Cloud Expo 2023: Closing the Skills Gap

I won’t lie, and say that I was very nervous leading up to my own one hour seminar with Matt Mower from The Art of Navigation, discussing the ups, downs and sideways of starting, investing in, and running a startup.

With that said, considering the long line of people waiting to pick Matt’s (and my) brain afterwards, I would call it an unequivocal success. In fact, and this praise is all directed towards Matt, but when he began speaking the theatre was relatively empty, yet as the minutes progressed, people walking by actually stopped and listened, before taking a seat and staying until the end of the talk. That’s what I call a captivating speaker!

Transformative Learning Solutions are Closing the Skills Gap

After our discussion ended and Matt finished addressing his new fanbase, I ran over to the keynote speech, “Transformative Learning Solutions are Closing the Skills Gap,” hosted by Gerard Marlow from SKILLSOFT. For someone who didn’t just dislike school, but viewed it as an unbeatable enemy of nefarious proportions, I am always interested in hearing about the future of education, and what is being done to, hopefully, improve the education system for everyone. And, as the world is being forced to rapidly adhere to the emergence of new and innovative tech, this keynote enticed me for the purpose of hearing about what is being done to accommodate those who may not have a confident grasp on these machines, and who worry about tomorrow.

Marlow began the session by highlighting the importance of upskilling and reskilling employees to meet the demands of a rapidly changing digital landscape. He made several points about the need for personalised and adaptive learning experiences that can be tailored to each individual’s needs and learning style (uh, yes please).

He continued with the effectiveness of project-based learning and apprenticeships in providing real-word experience and building practical skills. When on this subject, it reminded me of Hungarian born psychologist, Gabor Mate, who, when discussing child development, said that throughout history children have been taught through secondary experiences alongside their parents. Trial and error, and most of all, playing, is how children learn the ways of the world. This recent invention of sitting in a classroom is far less effective in preparing kids for the future.

Marlow emphasised the importance of collaboration between educators and industry to develop relevant and effective learning solutions. He also promoted the positive benefits of virtual and augmented reality in transforming the learning experience for the better.

A very interesting discussion indeed, the only con being that I wish these innovative approaches to education had been around when I was a kid, because maybe then I would’ve actually done my homework. But, jokes aside, for all of us worrying that AI is going to take all of our jobs, after leaving the theatre I was hit with an arrow of optimism telling me that they're actually out to make the world a better place.