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Lifelong learning for a digitised world

Continuing education means discovering opportunities, developing perspectives and achieving new goals. This has always been a door opener to a (new) professional future - but rarely has this door opener been as important as it is today. An article from the current trendletter by Prognos expert Michelle Andersson.

Copyright: nd3000 - iStock

In a digitized working world, tasks become more complex, work steps are interwoven and changes are accelerated. In addition to specific digital competencies, self-organization, communication and cooperation skills are becoming increasingly important. With these competencies, employees can control processes more effectively, manage coordination better and assume more responsibility.

For employees and employers alike, this means extensive adjustments. Since changes take place much more quickly than before, employees need to undergo continuous training - from the beginning to the end of their careers. The proportion of those in employment who participate in (in-house) training has risen to just under 50 per cent. What is striking, however, is that participation depends to a large extent on educational attainment. Persons with a higher education entrance qualification are much more likely to undergo further training than persons with a lower secondary school leaving certificate.

But how can further training measures be strengthened and how can all employees be motivated regardless of their educational qualifications? A good offer alone is not enough to make employees fit for the digitised world of work. Rather, a continuing education culture geared to the entire course of employment is required in order to successfully shape change processes. What is decisive are the enabling structures of continuing education that are put into practice. Three aspects are particularly important here:

First, companies - whether large or small - need a strategy for personnel development in the digital world of work. Both the needs of the company and the competences and interests of the employees should be taken into account: Further training should be specifically tailored to the employee and employees must be given the necessary freedom to participate in further training. Managers are role models in this, but always also through their own behaviour.

Secondly, further training must be made even more flexible in the future. In addition to training courses lasting several days, shorter, practice-oriented modules will be introduced. These are limited to few hours and topics. For some contents on-line and/or mobile formats offer besides time and locally flexible solutions.

Thirdly, learning is increasingly being integrated into the regular working day. Employees with different skills and areas of responsibility can, for example, exchange information and complement each other better if they work more closely together on an interdisciplinary basis. Learning tandems from young digital natives and experienced colleagues are another example of informal learning processes. The use of assistance systems also enables learning in the context of daily work. For example, the systems report in real time where adjustments have to be made during a work process. Such on-the-job training thus integrates continuing education directly into everyday working life.

This development must be supported by a changed culture of continuing education. Employers and employees need courage and trust: Courage to proactively redesign work and qualification and to integrate them permanently into everyday working life; trust between management and employees so that freedom is given and opportunities are exploited.

Jahr: 2018

Typ: Editorial Article