s not the smartest, the for content development, management and delivery, covering: • Multi-language bespoke learning content production‘best’ or the wisest who’ll survive the current economic chal- • Content management and digital repository platforms • Mobile learning technologieslenges. Nor will it be the best trained trainee and the best • Consulting and professional servicestaught student. Rather, those who survive will be those who’re The company has over fifteen years of experience and more than 100 clients worldwide. Our technological innovations allow enterprises to improve their organizational performance, and achieve significant reductions in business costs.the most adaptive.Similarly, it’s not the most expensive or even the best edu- eXact learning solutions - Headquarters Abbazia dell’Annunziatacational design content that will succeed and stand the test Via Portobello - Baia del Silenzio 16039 Sestri Levante (GE) Italyof time. Those who’ll be the most successful in the market- Tel +39.0185.4761place are those who can adapt most quickly to new jobs and Fax +39.0185.43.347profiles. www.exact-learning.com ~4~ © eXact learning solutions 2012