The Future of Work: What Does it Mean for the Education Industry?

We are in the midst of a social and economic transformation, accelerated by the unprecedented COVID pandemic. The future of our work remains, at its grandeur, uncertain yet exciting with the onset of digital access to automation, artificial intelligence, data and beyond. 

One thing that is certain, is the fact that we as a global community are moving into an era where education is a life-long endeavour. This has in turn moulded an environment for online learners to thrive, skilling up from home and around personal and professional commitments.

What does this mean for the education industry, and most importantly, for you?


1. Keeping pace with new technologies.

Let’s face it: we are seeing major transformations due to mass digital adoption, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and big data, to name a few. One study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), concluded that about 14% of jobs across its member countries are highly automatable and another 32% will be transformed by technological progress (Source: OECD 2021).

With this ongoing disruption to the future of work, this means that people who have jobs that are going to be automated will not have the current and necessary skills to search for other roles in the digital economy.

This calls for the education sector to rethink from the ground up, upskilling employees as lifelong learners on working and familiarising themselves with new technologies and data. Read the OpenLearning Blog: The Top Skills Needed to Thrive in 2022.


2. Focusing learning to be cross-disciplinary, personalised and human.

The new world of work will be more focused on job skills, rather than degrees. The WEF’s Jobs of Tomorrow report has indicated that there will be a rapid increase of roles in data and AI, as well as in engineering, cloud computing and product development. Therefore, these roles will be needing the right candidates with the relevant skills, and these skills can be learnt even without academic training and qualifications.

Micro-credentials could answer this demand for just-in-time skills training. They offer numerous benefits for lifelong learners to continually learn and verify in-demand skills, with less time and financial obligations involved in the mix.

For more information, read Micro-Credentials in 2022: How Can They Benefit You as a Lifelong Learner? on the OpenLearning Blog.


3. Aligning models of education to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

It has been predicted by the World Economic Forum that 42% of the core skills within existing jobs on average are expected to change by 2022. There will be more emphasis on flexibility, bite-sized modules and online courses that can be completed and accessible online, anywhere, at any time.

This flexible model of learning will enable employees to continuously reskill and upskill to meet the needs of industry, and to prepare for technological changes. For example, the tech industry is growing faster than any other occupation. Professionals in any role within this field will require knowledge in Computer Science, which itself is constantly changing. Short, flexible courses are the answer—read CS101 Blog: 4 Ways to Upskill in Computer Science Whilst Working Remotely.


4. Collaborating with governments and the private sector to future-fit education.

The future of work will require a comprehensive line of actionable strategies to deliver opportunities for the next generation searching for their first break in the job market. The private sector, governments, educators and policy makers will need to collaborate to create a more equitable and multi-faceted approach to reskilling and upskilling for employees to stay relevant in the workforce.

With the growing emphasis on lifelong learning, the OpenCreds framework has been designed to enable alignment across a range of education spheres. Read more about OpenLearning’s innovation, the OpenCreds micro-credential framework here.



With the future of work constantly evolving, it is clear that the future demands an adaptable and dynamic education system. Skills are becoming increasingly necessary to stay relevant whilst traditional degrees are now being overlooked, particularly within the technology sector.

To remain within the competitive workforce, becoming a lifelong learner is the key to success. ‘Lifelong learner’ is a status that never expires upon completion of any one course, unlike in the traditional model, and it continues to apply even when we venture into adulthood and employment.

OpenLearning has loads of free tools and resources that can help you in many areas of online learning and teaching. Join millions of others on the platform and read our OpenLearning blog here.


Featured Image by fauxels from Pexels.

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Topics: Micro-credentials Learners Professional Development

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