Real World Futures

Learning for the mid-century

Date: 23 March 2018

How we think about the past and the future often varies wildly from reality.

Just how wildly was the focus of QUT’s Professor Suzi Derbyshire at the Real World Futures conference in 2017.  She explained that the way we imagine the future is often “more dystopian” than it turns out to be – as demonstrated by any number of futurist films.  And the past, when we look back at it, appears far more certain than it really was.

The truth, according to Professor Derbyshire who spoke on Learning for the Mid-Century, is that: “no one can predict the future with any degree of certainty. But we can forecast it.”

She said learning for the future was guided by better understanding that the learning needs of individuals and organisations would change and this was already reflected in the interests and desires of students.  And the needs would be guided not just by technology but by an ever increasing demand that work be fulfilling and engaging.

This is already the case but will be more so due to the expectations of students born this century and hitting their peak professional capacity by mid-century.

She highlighted that learning was no longer a stop-start process in which professions and lives were guided by what was learnt early. 

“We will have different periods and different types of learning right through our longer lives,” she said.  “…The idea that you can learn (wherever you go) everything you need to know in one period to equip you for the rest of you life is just ridiculous.”

Her view is reinforced by many other studies into future workforce needs which highlight the ability to learn (and keep up with change) as an important 21st Century skill.

A full video of Professor Derbyshire’s presentation is here.


David Fagan

March 2018

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.


Real World Futures