Why Socelor? Why not traditional education?
The world is changing faster than ever, bringing countless opportunities for billions around the globe. However, this change does not benefit everyone. From the 2018 World Economic Forum report, “The emerging contours of the new world of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are rapidly becoming a lived reality for millions of workers and companies around the world.” For those millions, the change is a painful, personal upheaval. It is not their fault.
Many of us know someone who has had to either move in with their parents or whose parents have had grown children and their families move in with them. Just over 40% of 20 – 34-year-olds are living with their parents, often with their own children. This is not because they are lazy or wanted to live there. Rather, it is because the world has been undergoing a massive transformation called the 4th Industrial Revolution. Although this upheaval scale has been seen before, such as the first industrial revolution and its mass migration of people from farm to city, the time-frame for the 4th Industrial Revolution is being measured in years; not decades. Automation is replacing jobs, and the necessary skills for this new reality are things that machines just can’t do.
The first industrial age began well over 200 years ago with machines beginning to take the place of people in a number of traditional occupations – including, but not limited to agriculture. The initial reaction to the displacement of people by machines was a revolt against progress. A group called the Luddites smashed the new power looms that was destroying the traditional cottage industries of spinning and weaving. The people of the time were not happy with progress and change, but eventually, they adjusted. Even if they didn’t adjust to the new way of doing things, society still continued to move forward leaving those stuck in the past where they wanted to be but with no way to support themselves.
Millions of people were displaced as the proportion of farm workers needed to feed the population dropped from 85% to the 2% needed to feed the world today. Although the change was massive and resisted, it happened anyway. The upheaval was considerably less than what we are seeing because the change took over a century.
During the second industrial revolution, factories were electrified and the number of unskilled laborers needed to operate the simple machinery was reduced. These unskilled workers had to undertake retraining and new methods of training were introduced to meet the needs of employers who were expanding at an explosive rate. The college system also experienced explosive growth as the need for skilled workers increased.
The challenge of the day was how to pay for this highly expensive training. Coming off of a farm where money was always in short supply, the idea of spending huge amounts of money was overwhelmingly frightening. However, people adjusted and the greater value that these skills brought to the workers made the high cost of training worthwhile. When the revolution began, there was no way of knowing what the massive expansion of the manufacturing sector would bring, but we knew what skills would bring prosperity to those who embraced the changes. The well trained skilled machinists or welder (or other skilled laborers) became prosperous making a refrigerator for every kitchen. The world became a better place. The upheaval was significant, but as it took many decades to happen, the adjustment was spread out over some time and the individual turmoil was less than it is today.
By the mid-twentieth century, a new industrial revolution began that would transform the world again. Although there was still a significant need for skilled laborers, a new need arose. This was a need for basic cognitive services. The public school system provided training in the basic cognitive enablers of reading, writing, numeracy, and basic problem solving, there was a need for these cognitive enablers to be enhanced. An explosion of the university system began and we experienced the massification of higher education.
The need for cognitive services to fill the administrative needs of the explosive manufacturing base as well as the evolution of government services required the enhancement of basic cognitive enablers. Significantly higher levels of reading, writing, numeracy, and problem-solving were needed to fill the ranks of office workers, laboratory workers, engineering firms, law offices, financial services firms and a host of other cognitive services that relied on thinking rather than manual labor.
The marriage of enhanced cognitive services and skilled manual labor was best expressed in the emergence of communication systems built symbiosis of engineering and science. These communication systems evolved into the world of automation and digitization that we have experienced in the last few decades. As we have progressed through this industrial age, we have watched the value of skilled manual laborers drop as much of the manual work was automated by the advancement of technology.
The training for this third industrial age was prohibitively expensive for both the skilled and unskilled laborers. Enhancing basic cognitive enablers is expensive and the difference between the cost of an early university education was far greater than the cost of the technical training offered at the local college. However, the value that we, as a society, put on these cognitive services made the investment in learning worthwhile. Although the training was comparatively expensive, the rewards led to prosperity and straightforward admittance to the middle class.
This is no longer the case. We are going through the fourth industrial revolution leading us into the cyber-assisted, fourth industrial age. Just as in the other industrial revolutions, the societal upheaval is great. However, because of the timescale of this revolution, the displacement is too big, too fast.
Although we couldn’t foresee the results of the electrification of the factories or the increase in the need for cognitive services, we could foresee the skills that would ensure prosperity following a period of formal training. The same is true today. Although the future of learning will be inextricably interwoven with work because of the rapid changes in the immediate need in a changing world, this future of learning and work will still need a solid foundation of skills upon which to be built. The basic cognitive enablers available at the end of secondary school are not enough. The enhanced cognitive skills available at the end of higher education are not enough. What is needed are abstract cognitive enablers.
Six of the top ten skills needed today are skills that are difficult to find in our society and are not being actively taught in our education system today. Over 50% of today’s college and university graduates demonstrate no significant difference in their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities from when they started their higher education. Only 10% show significant improvement in their abstract cognitive enablers between the time they enter and the time they exit higher education.
Being aware of this deficit, some of the largest corporations in the world have dropped the need for any college or university qualification to work there. What they are asking for is evidence of skill development. Skills that cannot be done by machines, even the highly sophisticated artificial intelligence machines. Distinctly human skills comprised of the human skills needed for dealing with people and the abstract cognitive enablers necessary to create the new, unforeseen world and solve the problems that will allow us to get there. Things that machines cannot do.
Keep in mind that everything that can possibly be automated will be automated. You don’t have to like it, but you do need to prepare for it.
Socelor is solely dedicated to teaching some of these uniquely human skills, abstract cognitive enablers, that will make you valuable in the world of today and for years to come.
The pace of change is indicated by another quote from the 2018 “Future of Jobs Report, “…job churn in the period up to 2022 …indicates that 75 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms.” The bottleneck in the change today is the lack of people with these abstract cognitive enablers. This bottleneck will be widened as people embrace new methods of learning and seek to obtain these abstract cognitive enablers.
Millions of new jobs will require new skills that you need to have to prosper. New skills that we teach here at Socelor.
Although the learning may seem prohibitively expensive today, think of the cost of a college education in 1900 or a university in 1950. Both seemingly out of reach for ordinary people, but the value that that learning bestowed on the individual made the cost well worth it. The same is true today. The training that served individuals yesterday is no longer paying off. Just as the need for skilled laborers was significantly reduced during the third industrial age, so the need for those with enhanced, basic cognitive enablers will be reduced in the third industrial age. The new age requires new skills.
At Socelor, you will not receive a qualification. Instead, you will receive a personalized, accurate and in-depth Socelor Recommendation attesting to the skills that you have developed. Abstract cognitive enablers that you will learn during your intensive training using teaching methods designed to develop these skills to the level you want to achieve.