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Who profits from new technology?

A study by the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) in the UK has identified three groups within the working population that differ significantly in how they deal with and use new technologies for learning. The central question of the study speaks from its title itself, namely “The new digital learning age: How we can enable social mobility through technology”.


The first group are the "confident creators" (11% of the working population). These are characterized by a special tendency to further develop knowledge, skills and creativity through new technologies and thus also to increase social capital.


The “held backs” (20% of the working population) see the advantages of new technologies and also use them for learning. However, this group feels that they need more support.


"Safety firsters" are the third group. These do use modern technologies, but their employment is rather moderate. For these people, who represent 30% of the working population, there is a risk of being left behind in general further development.


The RSA study “The new digital learning age: How we can enable social mobility through technology” pursues a socio-political purpose of knowledge and proposes a comprehensive support system. As a template, the “confident creators”, the “held backs” and the “safety firsters” can also be applied very well to the corporate context.


Here are a few questions to reflect on:

  • How much can the “confident creators” use newly acquired skills and knowledge in a creative and beneficial manner for everyone? What hurdles do the “confident creators” have to deal with and how can you overcome them?


  • Are you even aware of the need for development in the case of the “held backs”? What exactly do the “held backs” need in order to increase knowledge and skills with the help of new technologies and make them really useful? What is the bottleneck that is currently preventing a significant leap in ability and performance?


  • Which skill levels should the “safety firsters” gradually achieve? How can one specifically increase the learning commitment in this group so that they use new technologies to learn more actively and intensively?


This small selection of questions alone shows that both the problems and the starting points are diverse. There are numerous predictions that describe an even more important and broader use of modern technologies for learning in schools and organizations. Therefore, learning skills using new technologies will be of eminent importance for every employee in the future. It is therefore important for companies to specifically strengthen this learning competence and to guarantee different support offers and framework conditions for defined need groups.


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