2 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
The Rapidly Changing World 4
The Changing World of Work 4
The Changing World of Education 5
The Intense Competition 7
New Thinking – New Strategy 8
Thinking Shift 1 – Actively Prepare for the New Worlds of Employment (and Self-Employment) 9
Thinking Shift 2 – Invest in Technology to Deliver Student Success and Employment 12
Thinking Shift 3 – Increase Transparency and Accountability 15
Summary and Call for Actions 16
Note A – Key Technologies for Further Education Reform 18
Note B – Microsoft, Intel Solutions and Certifications 21
The work we do has changed dramatically
in the last 20 years. Technology has
automated many traditional manual,
high routine jobs that have been the
mainstay of college success and this
trend will continue faster than ever before.
Even information workers are no longer immune to automation. Indeed, 47% of
job categories are open to automation in the next two decades. Only non-routine
work will continue to provide jobs in the long term.
The nature of the work we do has also changed, as described in Gazelle’s
. Careers characterised by long-term, well-defined employment
in a single organisation still exist, but their number is shrinking. Instead, jobs
regularly change as organisations outsource to suitable locations (onshore and
offshore) for optimal outcome. Technology has lowered the barrier for entry and
enables entrepreneurs and small organisations (6 to 10 people) to trade locally,
nationally and globally. These small organisations and entrepreneurs will continue
to grow in number and specialism to form micro-experts in the macro-economy5
In short, organisations will increasingly operate and collaborate within a global
networked economy of differing sizes. We need to ask what we are doing in our
colleges to take account of this changing employment landscape.
The nature of the work we do has started to change as described by Coplin
in Business Reimagined.6
Coplin argues that the source of organisational
competitiveness is to enable people to be fully engaged, fully creative and
productive. His answer involves:
Empowering employees to work anywhere, anytime of their choosing.
Enabling employees to leverage their collective knowledge by creating
culture of transparency and collaboration.
A management style that empowers employees to have shared ownership
We need to ask whether our colleges are adjusting their internal culture to
create the competitiveness that Coplin refers to.
Fundamental shifts have occurred before in the industrial age but this time the pace
of change is significantly faster as technology makes it easier to try out new business
models. Individuals with the right skills will capture a significant proportion of wealth
whilst the remainder face shrinking opportunities with lower earnings.
In this landscape, Coplin advocates that education should become more destination-
oriented, focusing on where students will get employment or start companies as
well as acquiring formal vocational skills. This involves a change of emphasis away
from simple acquisition of qualifications to a more applied and commercially
relevant real world approach. He argues that colleges need to equip students with
long-lasting skills such as teamworking, digital fluency, and entrepreneurship as
well as how to learn effectively as the foundation for their lifelong learning. College
leaders, he suggests, need to create physical and technological environments
that can support and deliver applied learning and competitive advantage. Coplin
questions whether college leaders have the expertise, training and confidence to
deliver technology change at the pace required.
The Rapidly Changing World
The Changing World of Work
47%of job categories
in the next two decades
are open to
Source: “the Future of Employment” by Frey & Osborne 2013
Individuals with the right skills will capture a significant proportion of wealth whilst the
remainder face shrinking opportunities with lower earnings.
4 “Enterprising Futures – Changing Landscape and New Possibilities for Further Education” by Gazelle in 2012
5 “Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and
Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy”, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Digital Frontier Press, 2011
6 “Business Reimagined: why work isn’t working and what you can do about it”, by Dave Coplin, Harriman House, 2013
4 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
The Changing World of Education continued
College leaders need to ask themselves
whether these five technologies are
effectively located in their strategy and
in their investment planning for growth
The Rapidly Changing World
6 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
Given the preferences of the younger generations and the economic reality
of declining college budgets, it is no longer sustainable to use technology
just to enhance traditional methods and deliver “more of the same for less”.
The transformative capability of technology enables colleges to enhance and
replace traditional methods of learning delivery in ways that create real value
for students. We can reduce the cost of traditional learning while building
new services that can increase employment and increase the confidence of
Figure 2 - An example of learning pathway program
A scenario using the five key technologies:
Jimmy has just started college and hopes to run his own company. As many of his
peers, he enjoys using ‘apps’ and playing games. He is inspired by Dong Nguyen
who creates the Flappy Bird game and earns tens of thousands of dollars a day.
Having watched Dragon’s Den however, Jimmy is realistic and knows there is
more to running a business than being a talented app developer. He is also open
to running non-IT businesses.
Given Jimmy’s aspiration and his GCSE achievements, his tutor uses the Learning
Pathway programme (below) to work with Jimmy on alternative paths. They co-create a
learning programme specific to Jimmy, which combines the theory of entrepreneurship
with the practical experience of running a real life app development business. Jimmy’s
learning is supplemented by games, virtual trainers9
and projects where real life
experience does not provide sufficient depth.
On a day to day basis, Jimmy’s learning is regularly validated with mini-exercises and he
is awarded with badges. The exercises capture not only Jimmy’s final answers, but also
how he arrives at the answers and how long he takes. This allows his tutor to determine
the specific areas that require intervention. The information from these exercises also
serves to auto-generate the next set of learning content, which are set at “just enough
difficulty” to challenge Jimmy whilst encouraging him to the next mini-goal and badge.
Coached by his tutor, Jimmy is adept at building his professional network from his
personal network and vice versa. He uses social network sites to connect with like-
minded peers, employers, entrepreneurs, locally and around the world.
Just as Jimmy learns from his professional and personal network, the coaches in his
college also work as a team of facilitators. They use technology to share their students’
aspirations and progress. They complement each other to further their students’ goals.
9 For example, Virtual Welder http://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/news-archive/virtual-trainer-to-inspire-young-welders
Windows App Development
App Design and
Get Started Developing
Windows Store Apps
The process of change to reflect the new realities of funding and customer
needs has begun in the sector e.g. increased focus on apprenticeships,
entrepreneurship, online learning as well as the work by the Further
Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG)10
. This rapidly
changing world requires a step-change in our thinking. We propose
three integrated thinking shifts which encompass change in culture,
organisation, policy, leadership and technology, as shown in Figure 3,
for consideration and debate.
New Thinking - New Strategy
8 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
Figure 3 - The new strategy with
three integrated thinking shifts
for the new world
Emphasising the horizontal part of the “T” - The fast changing nature of the
global economy means that businesses large and small are increasingly emphasising
the horizontal aspect of the T-shaped student when undertaking recruitment. In
the most recent CBI growth report11
, the CBI clearly identify the innovative, resilient,
persistent and enterprising skills base as critical for growth in the economy. This is
evident by the phenomenon of “enterprise social” in many industries, which refers
to the ability for employees in an enterprise to collaborate and to share knowledge
and expertise with each other and with customers and partners.
Finding innovative ways to embed digital skills as a core element of a
student’s learning programme - Many jobs now require digital skills. This is
especially important for entrepreneurs and small businesses where workers must
be confident users of IT, not only to run an efficient business, but also to find and
combine knowledge to generate new business. The criticality of digital skills is
recognised by UNESCO’s creation of an ICT framework for teachers12
is adopted en masse in Morocco and Netherlands, and US13
. There are those
that would argue that digital functional skills should be on a par with Maths
and English. The sector is already significantly challenged however to create the
space and recruit the staff to deliver the GCSE Maths and English outcomes the
government require. Instead we need to create additional space for students
to learn and develop digital skills at the highest level. In many instances this
will have to be by self-organised learning, peer group support and the use of
volunteering employer mentors.
Incorporating entrepreneurial learning – We must equip students with
entrepreneurship as a core skill. Many entrepreneurs develop this skill throughout
their lives, rather than in business and management institutions. To foster a
generation of self-confident, independent and resourceful learners, we need to
build entrepreneurial thought and action into the DNA of the student experience.
Entrepreneurship needs to be developed throughout education, to train them in
the fundamentals of business creation and management.
All the evidence suggests that we need to incorporate entrepreneurial learning
into the methodology of our teaching and learning practice. Across the globe,
fee paying students and company executives invest large sums in developing
entrepreneurial thought and action as a practice, individually and corporately.
If it is so valued by this group, why should it not become an integral part of our
vocational curriculum? Self-sufficiency, resourcefulness, an ability to learn from
others and an optimism and experimentation has to be at the core of students’
experience if they are to operate within a new world of work environment. We
must resist the temptation to teach through traditional qualification based
routes: instead we need to create the conditions where students can practice
entrepreneurship and learn through trial and error.
Emphasising learning at work and through work - All the evidence in the first
two years of the Gazelle colleges’ experimentation demonstrates that learning
is accelerated significantly through placing students directly in employment
or social enterprise competitive environments. These students gain skills
demonstrably faster, are more highly motivated, and are significantly more
likely to embark upon a career that is linked to that experience.
Learning is accelerated significantly through
placing students directly in employment or
social enterprise competitive environments
We need to incorporate entrepreneurial
learning into the methodology of our
teaching and learning practice
10 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
New Thinking - New Strategy
11 CBI Tomorrow’s growth: New routes to higher skills http://issuu.com/the-cbi/docs/tomorrow_s_growth_
12 UNESCO ICT Competency Frame for Teachers http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/themes/icts/teacher-education/
Figure 5 – A blend of learning, with emphasis on unstructured, and self-direction
(source: Chief Learning Officer)
12 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
New Thinking - New Strategy
Thinking Shift 2 – Invest in Technology to
Deliver Student Success and Employment
The changes described in this paper cannot easily be achieved without a
transformation in understanding how technology can deliver and support
the learning vision of the corporation. There is clear evidence across the
sector of investments in technology which are largely driven by either
suppliers or by senior leaders within colleges who may or may not have the
necessary acumen to invest in the areas of greatest impact.
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) offer a high degree of flexibility and
student empowerment. To succeed in today’s climate colleges should find ways
to combine the high achievement rates of the best traditional learning with the
technical advantages of MOOC-like delivery. Introducing a higher blend of self-
directed learning into courses, with technology as the enabler, is the key to the
creation of a more dynamic and varied curriculum.
Much of the learning within our colleges is still directed, structured and
planned. This reflects the fact that much of the accountability around
funding has required an audit that fulfilment is easily measurable in terms
of hours and employment. Recent flexibilities provided by the government
open up much greater potential for a new approach.
The work of Sugata Mitri with Gazelle Colleges, Highbury and Barking and
Dagenham has begun to test the potential for self-directed and self-organised
learning to create greater space in the traditional curriculum. The work of Sugata
Mitri across the globe in both Primary and Secondary education has proven
that students as young as 8 can create high levels of learning through the use of
technology with or without tutor support. If we are to achieve a T-shaped learning
outcome at the scale needed and within the confines of the current funding
model then we need to embrace the power of technology to enable students to
access all sorts of interactive and skills based learning opportunities that do not
require the deployment of teachers in every environment.
Self-directed learning is also prevalent in the business world. At Microsoft and Intel,
“readiness” is a set of activities which every employee is asked to perform. This
covers continuous learning of technical skills and professional development or soft
skills. Some courses are mandatory for all, others are role-specific and many are an
optional individual choice. The employee can work within the general priorities of
the company to develop skills based on their own priorities so that they are actively
engaged in detailed development of their own and the companies interests based
on their assessment of need. Managers act as coaches to guide the employees on
a learning path which ensures they are broadening their horizons and experiences
alongside technical skills development as a prerequisite for continued employment.
In both companies learning is a blend (see Figure 5), with an emphasis on
unstructured and self-direction, and enabled by technology.
14 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
New Thinking - New Strategy
Examples of actions that colleges can take to inform and develop new
approaches is characterised by the bullet points and Figure 6 below.
Implement anywhere, anytime learning in order to save building and space
costs, to provide students with a flexible productive learning environment
and potentially to reach more students (using MOOC).
Implement IT shared services in order to leverage economies of scale.
Implement social networking technologies in order to encourage more
Implement personalised learning (co-creation of a learning programme and
content specific to a student, and frequent timely feedback – as described in
section The Changing World of Education).
Use games such as SimVenture to simulate how individuals may start and run
businesses from scratch.
Colleges need to recognise that the future of Further Education is not all digital,
but that an appropriate blend of digital and traditional approaches will realise
the strategic vision that reflects the preferences and needs of new generations
of students and employers. To be a wise investment any technology-blended
strategy will still have to answer these questions:
How does [an investment in] a solution enable educators and students to be
at their most productive and creative in order to improve their capability?
How does it meet the needs of prospective employers and employability
schemes such as apprenticeships?
How does it meet the values and preferences of younger generations?
How does it reduce the cost per student of high quality learning, enabling
the same funds to have further reach?
What cultural change is needed to embrace this new solution?
North Hertfordshire College provides an early example with a blend of digital
(a team-based Learning Management Platform call 3D Learning) and traditional
approaches. The digital platform starts to deliver aspects of the scenario as
described in section The Changing World of Work.
The College Leadership questions:
Do we have an in-depth understanding of technology, what can
provide opportunities, what can disrupt, what is obsolete, and when?
Are colleges part of any working group to adopt the newer
technologies as described in Figure 1 and Note A?
The Student Advocacy questions:
Do we partially or fully leverage technology to provide student
empowerment (e.g. through personalised learning with real time
feedback, a flexible and productive learning environment through
anywhere anytime and mobile learning)?
Figure 6 – An example of technology solutions
We set out to stimulate a debate about the need to transform Further Education in order to strengthen its quality and relevance to industry and society at
reduced cost. The case for change is compelling and pivots around three key factors: the changing world of work, the changing world of education, and the
intense drive for transparency and accountability.
We propose that college leaders, employers, entrepreneurs and government embrace the three shifts in our thinking to:
Actively develop strategies for the new worlds of employment (and self-employment).
Invest in technology to deliver student success and employment.
Increase transparency and accountability.
The key considerations from the thinking shifts are:
Summary and Call for Actions
16 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
On Leadership On Teaching and Learning On Student Advocacy On Business Engagement
A strategy for embedding digital
skills with students and the workforce
within their training and learning
A strategic conversation with staff
representatives regionally and
nationally about the changing role of
the teacher and the support needed
to strengthen their engagement.
Acquiring an in-depth understanding
of technology, what can provide
opportunities, what can disrupt,
what is obsolete, and when.
Providing data that allows employers,
governors and students to proactively
evaluate the college’s contribution to
the local economy.
Investing in higher levels of
experimentation and testing around
self-directed and self-organised
Provide student empowerment
through personalised learning, with
real time feedback.
Provide students with a flexible and
productive learning environment
through anywhere anytime and mobile
Validating the Learning Company
concept as an alternative to
apprenticeship with businesses
and industry bodies.
Collaboration between colleges,
business and industry bodies to
forecast future demands for skills.
18 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
Five key technology trends are emerging as fundamental enablers for
education reform. When considered together they can dramatically alter
both opportunity and output for our colleges.
Cloud (computing) describes the concept where online services are
accessible from anywhere, anytime in the same way we access other utilities
such as water and electricity. With high speed networks, it would seem as
if the services are being delivered from a range of consumer devices. Cloud
enables data and information to be available from any connected device.
It enables rich collaboration and communication in “virtual” environments,
it breaks down preconceptions about the location of individuals within a
cohort and increases the reach of the individual pedagogue. Easy recording
and logging makes out-of-time learning the norm.
If looked at operationally, the cloud can be seen as an infrastructure largely
reducing the overhead costs of technology. If however, it is viewed as the route to
bring learning to those employees and communities that currently do not access
our colleges, it could become a much more significant element in the strategic
driver for the employer and community partnerships that so many of the early
reports in the sector have encouraged.
Note A – Key Technologies
for Further Education Reform
Cloud Mobility GamificationSocialBig Data
Cloud enables data and information to be
available from any connected device.
Figure 7 - The key technologies
20 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
Note A - Key Technologies
The emergence of the social and connected web allows people not only to
consume information and knowledge but to be active co-creators of that
knowledge. It fundamentally changes the way learning is perceived and
defines the requirements for advanced learning systems.
Supported by technology, learning will increasingly become an active social
process. Learners have the ability to acquire new knowledge, principles and
concepts for themselves through dialogue and interaction with others and
through experimentation and risk taking in safe learning environments. The shift
from the design of the learning content to how that content is co-created and
shared by students, paves the way for a new and more relevant type of pedagogy.
It fundamentally challenges the role of the teacher in Further Education.
It suggests that students can, in many instances, learn effectively without the
support of a teacher and can acquire both knowledge and skill outside a cost
based tutor delivered environment. In such a scenario the potential to create
a much higher value output from Government funded learning resource,
becomes a reality.
Gamification could have an important impact in meeting the preferences
of current student generations. Gamification applies game design
into real life situations for purposes other than entertainment. Some
businesses have started to use it to encourage learning and participation
with great effect. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) US, which employs
140,000 people, changed its training from paper with a virtual world after
noticing that a significant portion of its workforce are young and tech-
savvy. KFC has seen high adoption rates, positive feedback from learners
and fewer on-the-job errors.
Future learning systems will benefit from the incorporation of game elements
into education settings. Game mechanics will help to keep students coming
back to their learning, reputation mechanics will motivate students to choose to
complete more challenging activities and content, while social mechanics will
promote greater peer and tutor interaction.
As gamification spreads throughout the real world, there is little question it
will also impact our education systems. When words like “Play”, “Games”,
“Missions” and “Fun” are used in front of students, when collecting badges and
ascending the leader board is part of learning, we will have a powerful source
of energy creation and interest. Gamification will be a part of students’ lives for
years to come. If we can harness the energy, motivation and sheer potential of
their game-play and direct it toward learning, we can give students the tools to
become high scorers and winners in real life.
The opportunities from the above trends are significant. The learning
environment can move from fixed /location to anywhere, any time learning;
from periodic, irregular to near real time feedback; from teacher directed learning
to learning from any sources. Many other possible changes can be envisaged to
22 Further Education Reimagined Preparing for the Future Workforce
Office 365, Yammer and SharePoint can combine to deliver gamification relevant
to Education and the work place. There will soon be IT Academy modules helping
Teachers to learn how to deploy Gamification. http://bit.ly/1k8KeuT
Microsoft IT Academy is the training programme and certification aimed at
both business and education audience. ITA certification is recognised by
Microsoft partners and others employers globally. ITA is aligned to the UNESCO
ICT framework for teacher. It is deployed en masse in the Netherlands, Morocco
and US. It is mapped many UK qualifications and apprenticeship programmes.
It can be used to enhance student and employer value and also to enable
cultural change through teacher and leader CPD. Teachers can train to
become a Microsoft Certified Educator, (http://bit.ly/1mPy4fn),
demonstrating on their CV a proven ability to use technology
effectively in the teaching of all subjects. IT Academy is central
to the delivering universal Digital Literacy. http://slidesha.re/1pE5cc5
The Microsoft Intelligent
Learning Platform (MILP)
These platforms and programs above – and the many other platforms and
programmes from Microsoft products can combine to produce highly integrated
learner enabled environments. They can help Colleges to deliver excellent
pedagogy, completion and student success at the online scale of a MOOC.
One example of an integrated solution is the Microsoft Intelligent Learning
Platform MILP is the first step towards enabling:
Learning from anywhere and at any time
Real time and regular feedback and awards to students and tutors
Learning pathway to provide students with a roadmap
Collaboration between students and with employers
MILP is built on collaboration solutions Microsoft Office 365 and customer
relationship management Microsoft Dynamics. http://slidesha.re/QLJeEv
Note B - Microsoft, Intel Solutions and Certifications
(on Microsoft Azure Cloud)
o Matching skill profiles to career plans
o Matching employers to career plans
o Matching learning modules to career plans
o Giving the student a progressive roadmap
Identity / Single Sign On
o Skill profiles
o Module feedback
o Candidate pipeline (anonymised)
o Mentoring (1:1)
o Career goals/ recommendations
o Module feedback
o Mentoring (1:1)
o Employer feedback
o Learner feedback
(On premises or in
Microsoft Azure Cloud)
o Course creation
o Course consumption