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A creative age? Can personal appetite for learning be fed by today’s organisations? Tom Bentley tom@demos.co.uk

The demand for learning comes from : 

The demand for learning comes from Higher levels of knowledge and general education Unmet social and organisational challenges Growing complexity and freedom of action Social diversity The emergence of a knowledge-driven economy

The UK’s ageing population : 

The UK’s ageing population Percentage of Population Source: Office for National Statistics, 1997

Rising use of the internet : 

Rising use of the internet % Internet penetration in the UK, by gender Source: The Future Foundation Nvision

The shape of the new work economy : 

The shape of the new work economy 1996 2010 F/t permanent 62.1 45.5 P/t permanent 19.0 18.0 F/t temp 3.3 8.0 P/t temp 2.9 7.5 Self-employed 12.7 21.0 % share of workforce

Rising ‘post-materialist’ values : 

Rising ‘post-materialist’ values Net emphasis on self fulfilment

Declining confidence in UK institutions : 

Declining confidence in UK institutions Source: The Henley Centre % saying they have ‘great confidence’ or ‘quite a lot of confidence’ in ...

Two kinds of response : 

Two kinds of response Encourage higher general educational attainment, by raising standards and participation in schooling Create new learning opportunities and markets in learning, modelled around flexibility and individual choice

The problem with universal schooling : 

The problem with universal schooling Schools (and colleges) as institutions teach an implicit set of behaviours and learning styles Their productivity has some limits, and pushing them harder to produce outputs does not always produce better learning outcomes They are pressurised by the social fragmentation and diversity that higher education standards is partly a response to They do not do a good job of providing work-based and other forms of vocational learning.

The promise of flexible learning : 

The promise of flexible learning Total flexibility Individual choice and benefit Diversity of supply Instant access to knowledge and information across the world - a dream of ‘personalisation’ Heavily promoted by the rhetoric of information technologies

The downside : 

The downside But the reality can be: Fragmentation Isolation Non-completion Automation of mediocre learning resources Greater distance between teacher and learner Confusion about how to assess and progress

Creative learners : 

Creative learners Find their own problems Transfer knowledge between contexts See learning as an ongoing, incremental process Can focus attention in pursuit of a goal Work through collaboration

Creative learning organisations : 

Creative learning organisations High trust Autonomy Variation of context Balance between skills and challenge Intensive exchange and interaction Focus on real world and concrete outcomes

Good principles… : 

Good principles… Often found in excellent vocational learning practice But help to expose the fact that just offering course content or general skills specifications as a basis for personal learning is not likely to be enough if the goal is sustained, productive participation in learning

The sticking point: institutional adaptation : 

The sticking point: institutional adaptation Standardised Vertically integrated Maintained through hierarchy Slow moving, incremental Controlled from above Diverse Horizontally connected Interdependent, network based Fast moving, unpredictable Out of control

Personalised learning: a new entitlement? : 

Personalised learning: a new entitlement? Personal profiles and curriculum planning Personalised, formative assessment A portfolio of portable information and evidence Active construction of pathways through modular, cross-agency collaboration Focus on the skills and habits of learning to learn This is where the UK’s 14-19 policy is heading

Networks: the key to mass personalisation? : 

Networks: the key to mass personalisation? Networks enable diversity and coordination Information networks as gateways for learner navigation Networks of suppliers and providers offering flexible pathways Employer networks providing demand-led information about skills specifications and learning opportunities Community networks providing informal support for learning and participation

Current examples of network use : 

Current examples of network use Networked Learning Communities NHS Collaboratives NHS Direct – networked user interface Learn Direct

The ongoing challenge : 

The ongoing challenge Learner potential is going to be met more and more through innovation which is widely distributed across local settings and systems. We can find the local practices, and we can learn how to support and motivate individual learners But to make it work, we also have to build institutions which can connect and coordinate these practices through coherent systems. Networks and adaptive strategies for public service innovation are the only ways in which we can do that.

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