Education in the digital future: Now it’s going to be real!


Buzzwords fill the air. Key notes fly around our ears. But developments do not take place. Because the education system does not change, it will be replaced step by step. Why do schools and universities not embrace the digital change? Because their two main characteristics are no longer in demand: pedagogy and didactics. These are bad news –  explained in detail elsewhere. Now I’m thinking about the question: What comes to us?

I am asked again and again: „How do education and school look like in the future?“ Well: On the one hand alternatives already exist. They are digital (udacity, coursera, edX & consorts), and they are analogous. On the other hand alternative learning projects spring up like mushrooms, as recently read again: Free schools are on the upswing. Even in Switzerland.

In this article I will now show you what successful education is going to be in the future. And again, it is not a question of whether we want it or not. It is only a matter of how we shape it.

  1. There are no more (school) subjects

In the future there will be topical priorities and concerns to group around those who are interested, with the aim of developing solutions. „Subjects“ are only a hindrance. Learning means solving real problems. Therefore, learning people work in projects. Demand-, result- and product-oriented. Exclusively on real topics.

  1. There are no classes left

Project teams form up age-intertwined (or division-, company- or branch-mixed) on the basis of current, relevant topics, self-selected tasks and projects. They always have a need-oriented goal that is self-formulated. They work as „circles“ in the sense of Holacracy. They operate as „communities of practice“. Self-organized and non-hierarchical. Operation method is collaborative. The teams dissolve after completion of the project.

  1. There is no more instruction

Teaching is always externally controlled. Learning is always self-controlled. This is why all learning processes are structurally self-organized in the future. Learning and education are no longer institutional. Learning people are grouped together into project teams. They organize, create and use the infrastructure they need. The resource management is self-organized, also with regard to the required information.

  1. There are no more grades

People learn from each other. At any age. Age and age-group intermixing simplifies and guarantees the growth of self-organization and self-responsibility. Different forms and levels of competence development inspire, complement and scale each other.

  1. There are no more tests

There are various ways of documentation and presentation in the sense of „evaluation“, aligned to the respective projects and their requirements. People learn to know („discover“) and appreciate themselves through these processes. They gain feedback through „appreciative inquiry“ to design, reflect and control their own private processing. But performance is always collaborative. Furthermore individual competence and expertise are documented through self-organized, digital portfolios.

  1. There are no more markes

There are self-controlled (!) feedback systems, which allow me to use my self-assessment and my own development (by increasing age also as „professionalization“): Focussed on Skills- and  Strengths, potentials and needs. To recognize, appraise and connect individual needs an social requirements is one of the most important concerns of these processes.

  1. There are no more curricula

No content is specified for the learning processes. Objectives are oriented and strengthened in open forms of competences. The „Curriculum 4.0“ (the guiding principle of each learning organization) is reduced to seven questions:

a. What do we want to achieve?

b. Why do we want to achieve it?

c. How do we achieve it?

d. What can we do about it?

e. How do we get to do that?

f. What help to we need?

g. How do we get it?

  1. There are no teachers

Didactic and pedagogical expertise is no longer required. Required are e.g. skills in the fields of systemic and solution-oriented coaching and social-counseling, mediation, “gestalt psychology”, non-violent communication (acc. to Marshal B. Rosenberg), moderation and TZI group management. Maybe coding 😉

  1. There is no paper left

Information management is digital. There are no educational or didactic „textbooks“ any more. Everything is open source & access. Paper takes place only as a creative matter.

Learning will take place in the future (again) without pedagogic-didactic intermediaries. People of all ages develop the core competencies of the 21st century without pedagogic-didactic detours.

And now: read this.



Autor: Christoph Schmitt, Bildungsdesigner, Coach & Supervisor ZFH

Bildungsaktivist, Bildungsdesigner, Ressourcenklempner, Ethiker, Rituals Expert. Ich unterstütze Menschen und Organisationen beim "Digital Turn" - systemisch & lösungsfokussiert. Ich coache Menschen in ihren Entwicklungsphasen und begleite in einschneidenden Lebensmomenten durch die Gestaltung von Ritualen.

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