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Learning Futures Conference, Leicester 9 th -10 th January 2007. Professor Bob Fryer CBE National Director for Widening Participation in Learning. Living in an era of profound & widespread social & cultural change.

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Professor bob fryer cbe national director for widening participation in learning

Learning Futures Conference, Leicester

9th-10th January 2007

Professor Bob Fryer CBE

National Director for Widening Participation in Learning


Living in an era of profound widespread social cultural change
Living in an era of profound & widespread social & cultural change

  • Changes in social, political & cultural institutions (Family, Politics, Consumption etc)

  • Restructuring of work, employment & industry

  • Shifts in personal & group identities & aspirations

  • A growing tendency for ‘choice’

  • An information & knowledge revolution

  • Changing technologies

  • Greater localism within globalisation

  • Social fragmentation & division

  • New forms & expressions of citizenship


What sorts of learning what kinds of learners are appropriate for the emergent world
What sorts of learning & what kinds of learners are appropriate for the ‘emergent’ world

‘Emergent world’ has many different labels:

  • Post-industrial

  • Late- or post-capitalist

  • Networked

  • Information-based

  • Knowledge-driven

  • Learning

  • Late- or post-modern

  • Risk

    All contrast sharply with the classic description of rationalist, de-personalised, expert, calculative & instrumental bureaucracy


Only the well educated will be able to act effectively in the information society
appropriate for the ‘emergent’ worldOnly the well educated will be able to act effectively in the Information Society.”

“The key to the Learning Society is to seek the learning potential in everyday situations….A ‘learning culture’ must, after all mean finding learning in the most unlikely places….

Michael Barber, The Learning Game


What is happening to the world of work
What is Happening to the World of Work? appropriate for the ‘emergent’ world

  • Structural changes in industries & occupations

  • Demand for new skills & competences

  • Challenges of greater competitiveness

  • Technological change

  • Globalisation

  • New sorts of workplace - flatter structures, project management - “fuzzy” boundaries

  • Non- and de-unionisation

  • No more ‘jobs for life’

  • Household & 3-generational un/underemployment

  • Need for workers to be flexible, adaptive & creative

  • Stress & getting the ‘work-life balance’ right


The drive for skills
The Drive for Skills appropriate for the ‘emergent’ world

Skills =

  • Opportunity

  • Employability

  • Choice

  • Life chances

  • Prosperity

  • Good health/wellbeing

  • ‘Capital’

  • Competitiveness


The leitch report december 2006 some simple data
The ‘Leitch’ Report December 2006: some simple data appropriate for the ‘emergent’ world

“Prosperity for all in the global economy: world class skills”

One-and-a-half-cheers

  • ‘Skills’ mentioned 1727 times!

  • Global/globalization mentioned 120 times

  • ‘Flexibility’ mentioned 14 times

  • Innovative/innovation mentioned 3 times

  • Talent mentioned 1 time

  • Creative/creativity mentioned 0 times

  • Imaginative/imagination mentioned 0 times

  • Inventive/inventiveness mentioned 0 times

  • Ingenious/ingenuity mentioned 0 times

  • Intuitive/intuition mentioned 0 times


What do employers and governments typically say they want on the skills front
What do employers and governments typically say they want on the ‘skills’ front?

  • New entrants with ‘employability’ characteristics

  • More emphasis on, & respect for, ‘vocational’ learning in schools, colleges & universities

  • Increased focus on science & maths

  • A continuously ‘learning’ workforce

  • Staff who upgrade their skills several times throughout working life

  • More intermediate and higher level ‘technical’ skills

  • Better management and leadership skills

  • Markedly improved information handling & knowledge management skills

  • A greater emphasis on ‘competence’


Max weber s ideal type bureaucracy
Max Weber’s ‘Ideal Type’ Bureaucracy the ‘skills’ front?

  • Fixed & official areas, ordered by rules

  • Stable authority, also delimited by rules

  • Offices graded in professional hierarchies

  • Management basedon written documentation

  • Regular activities distributed as fixed duties, carried out by appointed officials

  • Office separated from private interests & households

  • Office holding is a ‘vocation’ demanding the full capacity of the office holder, with prospects of a tenured ‘career’

  • Duties performed only by employees with regulated qualifications based on prescribed & special exams

  • Bureaucracy depends upon stable rules, which can be learned & which represent special technical learning


Bureaucracy s optimum possibilities
Bureaucracy’s ‘optimum’ possibilities the ‘skills’ front?

  • Modern culture demands the ‘calculability’ of results

  • Carrying through the principle of specialist administration according to objective considerations

  • ‘Without regard for persons’ is the watchword of the ‘market’ & of naked economic interests

  • Capitalism welcomes bureaucracy’s special virtue of ‘dehumanisation’ – eliminating all affective considerations of love, hatred, irrationality & emotional elements that escape calculation


Endorsement of the value of learning from business leaders
Endorsement of the value of learning from business leaders the ‘skills’ front?

  • “Our behavior is driven by a fundamental core belief: The desire and ability of an organization to continuously learn from any source – and to rapidly covert this learning into action – is its ultimate competitive advantage.”

  • Jack Welch, CEO General Electric


The distinct advantages of bureaucracy especially for the capitalist market economy
The distinct advantages of bureaucracy – especially for the capitalist market economy

Just right for schemes based on ‘competence’

“The fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organisations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production.

Precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of the files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction & of material and personal costs – these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic organisation.”


Bureaucracy s well known drawbacks
Bureaucracy’s well-known drawbacks the capitalist market economy

  • Tendency to organisational conservatism & sclerosis

  • Hide-bound by rules & protocols

  • Over-emphasis on formality, ‘stuffiness’

  • Rigidity of hierarchy & divisions of roles or responsibilities

  • Resistance to change

  • Performance only to minimum required standards

  • ‘Jobsworth’ mentalities

  • Lack of nimbleness, unlikely to innovate


Governments employers also want creativity
Governments & employers also want ‘creativity the capitalist market economy’

Creativity =

  • Novelty

  • Imagination

  • Critical minds

  • Originality

  • Innovation

  • Flexibility

  • Change/Progress

  • Revolution

  • Beauty

  • Transformation

  • Transcendence


Beyond rules definitions specificity
Beyond rules, definitions & specificity? the capitalist market economy

The ‘emergent world’ of work demands:

  • The ‘navigation’ of risk

  • Confident ‘boundary crossers’

  • Working ‘beyond the rules’

  • Creative entrepreneurs (“The French don’t have a word for it.”)


Towards risk society beck
Towards ‘Risk Society’ (Beck the capitalist market economy)

Ubiquitous

Change

Unreliability

Uncertainty

Risk Society

Unpredictability

Un-sustainability

‘Fuzzy’

Boundaries

Choice

Beyond

Conventions,

Rules & Structures

Multiple &

Contested Information

& Knowledge


Turbo capitalism an age of uncertainty insecurity
‘Turbo Capitalism’: the capitalist market economyan Age of Uncertainty & Insecurity?

“No jobs are guaranteed, no positions are foolproof, no skills are of lasting utility, experience and know-how turn into liabilityas soon as they become assets, seductive careers all too often prove to be suicide tracks. In their present rendering, human rightsdo not entail the acquisition of a right to a job, however well performed , or - more generally - the right to care and consideration for the sake of past merits. Livelihood, social position, acknowledgement of usefulness and the entitlement to self-dignity may allvanish together, overnight and without notice.”

Zygmunt Bauman, Postmodernity & its Discontents, page 22


An emergent model of learning
An emergent model of learning the capitalist market economy

Source: Jarvis 2001


The urgency of tertiary learning
The Urgency of ‘tertiary’ learning the capitalist market economy

“The world in which post-modern men and women need to live their lives and shape their life strategies puts a premium on ‘tertiary learning’ - a kind of learning which our inherited institutions, born and matured in the modern ordering bustle are ill prepared to handle; and one which educational theory, developed as a reflection of modern ambitions and their institutional embodiments, can only view with a mixture of bewilderment and horror, a pathological growth or a portent of advancing schizophrenia.”

Source: Bauman, op. cit.


What do we mean by learning cultures
What do we mean by ‘learning cultures’? the capitalist market economy

  • Learning is ‘woven’ into life or work

  • Learning takes many forms – formal & informal, explicit & tacit, certificated or not

  • Everyone is involved in learning

  • Learning & learning opportunities are ubiquitous

  • Learning & learners are supported effectively

  • Learning increases self-esteem & well-being

  • Learning brings rewards & progression

  • Learning is ‘endorsed’ by all organisational signs, symbols, myths, emblems, representations & material character

  • Learning is ‘normal’ around here


Why do organisations want to develop learning cultures
Why do organisations want to develop ‘learning cultures’?

Very elusive & slippery concept, often sloppily deployed. But to:

  • Secure or maintain ‘competitive advantage’

  • Recruit, retain & motivate staff

  • Promote key organisational knowledge, skills, attitudes & behaviour

  • Underpin organisational values & priorities

  • Inspire creativity, innovation & enterprise

  • Drive & respond to change

  • Link learning toeffective action & implementation


The core purposes of learning
The Core Purposes of Learning cultures’?

According to the celebrated Jacques Delors Commission on Lifelong Learning, The Treasure Within

  • Learning to Know (learning to learn, general knowledge & understanding)

  • Learning to Do (skills, competence, practical ability in a variety of settings)

  • Learning to Live Together (tolerance, mutual understanding, interdependence)

  • Learning to Be (personal autonomy & responsibility, memory, aesthetics, ethics, communication & physical capacity)


Personalised learning learners needs
Personalised learning & learners’ needs cultures’?

Personal, pastoral, motivational & developmental

Learners’ needs,

sociabilities &

interactions

Place/space

Time/pace

Administrative, financial & organisational support

Academic, pedagogic, content & technical support

Resources, facilities & technologies

Lifestyles, cultures & work-life balances

Learning outcomes & credit


Pre requisites for learner attainment
Pre-requisites for Learner Attainment cultures’?

Vision,

Policy &

Strategy

Courseware

&‘Content’

Needs &

Effective

Demand

Access

(Equity &

Resources)

Pedagogy

& ‘Learning

Design’

Technology,

‘Reach’ &

Connectivity

Society &

Organisation

‘Readiness’

Information,

Advice &

Guidance

Learner

Support


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