FOR MANY ESTABLISHED ORGANIZATIONS THE PREVAILING EDUCATIONAL MODEL STILL PLACES HEAVY RELIANCE ON THE TRADITIONAL ONE; WHERE LEARNING IS SOMETHING THAT IS PRIMARILY UNDERTAKEN DURING OUR FORMATIVE YEARS…
…be that at school, university or in the form of professional qualifications. This is then followed by learning ‘on the job’ through experience, perhaps supplemented by some ad hoc internal training and possibly some involvement with advanced management education at a business school for senior executives or high flyers.
Such a model is well suited to a stable world. But it is not applicable in a world of rapid change, where – in accordance with what is known as Moore’s Law – the power of computers is doubling every two years. Looked at another way, for a business man or woman with say 20 years’ business experience, the level of computing power available when they left formal education was only one thousandth of what it is today. No wonder many senior business leaders are struggling to come to terms with the changes taking place. Even for those leaving formal education today, Moore’s Law predicts that in two years’ time the same amount of new computer power will have emerged as is to hand today. So what will be possible then will be another order of magnitude beyond what is possible now.
Much has been written in recent years about the concept of lifelong learning, but the extent to which this has genuinely penetrated the thinking and practice of business and other bodies corporate is open to question. But in the context of such rapid change, there is no option. If they wish their knowledge to remain anywhere near up to date, to be in a position to adapt and respond to the developments taking place, and take advantage of new digital technologies and the opportunities these provide, organizations – and individuals – need to embrace continuous learning.
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