The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, a multi-disciplinary initiative examining how emerging technologies are changing the nature of work, has released three briefs, including Applying New Education Technologies to Meet Workforce Education Need by Sanjay Sarma, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Vice President for Open Learning at MIT and William B. Bonvillian, Senior Director, Special Projects at Open Learning and Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at MIT. These briefs highlight the critical role skills, learning and workforce training can play in creating shared prosperity for workers. With millions unemployed due to Covid-19—very likely facing the restructuring of industries ranging from retail to travel to hospitality and entertainment — workers will need to not only obtain new skills but also find new work.
This research from members of the Task Force explores the highly fragmented U.S. workforce training system for low- to moderate-skilled workers, comparable programs in Europe in which the private sector is significantly engaged in both the classroom and the workplace, and lessons from learning science and new technologies that could make online education, including workforce training, more effective.
Applying New Education Technologies to Meet Workforce Education Needs
The brief focuses on the question: What are the lessons from learning science and new technologies that could make online education, including workforce training, more effective? Our current workforce education system faces many gaps, from underinvestment to a deep disconnect between the still-separate worlds of work and learning. There is now a major need to make workforce education a policy priority, to upgrade skills for those being left behind, and to help others shift job sectors to areas where there will be work. Online will be a critical technology in enabling a new scale of workforce education to meet growing needs. However, the brief argues that it will not scale unless it provides quality training; to do this effectively, online trainings must incorporate lessons from learning science.
About the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future
Launched in 2018, the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future is a multidisciplinary initiative drawing from across MIT’s five schools to bring a holistic perspective to the relationship between technology, work, and society. The Task Force aims to identify a constructive path forward—grounded in scientific evidence of what is happening today, deploying deep expertise in technology and the social sciences, and applying reasonable assumptions and extrapolations to anticipate what might happen tomorrow. The Task Force‘s ongoing research seeks to develop policy-relevant ideas and insights that can help frame the public discourse and shape the range of options that leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors have before them to augment human potential. Read more at workofthefuture.mit.edu and register for the AI and the Work of the Future Congress on November 18, 2020.