(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes a look at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education, technology, and culture.)
Forbes ran an article last week about the potential impacts related to college degrees becoming obsolete. Now, I don’t really see college degrees becoming obsolete in the near term, but the value of college degrees is certainly shifting, particularly related to certain professions. I think Gartner is definitely spot on in its list of top nine workplace predictions for the year.
“To fill critical roles in 2023, organizations will need to become more comfortable assessing candidates solely on their ability to perform in the role, rather than their credentials and prior experience…”
One good example of this trend is being played out in the market for cybersecurity talent. Like other IT-related professions, cybersecurity training is a focused, continually evolving area of expertise that doesn’t align well with traditional computer science and engineering degree programs. This leaves employers looking to training providers for upskilling existing employees.
To be clear, IT training (IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, networking, data analysis, etc.) is driven by professional certifications that are updated regularly based on technological advancements. To address these education opportunities, traditional colleges and universities will need to become more agile and quicker to address market opportunities.
The competition attempting to capture parts of the adult learning market has been heating up over the past few years. While traditional providers appear to still have an advantage, they urgently need to take note of the threat nontraditional competitors present in a market.
The challenges for traditional higher ed institutions may be exacerbated by the fact that many institutions are slow to integrate and use data in strategic decision-making.
Although universities produce a wealth of data in various departments across campus, such as “faculty research, prospective students, research funding, higher-education policy trends, and competitive intelligence about other universities,” said the study’s authors, coordinating all of it and making it available for use in decision-making has met significant barriers.
When it comes to potential threats to the status quo, however, education institutions and their faculty seem much more capable of reacting quickly. Take ChatBPT and generative AI, for example.
- New York City has already banned the use of Chat GPT on school devices and networks.
- Some colleges and universities are already revamping courses and taking preventative measures against ChatGPT.
- Educators are already greeting helpful guides for understanding and working with ChaptGPT (see here and here), and offering advice to colleagues.
One of the most useful responses has come from educators who talk about the potential usefulness of generative AI with the help of generative AI (a bit of meta). Lisa Nielsen asked ChatGPT to write a lesson plan on how teachers can use ChatGPT with students. Meanwhile, Tony Hirst worked with ChatGPT to develop taxonomy for cheating and plagiarissm.
Elsewhere, Josh Bersin had this post about a shift in learning platforms for the corporate training market. He refers to these as “Capability Academy” systems.”Companies want a solution that is expert-led, engaging, includes assignments and coaching and connects employees to experts and peers.” Bersin suggests their own academy as an example of thai new type of system.
We offer dozens of 4-6 hour courses (each consumed in cohorts), we host thousands of supporting videos and articles, we have more than 30 Senior Faculty, and our social community is a “place” to learn. We offer custom journeys, a capability assessment (Global HR Capability Project), and a social network to learn and meet people. Our experience shows that the average Academy member meets 7 new people during each program.
In case you hadn’t detected a repeated theme in this post, generative AI is all the technology rage these days. Before jumping into that further, however, let me point to a different time and technology when Warren Buffet acquired World Book. For context, encyclopedias were still cool in the 80s and were a guaranteed money maker. Of course, in just a few short years they would be disrupted by interactive CD-ROM technology and the Internet, and the traditional model made entirely irrelevant by the Internet, digital publishing, and crowdsourcing.
It’s not surprising that Buffet couldn’t see what was coming. It’s really hard (if not impossible) for anyone to predict specific short-term disruptions and which specific technologies or players will achieve lock-in. You’d be doing just as well to go to Vegas.
That said, once new technologies achieve a certain level of visibility and traction, the only questions left to ask are “When?” “How much?” and “Who dominates?” To my way of thinking, generative AI falls into that category.
As Exhibit 1, and for a fun bit of meta, Buzzfeed published an article about CNET, a popular tech news site, which has been using AI to write articles. The meta? Buzzfeed actually used ChatGPT to write its article!e.
And, if you haven’t yet got the drift that generative AI is a disruption that’s already gaining traction across different businesses, check out this story about a man who used ChatGPT and Midjourney to write an illustrated children’s book in 72 hours, or some of these articles/posts.
- GPT-4: The AI Revaluation
- ChatGPT has investors drooling, but can it bring home the bacon?
- Microsoft’s VALL-E AI can mimic any voice from a short audio sample
- Microsoft is looking at OpenAI’s GPT for Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint
- How ChatGPT in Microsoft Office could change the workplace
- Microsoft eyes $10 billion bet on ChatGPT owner