In this issue of the ever popular L&D QuestionTime we hear from Amy Hackett-Jones.

In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

Anxiety is a distinctly human trait and, in our world of relentless technical advancement, there is a fear of being side-lined by ‘the machines’. Learning & Development must focus on individuals and invest in their human attributes.

I don’t sleep well at night knowing the statistic that “by 2033 there is a 99% probability that insurance underwriters will lose their jobs” (quoted from Frey & Osborne’s paper “The Future of Employment” – 2013). But for all the pessimism that humans are being replaced by algorithms, thousands of new jobs are also being created every year. Individuals must prepare for the future and – since parenting, education and employment no longer necessarily teach us Soft Skills as they used to, L&D must teach us to interact effectively and harmoniously, as well as how to thrive in the modern economy.

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

I always respond most strongly to word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or trusted “opinion formers” (for want of a better term!), and I think most people do.

If there is a new course or methodology, book or research paper, information source, or individual – and it’s sounded out by a trusted friend/regular reliable source (radio presenter/vlogger/preferred journalist) – I am far more likely to pay attention.

L&D is a constant and consistent process, and I remain open to all ideas to help become a better version of myself and how I may help to disseminate that across the teams with which I work.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

I think the opportunities with tech are fascinating. Already we’re seeing children being able to use tablets and mobiles because they’re designed in such an intuitive way. This is often portrayed as negative but it’s not the tech that is bad, it’s the application. “Tech for good” is a really powerful movement, and the introduction of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, speech recognition, etc. will create immersive environments that will break down the barriers of accessibility. It may also create new opportunities for L&D and the evolution of our currently rather industrial, revolution-based, education system, which needs an overhaul – and is getting one slowly but surely, whether it likes it or not.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

People are already communicating and sharing their stories and experiences through social media. Some platforms are hosting user generated content with the theme of self-improvement. I’d like to see an attitude change across society to realise that the old adage of ‘learn from your mistakes’ could be applied in a huge way. We must recognise that we need to learn, and in fact be open and curious to learn, before we can start to develop.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2030?

The future is increasingly digital – that much is clear. But in the next ten years there is much uncertainty. Will humans still write by hand? Will they only type their input? How much will voice and face recognition become part of daily life? Is there a universal language or will computers simply translate national languages and dialects?

Yuval Noah Harari is lucid in his book, Homo Deus, with the analysis that there is no clear picture of what the job market will look like in 2030, and therefore, what should we teach our kids? He discusses how traditionally there have been two distinct stages: a period of learning, and a period of working. But in the future, we may need to constantly learn and develop in order to remain significant and continue to reinvent ourselves.

Often the temptation is to look at the future with fear – will we still be relevant? Will we be able to keep up to date? But the most important thing is to remain optimistic and excited at the new opportunities for creativity and innovation that permeate through the process of disruption.

By 2030 people will be better connected than ever, learning and retaining information more efficiently. We must all look forward to seeing how it works out – where there is disruption, there is opportunity.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Take every opportunity, it will help to build your experiences and make you a more rounded individual. That will help you to stand out!

Also, if one thing is certain from this reflection on L&D and the future, it is that we must invest in ourselves. Developing our human skills in creativity and communication, as well as the art of building great relationships (collaboration) together with critical thinking, is going to be the key to thriving in the future.

About the author – Amy Hackett-Jones:

Amy is Head of Content at QDOOZ – the app-based platform that provides accredited Soft Skills CPD through the highest-quality curated content, launching in May 2019.

Amy engages a wide and exclusive network of coaches, mentors and subject matter experts to create fascinating content on the development of Soft Skills and character Qualities.

Previously, Amy travelled the world interviewing Heads of State, Government Officials and Business Leaders highlighting Foreign Direct Investment opportunities. She also has over 15 years experience of high-performance coaching in Latin America. She has delivered numerous presentations including a TEDx Talk on topics ranging from high-performance to inner peace.

Connect with Amy on LinkedIn