Education "Hurtling Towards Massive Change without a Plan"

Berlin (GER) / London (UK), March 2018 - According to Astrid Jaeger, Managing Director of OEB Learning Technologies Europe GmbH, which organises OEB Global, Europe’s leading conference on technology assisted learning and training, "The education sector will have to change fundamentally and quickly to cope with new demands created by rapid technological change."

She continued, "Technology is changing society. The way we live now and the jobs we do will never be the same. Artificial intelligence is already allowing machines to replace workers on an unprecedented scale. Education must shape our response to the immense challenge of this new age. But education and training will have to change, too. So will the nature of employment. To date, both educators and employers have been slow to come to terms with the implications of a new world in which the old jobs no longer exist. We need to think this through urgently and start planning for a radically different future. At the moment, we are hurtling towards massive change without a plan."

Ms Jaeger was speaking at the launch of OEB Global’s new website, which provides details of this year’s conference, including a full list of themes for discussion. The overall theme of the event is "Learning to Love Learning", and Ms Jaeger explained that it will encourage us to change our understanding of the role and importance of learning in our lives.

"Learning will no longer be a brief phase in life," she said, "it will become a central part of our existence. In an era of constant and increasing change, we will discover a new appreciation of learning and an understanding of its place in the future. We will have to learn to love learning."

Ms Jaeger’s concern, which is widely shared by many leading experts, is that the education sector has so far failed to come to terms with the fundamental shifts that are beginning to take place across society.

"What’s happening is going to mean that millions of people have more time on their hands. The world of work will change dramatically during the course of the next two decades. How will we cope with it? How will we enable people to live lives that are both meaningful and fulfilled? How will we equip them for jobs that require totally new skills in a world with a completely different pattern of employment?"

Participants in this year’s OEB Global, to be held in Berlin 05-07 December, will be asked to consider how institutions, organisations, and employers should prepare themselves to meet the challenge of change. They will also ask how governments can create flexible, equitable education systems that are capable of adapting quickly to meet new demands. And they will look at how vocational training and further education can keep up with an ever-growing demand for new skills.

Ms Jaeger, who has been with OEB for over two decades, believes the 2018 edition of the Berlin landmark is going to be "a highly significant event." This belief is reinforced by the incorporation of Learning Technologies Germany for the first time, which will strengthen the focus on learning and development in the workplace.

"It will be taking place at a moment of profound change in society, when every country is considering the implications of rapid technological change. We have to change our whole approach to learning and put it right at the heart of life in the future. We have to change the nature of education and inspire a new generation. How we do it is the subject of this year’s conference. It’s a very exciting subject, and I think this year’s conference will be our most important ever."

By incorporating the leading workplace learning event brand, Learning Technologies, which has two other market leading events in Paris and London, a global digital community, and the industry’s leading awards programme for corporate learning and development professionals, OEB Global will strengthen its position in this increasingly important sector.

The event organisers have issued a call for papers on the main conference themes, which include "instilling curiosity", dynamic learning and training, nascent technologies, skills development, and data collection. A full list is available on the conference website. Anyone wanting to submit a paper for presentation at the conference should send a short abstract to the conference organisers, using the form available on the website. The call for papers will close on 30 April 2018.