Podcast: Katherine Prince on Navigating the Future of Learning

Katerine Prince (@katprince) leads the foresight practice at KnowledgeWorks (@knowledgeworks), a Cincinnati-based operating foundation. Every couple of years since 2006 they’ve been issuing 10-year forecasts. The 2018 forecast, Navigating the Future of Learning, outlined five change drivers that learning organizations need to consider:

  • Automating choices: Artificial intelligence is embedded in every facet of live automating many experiences and interactions but raising new questions about bias and what we can trust.
  • Civic superpowers: Individuals and impact organizations are using participatory media and machine learning to reweave social fabric and help meet the complex demands facing communities.
  • Accelerating brains: Rapid advances in technology and neuroscience and pharmacology are combining to transform our cognitive abilities in intended and unintended ways. They are reshaping how we partner with digital tools, relate with one another and engage with our surroundings.
  • Toxic narratives: The narratives and the metrics of success and achievement that shape people’s aspirations, choices, and behaviors are becoming increasingly detrimental to individual and social health and are contributing to growing toxicity in systems and institutions.
  • Remaking geographies: Migration patterns, small-scale production and efforts to grow place-based and cultural assets are combining to reshape local geographies in response to economic transition and climate volatility.

This summer, Katherine’s team released Navigating the Future of Learning: A Strategy Guide. It identifies five opportunity areas for building effective strategies (below). 

Sample questions provide a facilitation guide for community conversations.

“The next decade represents an opportunity to imagine new kinds of education structures, practices, and programs that support the healthy development of young people, enable lifelong learning and drive community vitality,” concludes the KnowledgeWorks team.

Key Takeaways:
[1:01] When and why did KnowledgeWorks begin forecasting the future of learning?
[2:10] Katherine and Tom dive right into the first key-driver category outlined in the strategy guide: automating choices.
[3:40] Katherine gives an explanation of the second category: civic superpowers.
[5:09] Katherine speaks about the third category: accelerating brains.
[6:37] Katherine explains the fourth category: toxic narratives.
[8:27] Katherine speaks about the fifth category: remaking geographies.
[9:14] How does climate crisis fit into KnowledgeWorks’ forecast? And how does Katherine think about learning to mitigate the climate crisis as well as learning how to adapt to it?
[11:33] In the strategy guide, they outline five opportunities for moving toward a shared horizon in education. Katherine begins by explaining their first opportunity: civic engagement for the smart age.
[12:54] Katherine explains the second opportunity: a learning lifestyle.
[14:40] Katherine explains the third outlined opportunity: systemic interdependence.
[16:16] Katherine explains the fourth opportunity: smart technologies for all.
[18:49] Katherine explains the fifth and final opportunity: many selves, many stories.
[20:37] What can learning communities start to address to begin taking advantage of these opportunities?
[22:27] In the guide, under “Taking Action Now,” they ask: “How might you modify these strategies to reflect how your organization or your ecosystem’s vision, values, and context?” Katherine answers this question from her own perspective.
[23:05] Would Katherine consider this guide as a collective action plan?
[23:52] The last set of questions they ask under “Taking Action Now” is around resources. Has Katherine seen any interesting trends there about people developing new resources or reallocating resources?
[24:51] How KnowledgeWorks’ forecasts have had major impact.
[26:54] What should people do next? Katherine gives her recommended next steps, whether you’re a civic leader or a teacher, to catalyze change in your community.
[28:18] Where to find the strategy guide, Katherine, and learn more online!

Mentioned in This Episode:
Strategic Mindset at KnowledgeWorks
Katherine Prince on LinkedIn
Katherine Prince’s Profile on KnowledgeWorks
KnowlegeWorks’ 2018 Forecast: “Navigating the Future of Learning”
“Navigating the Future of Learning: A Strategy Guide”
“Greta Thunberg, 16-Year-Old Swedish Environmental Activist, Has Been Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize”
Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project-Based Learning, by Tom Vander Ark and Lydia Dobyns
Smart Cities that Work for Everyone: 7 Keys to Education & Employment, by Tom Vander Ark
with Mary Ryerse

KnowledgeWorks’ Twitter: @KnowledgeWorks
Katherine Prince’s Twitter: @KatPrince

For more see

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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