Elon University

The 2016 Survey: The Future of Jobs Training (Anonymous Responses)

Anonymous responses by those who wrote to explain their response

Internet experts and highly engaged netizens participated in answering a five-question canvassing fielded by the Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project from July 1 through August 12, 2016. One of the questions asked respondents to share their answer to the following query:

In the next ten years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future? Yes or No? Please elaborate, considering: 1) What are the most important skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future? 2) Which of these skills can be taught effectively via online systems – especially those that are self-directed – and other non-traditional settings? 3) Which skills will be most difficult to teach at scale? 4) Will employers be accepting of applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems, or will they be viewed as less-qualified than those who have attended traditional four-year and graduate programs?

Among the key themes emerging from 1,302 respondents’ answers were: – The training ecosystem will evolve positively, with a mix of innovation in all education formats. – More elements will migrate online. – Workers will be expected to learn continuously. – Online courses will get a big boost from advances in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). – Universities still have special roles to play in preparing people for life but some are likely to diversify and differentiate. – Learners must be motivated to cultivate 21st century skills, capabilities, and attributes. – Tough-to-teach intangibles such as emotional intelligence, curiosity, creativity, adaptability, resilience, and critical thinking will be most highly valued. – Pracitical experiential learning via apprenticeships and mentoring will advance. – A mix of traditional and new credentialing systems and quality measures is expected. – While the traditional college degree will still hold sway, more employers may accept alternate credentialing systems as self-directed learning options and their measures evolve. – The proof may be in the real-world work portfolios. – Training and learning systems will not meet 21st century needs by 2026. – In the next decade, education systems will not be up to the task of adapting to train or retrain people for future jobs. – Many doubts hinge upon lack of political will and necessary funding. – Some people are incapable of or uninterested in self-directed learning. – Jobs? What jobs? Technological forces will fundamentally change work and the economic landscape. – There will be many millions more people and possibly millions fewer jobs globally in the future. – Capitalism itself is in real trouble.

The non-scientific canvassing found that 70% of these particular respondents generally agreed that, yes, we will see successful new educational and training programs by 2026 that can train large numbers of workers in the skills they need to perform the jobs of the future, while 30% disagreed for various reasons.

If you wish to read the full survey report with analysis, click here.

To read credited survey participants’ responses with no analysis, click here.

Written elaborations by anonymous respondents

Following are the full responses by study participants who chose to take remain anonymous when making remarks in the survey – only including those who included a written elaboration. Some of these are the longer versions of expert responses that are contained in shorter form in the official survey report. About half of respondents chose to remain anonymous when providing their elaboration on the question (credited responses are published on a separate page).

These responses were collected in an “opt in” invitation to several thousand people who have been identified by researching those who are widely quoted as technology builders and analysts and those who have made insightful predictions to our previous queries about the future of the Internet.

An anonymous scientific editor commented, “Seriously? You’re asking about the workforce of the future? As if there’s going to be one? Projects like Wolfram are excellent, but how many mathematicians does the ‘workforce’ need? ‘Employers’ either run sweatshops abroad, or hire people in the ‘first world’ to do jobs that they hate, while more and more unskilled and skilled people end up permanently on welfare or zero-hour contracts. And the relatively ‘job-secure’ qualified people who work in the ‘professions’ are probably a lot closer than they think they are to going over that same cliff. The details of how they earn their credentials aren’t going to be a issue. That said, courses that consist of a mix of self-paced online material with traditional teacher- and peer-led classroom face-time are probably the best of all worlds in terms of providing an effective education in just about every academic subject in the high school syllabus. But good luck trying to find employment—never mind meaningful employment—with nothing more than a high school diploma. Everyone has apparently bought into the idea that you need a tertiary qualification—and a crippling student loan—to be considered for even the most soul-destroying occupation.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Industry will try this in the era before automation/artificial intelligence really starts cooking. They’re already trying to do it with education at all levels. Training can be cheaper with automation. But the automation will ultimately be used to perform the jobs they’re teaching. They don’t want large numbers of workers. They want large numbers of consumers.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Individuals’ ability to succeed in the future will be determined by their ability to engage in lifelong learning and continually adapt to trends and to leverage new technology within their industry. Whether they can be successfully taught as self-directed will depend upon the ways that reputation tracking is part of the system. A certificate or badge is nice, but rewards will flow to those that can demonstrate synthesis of disparate knowledge to produce value. I don’t see that major classes of work will be excluded from new ways of learning. It seems that VR could be an effective medium for training skills of physical labor jobs.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Self-taught coders will be fine in the future, but expect massive disruption due to the automation of labor. It will come so suddenly that a large number of people won’t even be able to afford a internet access if they were required to pay for it. Distrust of online systems will be prevalent.”

An anonymous president of an LLC wrote, “IQ is the limiting factor. Jobs will be available for the people with IQ’s over 105, and they will be educated.”

An anonymous marketing specialist commented negatively about the likely advance of new forms education, writing, “No skilled jobs are coming. But there will always be a market for ‘hope.’ Hope will drive the unemployed into the arms of job training. The wealthy who profit from these programs will continue, as they are now, to bilk suckers.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Teach a billion people to program and you’ll end up with 900,000,000 unemployed programmers.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “There are some truths is the view presented from the book Ready Player One with the use of virtual schools allowing for a greater reach and equal opportunities for education. Stagnation of thought and creativity will become a concern as schools move away from teaching thought to rote learning designed to match required skill sets. Debt will continue to increase forming a indentured society. The countries where wider ability to think, create, and not suffer under a debt slavery will prevail in the long run as the other stagnates and rusts away (most likely with increased violence and crime).”

An anonymous respondent said, “I don’t think any decision-makers will even consider this issue as anything other than a talking point (if that much) within the next decade, let alone spend any useful amount of money or time trying to fix the problem. Especially not via job training, the current political climate seems allergic to the entire concept.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “They will proliferate, but will the training be sufficient to provide long-term jobs given that computing and robotics will increasingly supplant humans in the workforce?”

An anonymous professor at a US university wrote, “Trained workers are becoming obsolete; the goal of late-stage techno-capitalism is to eliminate them entirely in favor of automation. Since this process is self-defeating and unsustainable, large-scale production economies will eventually collapse. Future economies will be much smaller-scale, therefore workers will train on site. Guilds and apprenticeships will return. Online training (and most importantly, what passes for certification) will remain a lucrative scam.”

An anonymous respondent, “These programs have a cost and too few are willing to sacrifice for these programs.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The definition of what a job is is already changing, and that change will accelerate. Automation will continue to shrink the job pool. Artistic crafts and trades will likely grow, at least for the next decade. People will eventually tire of hand-knit oven mitts and backyard-poured sand castings. After that? Perhaps in the future we will have a Matrix-like existence, where one’s (mandatory?) contribution to the common good is a 1-to-2 hour walk on a community-sized treadmill that helps generate the energy needed to keep society running. This also keeps the human unit in a socially-acceptable level of fitness, and gets each human unit out of their otherwise isolated existences in order to interact with their humans, keeping everyone’s social skills and mental state more fit. In the future, we become hamsters on a wheel.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “By the end of the next ten years we will see the start of the development of a massive separation of society into the 0.01% who control 99.99% of the world’s wealth and the rest of us who will be forced to either serve the wealthy or grub for resources at the margins of society while being kept down by either the military, the police, or private police-type organisations.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The rise of automation is going to reduce most labor-intensive jobs into automated tasks, reducing employment opportunities for those without backgrounds in programming and robotics. Jobs/careers that depend on high touch human interaction such as home healthcare aides might avoid automation for some years but employers will continue with automation as a tool to control costs and benefits of human labor.”

An anonymous director of a major US university’s futures initiative responded, “Adaptive learning is getting better all the time. IBM’s partnership with Blackboard will be a beginning. AI-trained teaching assistants will be a help. For some skills in some areas (statistics, coding), adaptive online learning works exceptionally well for some people in some situations. Hybrid learning augments the benefits.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The trend will be to train the individual, not the masses.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes, but whether people and corporations will take advantage of them is a different question. If the balance of the tax and ecological savings in developing nations remains cheaper then I don’t think that the multinational corporations will have incentives to use these methods. On the other hand as the generation of union members grows older the resistance to retraining may fade.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Following the establishment of the precariat will be the ‘unnecessariat.’ Most jobs of the future will be a) automated b) outsourced c) won’t require special training.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Khan Academy and EdX are already changing educational opportunities.”

An anonymous PhD candidate at the California Institute of Technology wrote, “I am skeptical about the existence of large numbers of ‘jobs of the future.’ I believe large-scale retraining programs will be attempted, but they will not be successful.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We just need ways to verify knowledge and skills learned online. Credentialing is a larger problem than education.”

An anonymous survey participant said, “We are already seeing online credentialing and multiple learning platforms. As technology continues to change rapidly, online learning will become more individualized and responsive.”

An anonymous engineering student wrote, “Automation will replace entry-level jobs without creating new ones. New job training will be irrelevant, as the transition from labor to automation will be an exponentially accelerated one. The solution will be democratic socialism to redistribute money, as no one will have the buying power to purchase goods as their will not be enough jobs. This democratic socialist transition will lead us to the post-capitalism, post-scarcity society.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I don’t see technology skills as necessary. People need basic skills like human and social connection. Look at our continuing communication gaps, race wars and immigration wars. Those are problems. Tech is solvable. But human touch and doing human skills (even blue-collar jobs) are confusing and disenchanting for people. Listening, writing, reading, teaching, too.”

A longtime writer and columnist for Wired, responded, “I don’t know if it’s about jobs ‘of the future’ per se, but since there are new collaborative platforms like Slack and Basecamp and such, work-training platforms with similar architectures don’t seem like much of a stretch.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I’m not yet sure what the jobs of the future are, or whether there even will be large enough numbers of them to absorb all the people who will be displaced by driverless vehicles alone, let alone other forms of automation. Many of the people in those jobs are the ones who are least comfortable in formal education, and moreover hiring departments are already much more conservative in their demands for experience and credentials than the existing transferable skill philosophy would prefer. A sudden glut of workers is likely to make them more picky, not less, because they can be. Following the trend of the so-called ‘sharing’ economy, We will instead see more and more people trying to make a living out of their side gigs, hobbies, and avocations, or cobbling together a bunch of small distributed tasks (a la Task Rabbit, Fiver, Handy, Mechanical Turk, even Etsy).”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Online education is the next big step in higher education whether it be university degrees or work-related certifications. If an employer wants to get ahead in their business, it pays to have an educated employee base. Online certifications and training can offer that with convenience not found with attending courses in person.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Anything that can be taught in a ‘training program’ can be taught to and done by AI much more cheaply. There simply won’t be a demand for such programs. The employment problem of the future won’t be giving people relevant skills for available jobs, it’s that there won’t be nearly as many jobs for humans. Like the automobile drastically reduced the number of jobs available for horses, so AI will do to us.”

An anonymous software-testing engineer said, “The combination of VR and AI is going to come into its own as a method of training more workers. The single most important skill for workers is knowing how to learn.”

An anonymous senior technology security architect responded, “This may depend a lot on what you believe the jobs of the future will entail. We’re seeing a divide now between highly technical jobs and menial tasks as automation eats into the middle between these extremes. What this does not seem to be leading to is any jobs where a 3-month online course in custom dog construction, for example, is in high demand. Ongoing and developing expertise in highly technical jobs requires not just an understanding of the nuts and bolts, which can be achieved online in a number of ways, but also an understanding of the theoretical basis of the nuts and bolts so that new solutions can be considered or evaluated. This depends heavily on access to good references sources and well-structured lectures or activities that bring out the necessary principles. Success won’t be the result of new educational or training programs, at least not dramatically different from what’s available now. Slapping a VR headset over a Second Life-style lecture hall isn’t innovation. Some improvements here are only going to be incremental. More importantly, these don’t scale well as development of course material and recruiting good instructors both remain fairly intractable to technological solutions. And, I’m sorry, but I don’t believe Mind chatbots are going to replace lecturers any time soon.”

An anonymous principal research programmer at Carnegie Mellon University commented, “We are only beginning to see the potential of online tools for education and training. Whether the tools of the future will be successful in helping people achieve specific educational goals is an open question. But there is sufficient reason at least for now to be optimistic.”

An anonymous global consultant and computer scientist said, “The educational system is essentially equipped to instill conformity and utility to a corporatist system, with the bare minimum of focus on citizenry and ‘deep’ life skills. The future belongs to autodidacts, as the value of credentials is diluted by over-adoption and rapid turnover of skills.”

An anonymous respondent said, “MOOCs from MIT and other programs have improved and Georgia Tech’s graduate program has been well-received and is academically rigorous.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The future will be more automated than folks believe and jobs will become a curious relic of history.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “There aren’t technocratic solutions to this—but there may be painful political ones.”

An anonymous technology analyst for Cisco Systems commented, “The gig economy takes over, and micro-skill training will come to the fore. Debate is a most important skill that can be taught online, emphasizing the importance of preparation.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I’m not sure we can know what skills will be needed in further positions except to know that we will still need manual labor at some level, but will need advanced technical skills, as well. Some of these can be taught online and through video/streaming, but I don’t think all will. As for validity of those from university versus online, it will depend on the rigor, the assessment of knowledge, and what is expected of on-the-job training.”

The president of a technology LLC wrote, “This is a growing trend already. Training, teaching are all going online, partly because of high costs of campus education.”

An anonymous professor who is an expert in the social effects of mass communication commented, “These are necessary, but both political and economic trends work against such large-scale public-good activities.”

An anonymous CTO for a mobile telecommunications company said, “Online training continues to gain traction, but content creation is still costly.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “Not only no, but hell no. That is a future which is unsustainable unless we get an infinite supply of energy fairy dust.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Speaking as an American, our public educational system was doing a piss-poor job of training people for any job at all, any basic readiness for adult life, long before digital technology became a major part of ordinary people’s lives. Private actors may step in to fill the gap insofar as it benefits them directly, but that doesn’t translate to ‘large numbers of workers.’ More of the rich are Charles Koch than Warren Buffett, and if you’re not already an Eloi you’re probably doomed to be a Morlock.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Learning will, in itself, become important. The skill to continue to learn will be important in all jobs. Maybe the future of education is to do your bachelor at school/university, but then to your masters throughout your career, one small building block at the time? Online systems will be good for some training (for example, programming), but difficult for other topics. Learning networks will emerge—people who work in the same sector will learn from each other.”

An anonymous program director for a major US technology funding organization predicted, “We will see training for the jobs of the past, and for service jobs. The jobs of the future will not need large numbers of workers with a fixed set of skills—most things that we can train large numbers of workers for we will also be able to train computers to do better. “

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Not until we convince enough people that a neoliberal form of capitalism is against the overall goals of a healthy society. And I don’t see that happening because the demographic forces of population growth leading to migration will cause great discomfort among people, and a resistance to change and differentness.”

An anonymous open-source technologist commented, “We will surely see the emergence of new training programs, in fact, we must. Modern commerce relies on increasingly specialized and in some cases arcane knowledge (Linux, machine learning, virtual machines, blockchain, etc.) that has to be widely distributed to achieve sufficient scale for sustainability. We already seem to lack engineers in many domains. Training people, of all kinds, with these needed skills will lead to greater productivity and the danger is of stagnation without these people.”

The director of evaluation and research at a university ranked in the top 10 in the US wrote, “No and yes. Sure, Lynda.com and Udacity and others that can provide skills, just like the corporate training programs we use now, will have their day. But those skills won’t be the same as an education–as the habits of mind and social interleavings that make for the types of problem-definition, interdisciplinary perspectives, and incisive thought that will be most needed. Yes to tidy skills tutors, but no to deep engagement with the stuff of distinctly human capabilities.”

An anonymous online course designer responded, “The most important skills for the workforce will be teamwork and communication online. Obviously the Internet can be sued for teaching this. Manual skills that can’t be simulated, such as woodwork and playing a musical instrument, will be hardest to teach online. New credentialing will complement existing degrees, not replace them. Australia already has an integrated qualification system in place which covers both vocational short courses and degrees.”

An anonymous directing manager commented, “MOOCS, and other non-traditional platforms will abound, as well as adaptation by bricks and mortar institutions. All of these will serve to utilize learning and accreditation ‘at the speed of byte.’”

An anonymous president of a consulting firm wrote, “The tools will get better and better and this is make it easier and easier to develop new products and services.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “A variety of skills are already being taught online; I know of one art university teaching welding online today. As societies try to level up into the middle class (and beyond), online teaching will be even more critical to meeting their goals, as in-person education doesn’t scale as well. For the foreseeable future, those educated in such a manner will see a distinct disadvantage, but it’s likely not to be as pronounced as some would think, given the reduced value of credentials (for a variety of reasons) in many fields.”

An anonymous senior fellow at the University of California-San Diego commented, “This is a yes-and-no answer as it depends on what jobs of the future we are discussing. Many jobs that require human interaction are hard to train without elements of the traditional hands-on approach. However many skills can be taught better by systems that are adaptive to the learning style of the student and with increased augmentation of human tutors by AI we can get faster and more personalized feedback to help students learn.”

An anonymous engineer at Neustar observed, “We are rapidly improving our ability to effectively train people over the Internet and that will be used to substantially improve all kinds of skills at a scale and cost that has not been achievable with more primitive, in-person training, or less-effective self-directed training.”

An anonymous chief scientist emeritus at Raytheon BBN Technologies wrote, “Too many individuals attend college without clear goals and with marginal educational skills. If they graduate, they are often ill-suited to many job opportunities. Vocational training is now passé but more of it is needed to provide skilled labor for a wide range of jobs, many of which pay a decent wage.”

An anonymous policy advisor commented, “Unfortunately no. The basic digital literacy will not be sufficient in the coming decade. Training programs must move from a ‘old’ digital training programme where people were given sufficient understanding of Microsoft Office, to a better comprehension of the overall technology. Basic understanding of the infrastructure, as well as ‘algorithmic’ literacy (critically assess and understand automation processes) will be crucial, and I do not see this being high on the agenda.”

An anonymous researcher at the New York Times replied, “We’re already beginning to see the emergence of technically- and socially-minded professional training programs, accelerators, technical training businesses, and university departments (e.g., iSchools). Simultaneously, occupations requiring technical skills are also exploding. It’s quite challenging to tell what will be required to be an effective employee for the technical job market, and what skills will be required in the future.”

An anonymous postdoctoral fellow at Rice University’s Humanities Research Center said, “So much has been said and challenged over the past three decades about online education I’d like to answer this by asking a different set of questions which address recent developments in robotics and artificial intelligence. How will autonomous factories in Chicago, US, share what they’ve learned with factories in Pingdingshan, China? What credentialing system will self-driving cars require? How will artificially intelligent laborers learn the skills needed to run a household, business, government institution, or political organization? When will universities allow artilect [non-human artificial-intelligence] students to enroll in their traditional undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and how would students learn the more ephemeral skills like critical thinking from a thinking machine?”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Education will become increasingly internet-based. It is possible to teach a large number of skills, especially via virtual-reality systems.”

An anonymous futurist wrote, “I don’t think this is any more of an issue than it has ever been. Learning new skills is much easier now with the internet and it will continue to improve. But “credentialing systems” will probably be no more of an issue than they are now. A college degree now is not a credential to do anything. Anyone who graduated from college twenty years ago is not performing the job that they were hired to do. I think that is true of people who are joining the workforce today. Businesses train people to do the jobs they need done.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I expect autonomous systems to provide little improvement over self support (a la Hagel’s power of pull) with Google. What would help is improving people’s efficiency at providing supports to others. Sort of Slack on Steroids.”

An anonymous founder said, “In general, technology seems to be making real progress in training and education.”

An anonymous respondent working in global public policy at a major telecommunications company wrote, “Companies increasingly are utilizing online tools to retool employees.”

An anonymous fellow at a nonprofit organization studying digital data and its impact on society commented, “I am pessimistic about this as it would/will require government action on a large scale, which does not seem forthcoming.”

An anonymous associate professor and research center director at Michigan State University replied, “We will always need teachers and students will always need 1:1 attention.”

An anonymous executive director at a major open source internet software company responded, “The central funding and market structures driving Western education today are not set up to adapt fast enough or creatively enough. Individuals and employers will respond by turning to self learning, learning by doing, looking for evidence of skill in a manner that doesn’t rely on credentials. The mainstream education system will come under increasing pressure as the public realizes its failing.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The most-effective learning will still require human contact and in-person modeling of needed work behaviors.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Online teaching of techniques is already often better than in-person, and the tools and practices are expanding. Problem-solving skills, in particular team-based problem-solving skills, are hardest to teach online in ‘teaching settings,’ but done well in multiplayer environments. Employers already are, and will continue and expand, their use of online credentialing. This will put pressure on the lowest-end training systems and the mid-range, but high-status training will continue to command significant premiums.”

An anonymous senior researcher at Microsoft Research commented, “Academia is one of the few industries that has not changed much in several hundred years. MOOCs were a disruption but they are not the answer as their dropout rates are extremely high. But some type of distributed learning based on MOOCs will come up and disrupt academia.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “The terms in this question that are problemmatic are ‘large-scale’ and ‘successfully.’ We also have not yet seen any widespread acceptance by employers of things like micro-credentials.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Education and training continues to evolve and there’s a lot of quality stuff out there. Education and training helps a lot with ‘hard skills’ (which is great). It’s harder to train on ‘soft skills,’ so no matter what kind of hard skills one comes to the workplace with, at the end of the day things always seem to boil down to people and communication challenges.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Leading business schools are investing and exploring digital education and learning tools, experiences, etc. We will continue to see innovation, failures, and successes.”

An anonymous senior research scholar at a major university’s digital society lab wrote, “Ten years is not long enough—the economy may have answered the question of need for new skills but political will and funding for those programs will not have caught up. The aging of the population will pit senior benefits against funds for those of working age—and seniors will win out.”

An anonymous research scientist commented, “Online education is at its infancy, we are still figuring out how do it more effectively. In any case there is an increase in online education facilitated by technology and higher internet speed”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It seems natural that online courses and training will evolve over the next 10 years.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The two trends with the most hype right now are AI and VR. Let’s assume that these technologies will have a large impact on the nature of the future work. The workforce of the future (that is not completely displaced by this tech) then needs the skills to utilize these technologies. Some broad skills I anticipate are interacting with machine learning systems, reasoning with underlying algorithms and embedded judgments, being comfortable delegating tactical decisions to those algorithms, etc. Education will certainly change, though not necessarily because of new job demands. It’s already broken. We already see that it is a financially broken system. No doubt a general education is crucial to individual development. But from a macro perspective, if the workforce does not meet the demands of the market, then there is evolutionary pressure for the system to change. As the educational system changes, signaling mechanisms will change.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Innovative solutions for assisting high school graduates with technical training (admittedly for low-to-medium-waged jobs) likely will be provided. Future classrooms may give lip service to ‘creativity’ and ‘problem-solving,’ but it’s unclear how this reorientation might affect ultimate job and career ‘success.’ Microcredentialing could happen, but who will be the gatekeepers for such standards? Hard to tell.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The increasing reach of data, automation and eventually AI will force those jobs that remain to require even greater human touch. In the medium term, online systems will be essential to teaching us to cope with the flood of data and associated analytics. In the long term, emotional intelligence will become increasingly differentiating and important for the jobs that remain.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “An important skill needed to succeed in the workforce of the future is an ability to cultivate a strong network so that, if your job disappears, you’re able to quickly find a new role. Employers will be accepting applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems as long as they are underpinned by hard skills, like computer programming or user experience design. In the future, people will be assessed by what they’ve built and not solely by the prestige of their university.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Why in the next ten years? Such things are appearing constantly.”

An anonymous chief marketing officer at a major provider of educational materials replied, “Many investments are being made and experiments being run in the area of skills training, and there is every reason to believe that a blended model, heavy on self-paced instruction and exercises, will continue to expand. Virtual reality will find its most practical application in the area of skills training, so that we will ultimately be able to teach ourselves skills that once required expensive hands-on experience to master. Because of these developments, skills training (as opposed to traditional liberal arts education focused on communication and critical thinking skills) will see the greatest disruption.”

An anonymous associate professor at a center for informatics policy said, “New educational approaches will fill in gaps in current university and other training programs but will not replace them. They will accelerate the development of certification programs and simple skills, but there will still be a need for deep thinking, structured feedback, and conversations with experts.”

An anonymous associate professor at a European university wrote, “Ten years is a short time. I don’t think we will see changing education for large numbers.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Yes we will see an expansion of online education even for skills-based knowledge. Convenience and cost will dominate the rationale and acceptance by both applicants and employers. Physical skills will be very challenging to learn online and in general I already find online education especially asynchronous to be a poor substitute for in class or even a hybrid. Employers may be more accepting particularly if the source of the degree obtained is not disclosed, e.g., who knows that the University of New England MPH is online entirely?”

An anonymous programmer and data analyst commented, “The combination of nanotechnology and AI will actually reduce the number and type of jobs (as we currently understand the term). I foresee significant economic, social, cultural turmoil over the coming 10 to 20 years with millions of people thrown out of work—with little to no ‘official’ jobs available for them. Instead the notions of a base living wage will continue to churn as a topic until eventually implemented. Automated vehicles yield the elimination of school bus drivers, truck drivers, taxi cab drivers, the purchase of cars themselves (as opposed to Uber-style access and ‘pay for time used’). This, in turn, impacts police forces (no speeding or parking tickets) as their revenue streams diminish, fewer ER doctors and nurses (as the number of accidents decline), massive change in the auto insurance companies and mechanisms. 3D printing of structures (houses, apartments, boats, cars, etc.) yields massive layoffs in the construction and manufacturing industries. 3D printing itself dramatically reduces the need for factories in China, Korea, etc., which in turn reduces the need to freighters plying the oceans (and the ones that are left will be autonomous with little to no crew). Nano-drones and robotic support for farming will dramatically modify (reduce) the number of people employed in the agriculture sector. The list goes on and on. So 60 to 80 million Americans alone will be thrown out of work in the next two decades. There is nothing the vast majority of these people can be trained on that will replace the income/work they do today. This just scratches the surface on the types of massive change coming.”

an anonymous, assistant professor at the University of Utah, “We will see a move toward using community colleges and vocational programs to train people in specific skills and jobs, and I expect more and more of the course work will take place online, broadening access to this training. Skills involving the use of computers and computing will probably be the easiest to teach online, or without any direct in-person training. Any skills that involve the use of other machinery will probably be more difficult to do online. Industries and employers will likely partner with community colleges over some of these job-training programs (as it currently done in Chicago as elsewhere), which will lead them to of course be very accepting of those trained in this way. I don’t think this kind of training will work as well for traditional, liberal arts education or for advanced academic degrees.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be more virtual reality and interactive learning ‘J-I-T,’—just in time.”

An anonymous educator who now works as executive director for a major US digital education project responded, “The challenge isn’t creating the educational training programs, the challenge is people taking the opportunity to be trained. I do believe we will be more virtual over the next 10 years but I don’t think there will be much new in the way of education training programs. VR may increase but other than that I don’t predict much change here because of the lack of participation in training programs overall.”

An anonymous person who is self-described as a “chief problem solver” replied, “Huge portions of the human condition can be effectively learned through one to many learning environments enabled through the internet. Many cannot. While the lower cost and increased access to wide-ranging education are appealing, so much more is learned in classrooms than just the content of the curriculum that I’m worried about the quality/depth of the education decreasing. E.g. if you have a classmate who loves the material, better questions get asked, other students get excited, etc.. Similarly, so much of education has become about rote memorization for tests that whole areas of study, types of learners, and context also tend to get lost/ignored. For instance, if you take a look at the prevalence of strong problem solving skills in our society now vs. 20 years ago, you’ll notice that an overwhelming majority are now quite specialized in their particular areas of interest/work, but on average have less ability than their counterparts 20 years ago to adequately handle new/incongruous/conflicting information or tasks. Instead of figuring it out, and thereby training up our ingenuity-focused skills, we now tend to simply google someone else’s answer. While this is ‘efficient’ in terms of getting to an adequate solution rapidly, it means that the actual cross-functional skills of our societies are less able to handle new inputs, be flexible, or actually puzzle out new problems.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There’s a lot of education-based elitism in this country. Other education is of scant value in a resume. I don’t know about elsewhere.”

An anonymous respondent said, If there is to be less polarized society, both culturally and economically, a change in workforce participation and compensation needs to take place.”

An anonymous respondent from a media research institute based in Europe commented, “Yes, but this is a long-term endeavor, and education lags technological change significantly. Much more needs to be done in this direction—one concrete example is teaching digital literacy at the high school level, which is not universally done.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I’m not feeling optimistic about employment opportunities over the coming decade. While technologies arise to replace ever more manufacturing and service sector jobs, I don’t think the necessary design and maintenance positions for those systems are going to balance out, numerically, and any variety of potential societal remedies will lag, due to political disagreements.”

An anonymous respondent whose research career was spent at a major U.S. university replied, “It’s the rare parent of an athletically-gifted child who would be disappointed if their son or daughter left college at the end of their freshman year to become a first-round draft pick for an NBA or WNBA team. To use the phrase of your question, that year spent in college ‘trained the student in the skills they need to perform a job’—and the pro draft selection indicates that the training is complete. The ‘non-traditional’ prediction I would make for the next ten years is that many STEM professions will follow the lead of the NBA in this way, and the college experience will evolve to support it, on both the undergraduate and graduate level. How long each student stays in school, and how they learn during their stay, will be customized for each student, and for each employer that recruits from the school. To keep the grandparents happy, new names for degrees of different lengths will be invented, and we’ll still have caps and gowns and commencement speeches. But for vocationally-focused majors, I believe that in 10 years, only a fraction of those diplomas will be for today’s standard degree types.”

An anonymous respondent said, “People with the capital to make this happen would rather invest in robots/AI whose labor they own, instead of sharing profits with human workers.”

An anonymous respondent said, “but also no. Yes, because obviously the internet will greatly diminish the need for people to attend a physical place of learning and where bricks-and-mortar are needed (chemistry labs for example) there will be increasingly less need for students to be in the same physical space. No, because what are the jobs of the future? Manufacturing is already deep into automation territory and transport is starting to head in the same direction. Someone will still need to know how to sail a cargo ship but that doesn’t mean they ever have to go to sea. And this process impacts white-collar jobs as much as blue-collar ones. Global workforces, telecommuting and off-shoring already poke holes traditional ideas of education and employment.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We forget that half of the population is dumber than average and the current trends in manufacturing and US commerce do not take this into account. As a practical matter, this half of the population is not going to become software programmers, which is probably OK, since this isn’t what we really need. What we need looks a lot like the ’50s, with considerable investment in basic infrastructure. Consequently, the skills required are fairly pedestrian and focus on welding, plumbing, concrete, steel, earthmoving, carpentry, fabrication, machining, etc. These skills are not taught effectively online and can only be learned man-to-man through skills transfer. (The same is true of programming and software development; I’ve done both.) Thankfully, 70% of the population is well prepared to take on these roles successfully, if only we could socially readjust the status and pay of these jobs to make them more attractive. Imagine if the capital locked up in student loans wasn’t wasted in the university system and had been invested in infrastructure over the last 15 years instead. Hundreds of thousands of people’s lives wouldn’t be destroyed by crushing debt spent on nothing and the country would have some kick-ass roads, trains, power-lines, and new bridges.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Skills that seem to be in demand involve managing your own time and actually finding jobs in the changing economy. More and more, employment is moving to contract and freelance based cultures, and more sites and employers are popping up that employ people this way. Uber and Lyft, for example, allow people to work on their own time using digital tools; freelancing sites like UpWork connect people with skills to those who need something done. I think this is the wave of the future for employment, and as more and more training and time management is expected to be done by an employee themselves rather than provided by the company, I believe that these skills will be taught in online formats. We already see MOOCs and other programs intended to impart skills in conflict resolution, time management, and navigating digital tools. I believe that we will see more of these, and they will be self-paced with little interaction. I believe that, however applicants attain these skills, they will not be stigmatized by employers. College degrees are already worth little, as you are expected to have one to enter the workforce, so I see their relevance diminishing even more. The skills that are the hardest to convey in these settings are the ‘soft skills,’ or the people and interaction skills. These involve practice and time and actual interaction, which are missing from large-scale trainings. This is something that students at a college can attain through having to interact with classmates, professors, and the campus culture, so perhaps having these skills from that experience will give those individuals an advantage.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I’m not feeling optimistic about employment opportunities over the coming decade. While technologies arise to replace ever more manufacturing and service sector jobs, I don’t think the necessary design and maintenance positions for those systems are going to balance out, numerically, and any variety of potential societal remedies will lag, due to political disagreements.”

An anonymous research officer replied, “Online tools that aid in education have already been developed and continue to be refined. This process will continue but careful thought must be put toward the questions of which topics or sections best lend themselves to online education. Also, we should be wary of creating an education system where those with significant financial resources are the only ones able to access face-to-face instruction while others only have the choice of online education.”

An anonymous product manager at an LLC said, “The internet will free up the distribution of knowledge that used to be tied to a campus or a physical location. The next phase is to drive out expense and cost to lower the cost. Education and healthcare are still not in equilibrium to improve the costs.”

An anonymous university professor wrote, “Higher education does not create jobs (except for people who work in it). Social policy creates jobs.”

An anonymous professor of sociology replied, “At some point we educators (or some of us or those who would compete with us) will recognize that we need to focus on how to teach more people better easier.”

An anonymous respondent said, “MOOCs were overhyped but are having this impact, and will be improved to have more.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Pedagogy geared toward training ‘large numbers’ evolves very slowly. We will see any number of ‘new’ programs that claim to be able to successfully train large numbers of workers, but ones that do will be vanishingly few and far between, for two reasons: the rapid rate of change in the demands of the workplace will continue to outpace educators’ ability to devise broad-based training programs; and also the entrenched traditional educational system (i.e. colleges and universities), will persist in their efforts to cast such programs in as negative a light as possible lest they lose their relevance completely.”

An anonymous professor of political science wrote, “Sure, we’re already seeing this, particularly in less selective colleges and universities. The question is how these sorts of things (like video game design, for instance) will conflict with the traditional liberal arts curriculum.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Training will improve. Education in humanities will die as extraneous. Bildung will be a whisper of the past.”

An anonymous chief scientist commented, “Most job training is local and social. You learn from your network of colleagues.”

An anonymous professor of public policy at a major US university replied, “In the name of efficiency, these programs will proliferate. Years later, we will discover that the human element was essential.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Without institutional structures in place, people will not have the support they need to complete online training programs, no matter what the skill. Someone who can create the same kinds of accountability mechanisms as exist in traditional classrooms but in an online context will have a much better chance of successfully training large numbers of people (and getting employers to accept credentials they issue) than organizations that simply make online lessons or courses available without those mechanisms.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We will continue to teach students of all ages to acquire critical thinking skills and encourage them to apply them in new media—the idea that we need a more “job focused” skill education is the threat to real learning, not whether it is done on a virtual platform or face-to-face. People are more than the jobs they hold, and learning to relate to a variety of people with respect is not advanced by slotting everything and everyone into a job market perspective.”

An anonymous respondent who works as an instructional designer for a major US university replied, “I suspect more companies will start reinventing a space they mostly abdicated decades ago: on-the-job training. There may be some major success stories from big existing players like Google or thus-far unknown upstarts.”

An anonymous senior principal engineer at a futures-based organization wrote, “Yes, there will be online courses staffed by chatpersons.”

A tech company CEO responded, “Future workforce skills will be less dependent on the interaction of people with improved skills and the ‘norm’ becoming text. Unfortunately, I think the educational systems will change employers who don’t have the insight or personal experience of them will allow them to take precedent over traditional and long-standing, proven programs. I’d predict it will back fire until a proper framework is implemented. People skills, persistence, motivation and other soft skills are going to be the most difficult to teach.”

An anonymous respondent said, “If we define success as bare minimum to complete a job, then many jobs are able to be taught online, it just may not be the best method. Hands on skills are harder to teach online.”

A professor at Florida State University commented, “In discussions with colleagues, we note the following issues: content for education and training is becoming less scarce and less costly. The highest costs will be in quality evaluation. The key skills in communication, analysis, critical thinking, collaborative and team work may require some kinds of project based or experiential learning, along with professional supervision and evaluation. If credentials are focused on specific learning outcomes and this is documented over time, they should be credible.”

The head of privacy at a telecommunications company said, “Distance learning programs will increase in sophistication and subject areas. Teaching, cybersecurity roles, and non-lab liberal arts and business courses, including language skills could expand through online courses.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “As VR, better interaction models, higher internet speeds and smarter hardware becomes available, educational systems will become more intelligent and much more interactive. This should include “smart hardware” and research based instruction scenarios.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “With US unemployment rates for 25-year-olds being 5 times higher for high school graduates than for college graduates, there is a clear need here that can satisfied, and monetizing it (even if only through ad revenue) would be a straightforward exercise. It seems inevitable that someone will decide that this represents an opportunity to be exploited. At the same time, one of the largest gaps in the US labor market is in availability of tech workers. These skills are inherently well-suited to computer-based-training. Further, the tech industry has — more than others — a history of being willing to hire based on skill rather than résumé: the number of office workers without a college degree in computer jobs is remarkably high when compared to other disciplines.”

An assistant professor of digital rhetoric at a US university said, “Yes, we are already seeing the rise of ad hoc training institutes across communities, especially within the context of educational institutions. At the level of higher education, THATcamp, HILT, DHSI, the Digital Pedagogy Institute, and many, many others are already fulfilling this need. I also see an increased stress on coding in the K-12 sector, and expect an increase in efforts to target population of adult learners as well. However, the workshop model is difficult to sustain. It seems that intro-level programming courses can be achieved this way, but face-to-face courses or working groups that meet over an extended period of time are more effective for advanced skills.”

A CEO and consultant wrote, “Online learning is still in it’s toddler phases but it is showing such amazing results we cannot assume that this grand experiment will fail like television education did in the ‘70s. This will transform the third world in a positive way and disrupt traditional western institutions in a negative way in the short term, and maybe longer if they don’t evolve and adapt nimbly.”

An anonymous professor emeritus at a major US university replied, “There is so much resistance among conservatives to government programs that I doubt there will be funding for such programs.”

An anonymous education technology consultant commented, “Training’ is the last thing most workers need. It is a pity you put educational and training in the same sentence—they are fundamentally different.”

An anonymous professor of sociology wrote, “The current system meets these needs to an extraordinary degree.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Online courses will continue to develop ways to augment one-on-one instruction. As a school librarian, I don’t believe we can recreate the benefits of personal interaction online, but the internet opens up numerous opportunities for both teachers and learners.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I hear no public voice articulating the need for such a program; I see no viable long-term (which is to say, one not premised on fraud a la for-profit colleges) business model for a private-sector alternative.”

An anonymous information privacy researcher at the University of Washington said, “In the near future one very important skill will be/should be trained: How to present yourself to the world. Social Media is now a very clear place to brag/receive credit for the work you do without needing the traditional way of waiting long until someone finds you. If you had the right training and tools to create an online image of yourself that will be your key.”

An anonymous professor at California State Polytechnic University wrote, “Online education has so much potential. The opportunity for growth and development is there, but other factors also matter like creating better systems for supporting ethical behavior among institutions and high standards of educational excellence.”

An anonymous distinguished engineer at Cisco commented, “Training programs from online universities are already very good. The big-name colleges are holding back only because of reputation and possible financial losses. Eventually all the training will be done online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “It all depends on whether the workforce has the baseline skill sets for and access to online training. If so, it will be successful, but if the workers have to develop online capabilities to get the training—that is a higher hurdle that may depend on generational, geographic and economic issues. I would expect the degree of acceptability will likely depend greatly on the nature of the jobs.”

An anonymous chief legal officer said, “Online learning is different from on campus learning. While online learning can be useful in some situations, it is not a replacement for on campus learning. My college-age daughter has done both through middle and high school, as well as college, and she finds online courses subpar compared to the in person classroom experience. I agree with her assessment and have seen both as well.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Our greatest economic challenges over the next decade will be climate change and the wholesale loss of most jobs to automation. We urgently need to explore how to distribute the increasing wealth of complex goods and services our civilization produces to a populace that will be increasingly jobless in the traditional sense. The current trend of concentrating wealth in the hands of a diminishing number of ultra-rich individuals is unsustainable. All of this while dealing with the destabilizing effects of climate change, and the adaptations necessary to mitigate its worst impacts.”

An anonymous professor at the University of California, Berkeley commented, “The market is a strong determinant of what educational and training programs exist, and which people enroll in. Universities like mine (a major research university) are increasingly driven by profit motives as state support declines. Already, we are creating more market-driven, self-supporting programs. Classic human capital theory says that, if skills are transferable, the costs of training will be borne by the employee, not the employer. With the continual churn in tech, in particular, this means that people will (have to) invest in their own training, and they will invest in the most readily marketable areas.”

A principal architect with Microsoft wrote, “The technology to develop these programs and offer them to very large audiences is rapidly advancing. Since there is a need for this, I expect the technology to be deployed.”

An anonymous principal engineer responded, “It is possible that large-scale training programs might succeed for IT-related and aspects of service-related jobs. It also might succeed at training for principals or theory for a job. I don’t see anything coming along that will help with hands-on training.”

An anonymous computer science and artificial intelligence research professor at Carnegie Mellon University said, “There will be a lot of online tools to help people educate and re-educate themselves. But these are not total solutions, and have less to offer for people training for ‘hands-on’ jobs.”

An anonymous digital manager responded, “We need a new New Deal for clean energy industry workers and public infrastructure.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Computer literacy. Not everyone needs to know how to code (but it would be awesome if they could). My parents are both fairly technology literate, but it is not intuitive to them. Being able to intuitively maneuver through new technology will be imperative. Technical skills like coding can be taught via online systems. Skills like those shown on Skillshare (cooking, crafting, etc.) or lab/bench science could effectively be taught via online systems. however, skills that require direct human interaction and practice (social work, nursing, medicine, etc.) must be taught in person. For the foreseeable future in our meritocracy of the US, most employers will generally prefer employees from four year and graduate programs over those who have learned skills online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Age of Information, transformational change from manufacturing.”

An anonymous network architect commented, “I’m a bit conflicted about this question and answer. Some skills can be taught over electronic means, but the push towards only training in this matter tends to end up treating people as nothing more than a collection of skills, which seems like an overall bad thing to me. Somehow we need to learn to merge personal and online training in a blend that treats people as people, while helping build skills in a dynamic way. There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to this question.”

An anonymous respondent said, “It’s proven that the model is widely effective.”

An anonymous professor of public relations wrote, “The word ‘successfully’ is the kicker here. Teaching rote memorization will become more efficient, but critical thinking will be greatly diminished. Employers already recognize this and yes, we will end up with two classes; the elites who can afford to be physically present to learn discourse skills and be mentored for future successes and the chronically unemployed class without the skills to continually retrain themselves for a very limited number of jobs as technology expands and takes over jobs that now don’t require much training.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Obviously not. That’s not how the future economy is going to work. We are seeing the disappearance of unskilled and semi-skilled work. It’s going to be done by robots. Those jobs will disappear and they will never come back. There will be a smallish number of highly-skilled jobs — basically, designing the robots; doing the knowledge work. Most people can’t do that work, and we won’t need huge numbers of people to do it. It will be an elite occupation, done by a relatively small number of people in coastal cities like San Francisco.”

An anonymous respondent who has worked the past few decades at several major US technology firms wrote, “The trick part of the question is ‘large numbers.’ That’s what I can’t imagine happening, although I might be envisioning a concerted effort and you might be describing many efforts that accumulate a “large number” of retrained people. The latter would be my hope, as I do think online learning is going to continue to grow in importance and popularity. And this sort of curriculum delivered online will matter more for “modern” jobs and requirements, where college curricula tends to lag, badly. (Community colleges might be able to offer more useful stuff sooner.) As for which skills are easiest or not to learn… technical education (including design and UX) has a leg up in being easier to impart and submit specifics for. (For these, self- directed isn’t as good as time-limited with an instructor.) As usual the softer, more subjective, and more intrinsic skills (negotiating, writing, project management, etc.) are going to be harder to teach online, and are very hard to scale up.”

The CEO for a major global-futures organization commented, “Yes, but education in skills not as much as in professions, and self-employment will increase making individuals’ work more diverse than just a single profession that could be vulnerable to AI and related tech.”

An anonymous respondent said, “That has already begun with on-line university courses and even drivers license tests. I expect it will expand—perhaps with 3D printing and remote fine motor skills training.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I expect to see continued growth in online education and distance learning, especially as it applies to using new technologies for health care and consumer services.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I expect to see a lot of schemes that claim they’re able to train large numbers of workers in the necessary skills, but I do not expect them to be successful as anything other than money-making schemes. See Trump University for reference.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “As more people become more tech-savvy, up to and including the non-techies i.e.: construction workers, the elderly, large-group trainings will be more available, more useful and better suited to all types of users, gurus and n00bs alike.”

An anonymous technology analyst wrote, “Online learning is steadily advancing, and pedagogy, not technology, is the main driver.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Where’s there more demand, there will be more supply.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I recently had a discussion about this with a retired teacher who said that lots of students he had were not capable of working in a technology-based society and would have to live on welfare as time went on and society depended increasingly on technological skills. But I disagree. We often are slow to respond to technological developments, but then wake up to the need to proceed. So I think that eventually we will begin to educate our children in ways we have not done in the past such that they gain the skills necessary to successfully work and live in the future. As for whether employers will accept the credentialing systems that will also evolve in the new educational environment, my view is that it will be slow, but they will respond. Universities have already changed their methods of instruction and industry has had an input into that process–why would they not adapt to new systems.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Many more schools and companies will follow the lead of programs like Treehouse and Khan Academy. What I don’t know is whether these services will continue to be available for free or little cost to the masses. My concern is that the evolution of digital education platforms will only exacerbate the existing digital divide.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The skill/job most needed now and in the near future is data scientist. The amount of data collected today is useless if it cannot be analyzed and used to make informed decisions quickly. We need people to write algorithms and design elegant predictive analytics. Typical computer science degrees do not provide the necessary skills and universities are off to a slow start.”

An anonymous marketing researcher wrote, “The trend is already beginning with more classes available online. With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, students with limited resources will increasingly turn to other options and wealthier students will follow.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Humans learn by human interaction—show and tell. While there may be innovations yet to emerge, I think they will be modest”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Anything can be taught online, but whether effective use can be made of the internet is difficult to say.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “’The jobs of the future’ are adequately performed by meat robots.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “In my experience as a UK citizen, no-one knows what the workplace of the future will require. In fact we’re not even sure there will be one for a lot of people. We have the idea that all children should be taught computer programming. I can’t believe that a high percentage of future jobs will be in programming. Core skills of numeracy, literacy and socialisation are absolutely key to everything else. They are best taught by teachers and schools. I don’t see how a computer program can teach social skills. In higher education there may be a role for computer based learning, but the quality will depend on the design of the system, and I am not clear where that is going to come from.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Education initiatives are going to need to be free, peer reviewed, and disprove of mainstream sources, but the demand is high enough and educators compassionate enough that this should be possible.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Governments are increasingly under-funding education and it seems unlikely that educational institutions will be able to build the capacity to follow and adapt to changes in technology. It is possible that private sector solutions will emerge.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It’s impossible to successfully train large numbers of workers for ‘jobs of the future’ when you don’t know what the future will bring. I do think that there will be new educational and training programs that will try.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I see this answer through two lenses: the individual learner’s, and the employers. Each has very different objectives and needs, almost oppositional in many regards. So the answer to the question for each is different. LEARNERS: I don’t think effective, online, algorithmically-based learning technologies can be developed in the next 10 years that will adequately prepare individual learners with the critical-thinking skills and knowledge needed to live life fully. (Why limit the question to just the workplace, which represents only a portion of the life experience?) Presently, each K-20 learner has numerous living, human, face-to-face teachers who teach them, and many still believe the task of preparing learners for life/the workplace is woefully inadequate. I think the near term (10 years out) will not make sufficient technological progress to enrich the intellectual capacity, knowledge and achievement of learners. For god’s sake, one only needs to pick up the phone to see how woefully inadequate digital systems presently are: ‘Hello, I’m an automated system, and I can understand complete sentences. How may I help you today?’ And 10 minutes later, you’re still stuck on, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. Please say or press 1 to …’ The goal for the learner should be to make the world a better place because of what they know and can do and to make a very decent living doing just that. However, this is certainly not the goal of the employer. EMPLOYERS: Yes, effective, online, algorithmically-based learning technologies can be developed in the next 10 years that will adequately prepare individual learners in such a way as to keep them dependent on the employer for everything. In today’s out-of-control capitalist systems, employers have no interest in the employee beyond increasing the employers’ bottom line. Employers, like government, don’t really want employees who can think too much or know too much. They only want them to have the limited skill set and knowledge needed for the task at hand that the employer believes will maximize margins. And the employer wants to pay employees as little as possible to do that work. So their interest in complete control over the educational experience is of great importance. Their need for a linearly predictable outcome from the educational experience is in the employers’ best financial interest. I’ve often thought, for example, that Bill Gates’ interest in increasing STEM education in K-20 is not because there are not sufficient numbers of well-qualified science, technology, engineering, and math graduates available for employment but that there isn’t a glut of them to make them cheap laborers like the service sector.”

An anonymous freelance software developer commented, “MOOCs will probably educate more people than universities, and it’ll be faster and cheaper to acquire tech skills.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Some of these tools are already here in the form or MOOCs and other online education platforms are already here. However, this needs to be paired with refined pedagogy, hopefully performed by flesh-and-blood instructors. Additionally, classroom synergy and collaborative partnerships need to encouraged and put at the forefront of any online training or education. None of us is as smart as all of us. If online training is reduced to didactic instruction, nothing significant will change.”

An anonymous respondent said, “If the goal of education is mere job readiness then online training will displace traditional education more and more. If workers are just a commodity being purchased by employers (rather than people) then there is no point in completing degrees when specific skills can be learned on YouTube in a tiny fraction of the time. Credible analysis suggests that the cost of education exceeds the lifetime income benefit for most professions anyway. As long as we are stuck in a homo economicus way of thinking about people, college and university education have already passed their usefulness.”

An anonymous director of business appraisal commented, “This is already happening. Note the proliferation of free or inexpensive online resources that allow people to gain programming skills. If you want to learn, you can.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Boot camps and the like have potential to help train students for the workplace, but they’re mainly boutique enterprises going after elite students. But traditional colleges should be concerned about these enterprises eroding cash cow master’s degree programs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We’ve only just started to see the effect of online resources for training. While some skills will be difficult to teach online, many skills can be taught online, and even in the last two years we’ve seen a huge jump in the quality and quantity of these resources.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I do feel there needs to be a reassessment of education that takes account of life skills as well as work ones and one that also addresses education’s high costs.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Even today young people learn through online tutorials, this will be more widespread but requires basic skills that cannot be taught online.”

An anonymous chief marketing officer said, “Scale economies and access will help a lot on this matter. Universities have already started working on this across the world.”

An anonymous professor at the University of Moratuwa commented, “Yes. E-learning will continue to improve and expand.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The pace of technology is moving so quickly it’s impossible to know what skills you’ll need to know. Perhaps then, the skills best taught are the soft skills of human communication, negotiation and perhaps practical things like time management and how to be a remote worker.”

An anonymous professor at a small liberal arts college commented, “There are (and I suspect will continue to be) increasing numbers of online training opportunities to improve the skills for people in their workplaces. I think of webinars for CEUs [continuing education units] for social workers or CLEs [continuing legal education] for lawyers, etc. as one useful path to diversifying continuing education for those fields, as a good example. However, my experience is that online learning is often done only at a superficial level—students don’t pay as much attention, they are not able to ask questions, they do not bother to repeat what they do not understand, and they are not able to have the dynamic relationship with the instructor that facilitates learning. As a result, people regularly suggest that they prefer the in person instruction to online learning because they learn more. Further, skills are not the only things people need to succeed at their jobs. Online learning can be useful for teaching skills, but it is abysmal for teaching the critical thinking people need to exhibit to do any high functioning job well.”

An anonymous principal scientist for Adobe Systems said, “I’m sure there will be new educational programs delivered via internet. Whether this can train large numbers of workers is in doubt. You don’t get smart by taking a class.”

A security engineer at Square commented, “Online education is an evolving field, but never before in history has it been so easy for anyone to learn to become anything they want to be, and that will only continue to improve.”

An anonymous associate professor at the University of Maryland-College Park wrote, “I’m optimistic that interdisciplinary programs (like information schools) can help to meet the complex educational needs of the large numbers of workers who will need to balance social and technical knowledge along with creative thinking to perform the jobs of the future.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We have education that trains workers, and that will continue, but it won’t be online, or not exclusively. Online pedagogy is not superior and only works for the self-motivated, who seek out training and skills. Thinking itself is the most difficult to teach online and/or at scale. Problem-solving and collaboration can be learned but people who could learn such online already have significant skills—this is not egalitarian. That said, lots of four year university studies are not equipping people for the jobs of today and the future, but may equip them to think or research. However, quantitative skills like statistics and data science are the expanding fields. This is specific and skilled labor, and it intimidates many people. Overcoming intimidation with competence is what we need.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We have not seen the end of commoditizing education.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Many who have computer skills are self-taught, mostly by experimentation. Those who haven’t done traditional educational programs, such as college, tend to be more open to experimenting.”

An anonymous CEO said, “The continuation of the normal evolution of education programmes to cope with a changing world may not be fast or comprehensive enough, but it is doubtless going on, at scale, around the world.”

A professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute commented, “There isn’t any choice, at least not if we want to prevent an implosion in the job market.”

An anonymous associate professor at the University of Toronto wrote, “The ability to efficiently search for and creatively combine information from various sources to address problems will be a more central part of useful educations programs.”

An anonymous teacher replied, “1. Specialized skills, plus a general decent understanding about how economy (and society) works and evolves. 2. Some specialized skills, improved tools (say a new programming language, a new families of drugs), to people who already have advanced knowhow within a professional field 3. Fundamentals of a science/technological field 4. ‘Traditional four-year and graduate programs’ and ‘new types of credentialing systems’ are not alternative solutions to the same issue. Basic instruction and understanding of fundamentals need to be pursued within the framework of graduate programs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Just as Amazon displaced bookstores and dating sites displaced matchmakers, the current system of educational credentialing will not stand.”

An anonymous researcher said, “Teaching at scale has a long way to go before it can offer the same affordances of quality small scale teaching which we still have trouble delivering. More time and effort needs to be put into quality, personalized education. Critical thinking and problem solving will be essential in the future workforce.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Training for new jobs and skills needs to come to the individual and businesses and schools that don’t get that will be on the decline”

An anonymous respondent said, “The focus is no longer on learning facts but on learning how to learn and how to find information.”

An instructional designer commented, “I’ve been an instructional designer for the last nineteen years, and the pattern I’m seeing is toward individualized learning—almost on the level of tutoring or apprenticeship. We’ve seen again and again that the broader the audience focus, the less the course seems to deliver. As for what the skills of the future are, they’ll be specialized to their fields with a university degree assumed to be a certificate in the ability to learn more about a particular subject specialty. You may get a degree in computer software development, but the truth is that you still need to be taught how to write software for, say, the mortgage company or insurance company that hires you. The key to the future will be flexibility and personal motivation to learn and tinker with new things.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Since there is profit to be had in rapidly training workers well, I have no doubt that someone will come up with something. People with expensive paper degrees will always look down on those who chose to do it differently.”

An anonymous senior software developer replied, “In some jobs we are there already. As a programmer I had a good education. But most of the things I need in may day-to-day job I have learned myself. Mostly online. This seems to work for other job types as well. I have heard the story of a mechanic that repairs tractors for farmers. He learns how to repair the stuff from YouTube. What I doubt is, that we will get to a system where schools work online. The education system here in Switzerland and as far as I can tell in the US seems too old-fashioned to go in this direction. Maybe in 20 to 50 years. What will be interesting is, if there will be people making money from teaching stuff online. There are a couple of video course portals online right now. For the stuff I need to know everything still seems to be free and maintained by individuals.”

An anonymous technical director at a technology company observed, “Technology is quickly disrupting many industries, it won’t be long before most labor jobs are obsolete. The technology sector is ripe to enliven and help retrain an entire workforce.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Many jobs will become automated, so training alone will not save workers from being unneeded in the future.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “While it is certainly possible to effectively self-teach, only a small minority of people have the time and temperament to do so. Self-teaching is particularly difficult for people who are poor, as they have to chose between immediate behaviors to ensure food, rent, etc., or spending time self-teaching- which may or may not pay off, but which will not pay off until weeks, months, or years in the future.”

An anonymous technology writer responded, “I honestly don’t know what the workplace of the future looks like, but the place where we keep hiring and training humans is in the kind of work that can only really be done well by humans face-to-face.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The oft-quoted statistic estimating that 62% of current grade 2 students eventually working in jobs that don’t yet exist make it very difficult to predict just what those skills will be. One vital skill that we need to teach is design thinking and I don’t see that happening yet. And I don’t think 10 years is enough time to see a fundamental shift away from traditional four-year programs. Hybrids maybe but I think we’re likely 20 years away from an equal playing field.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The jobs of the future are going to be fewer and further between—all the training in the world can’t prepare people to work the jobs that aren’t there.”

An anonymous university professor said, “Who is going to decide what those skills are? We’ve already learned the folly of training people in specific platforms or technologies, as those platforms and technologies will be obsolete almost as soon as students finish their training. Employers who wanted business majors five years ago are now saying they need liberal arts majors with critical thinking skills. And who is going to pay for these training programs? Post-secondary education is drastically underfunded by most states. Internships are a joke.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “If it was going to happen it would have done by now. Barring a major technological breakthrough, no change in content delivery methods for education is foreseeable, above just adoption of existing technology by more people.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Large employers will continue to fragment job functions: technical skills will be downgraded and ‘social’ skills—like who knows who from which good college—will be marks of those to be promoted. Technical skills will be fragmented and reduced to discrete functions that can be cheaply outsourced, and more people will need to be hired as managers to coordinate the fragmented, outsourced functions. However, ‘project management’ and other strategies will also keep these managers from gaining comprehensive understanding of good overall processes. Education and qualification programs will continue to be nonsense, basically an indicator of economic stratification.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The majority of these workers will be replaced by very poorly paid and exploited workers in whatever economy is willing to set the bar the lowest, or by software/robots. Job training is not the primary issue driving un/underemployment in countries like the United States.”

An anonymous respondent said, “As AI improves, lots of language-based instruction will move online. Plumbers will still have to apprentice.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The problem isn’t education. The problem is the 1% is not willing to pay a living wage. “

An anonymous senior account representative wrote, “Programs already teach their users directly or share a common graphical user interface that people are already aware of due to exposure. Large-scale training or general ‘computer’ education is unlikely to cover such things effectively.”

An anonymous freelance consultant commented, “MOOCS are now well along the Gartner hype cycle, emerging into the plateau of effectiveness. This, combined with near-term near-universality of smartphones and effective language translation will bring education opportunities to global audiences. MOOCs are already effective at teaching advanced subjects like machine learning (I am currently enrolled in just such a course), with strong employment prospects upon completion. Employers need only test during hiring evaluation phase then re-evaluate on-the-job during probation period. The nature of employment itself is undergoing radical change already and will continue to adapt. The current and future generations of young learners will grow up with this education readily available, opening opportunities for all.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Online teaching is capable of reaching large numbers of students effectively, as shown by the growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The use of virtual reality and haptic feedback devices will probably make this a viable and effective venue for high-tech trade-oriented courses. This will broaden the available trained workforce, and employers—faced with shortages of personnel—will be happy to get them. This will dovetail with an increasing reliance on at-home workers using telepresence—even in trades where robots and waldoes [remote manipulators] can be employed.”

An anonymous respondent said, “No one even remotely knows what the “jobs of the future” will be. Advances in automation are increasing rapidly and attempting to predict the future is a fool’s errand. That said, there are some jobs that will be around for a long time to come—jobs that involve human to human emotional interactions. Interestingly, these are jobs that have traditionally been done disproportionately by women, for example: nurses, teachers, counselors. Ironically those jobs are usually ignored as ‘jobs of the future’ because they are not STEM-y enough but nevertheless such high Emotional-Intelligence oriented jobs will still be here when then AI-driven robots are doing everything else.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The general trend of offloading job training to online courses will probably continue to grow, but I don’t think it will do much in the way of successfully training a larger base of workers. From personal experience it typically doesn’t take much effort for the average person to brute force their way through online training courses regardless of whether any of the information they’re meant to learn from it is actually retained or not.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I see no reason to expect future job training to be better than past or current job training. New employees and new members of the work force have always had to learn on the job. Employers should plan to train their new hires.”

An anonymous operations leader wrote, “Training programs in form of MOOCs and like are already present. The issue now is reliable, scalable credentialing. Technical certifications are paving the way for that, private companies providing more or less trusted credentialing opportunities in reliable manner.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “They’re already used internally in many organizations. It’s only a matter of time before employers become more accepting of this kind of credentialing, especially in knowledge- and technology-based fields.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We’re already seeing massive programming skills rolled out online, which makes it seem like the future is already here. Blue-collar labor has been deemed unsuitable for Americans (by which I mean the Americans formerly employed as blue-collar, mostly poor and white), I think there’s going to be more of a shift in rural areas to rural programming jobs, even if it’s stupid crap like Turking. I’m not in the programming world but everyone I know who is involved in it holds no degree and is lower middle-class kind of successful. I’m sure as time goes on there will be more ‘accredited’ courses as online schools figure out how to hustle better and things get more centralized (as they inevitably seem to do), but in the meantime it doesn’t seem necessary. I haven’t addressed the other major future American workforce: healthcare. I just don’t know about health care; it seems completely screwed to get into at this point (I’m a potential future ultrasound tech). My mom is upping her license from LPN to RN and the online course sounds like trash, the clinicals sound like trash, she’s 60+ and paying thousands of dollars for a trash program. I don’t know if it’s because it’s an ineffective medium though—as long as there have been institutions of learning there have been crappy institutions and terrible teachers. That ‘s less about the internet and more about sleazy programs.”

An anonymous survey participant said, “I would have preferred to have a maybe option. The key word is ‘successfully.’ You will have large programs and people will be trained to work. The end result will not be to traditional standards of performance, but that may not be the goal.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “No, at least not in the United States where school will remain a capital pool for Pearson and its ilk. We’ll see new programs in schools that copy innovative online experiences while standardizing them and nerfing their potential for democratizing education.”

An anonymous respondent, “Online training and education will grow as MOOCs become more widespread and excepted by employers.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “The money and will to develop, refine, and accredit online training does not and will not exist.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Using your criteria of, ‘new… successfully…large numbers of workers’ I must answer, no.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “These solutions already exist and the next ten years will see them refined. In parallel I believe that society will come to have greater acceptance for the idea that these online training programs are an effective training tool. This will allow the trainees to leverage their training when attempting to seek employment.”

An anonymous respondent said, “As technology and society develops, we will see new approaches to training such as more online learning and more focused learning.”

An anonymous technical services professional commented, “These training opportunities are already available, but we lack the people motivated to use them. The one set of skills that cannot be taught online is face-to-face communication. This needs to happen starting early in life. We are starting to see many individuals in the workplace that were 100% home schooled, and many of these individuals are missing certain social understandings that you only develop from a history of interactions in complex social situations. Sure, they came from a bully-free environment, but then these same people have no ability to deal with complex social interactions without resorting to ‘calling for their mommy,’ which in the workplace is generally the HR department.”

An anonymous teacher said, “Decision-making skills and creativity seem to be human abilities with which machines cannot compete yet. A machine can do surgery, paint things, and grow food. Can a machine be an artist? An improvisational musician? A politician? I cannot foresee it.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The barrier here is success. New platforms will be developed, but few will be able to deliver skills development at scale.”

An anonymous community advocate commented, “We’re all about simplification, process development, and automation. The fields may change, but we’re always going to need humans capable of repetitive tasks, if only to repair new technologies.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Online tutorials only go so far. Even in-house corporate training only gives you an overview. Directed training and reading give more through understanding.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The entire education sector will lean more and more on the Net. It’s already happening.”

A systems administrator from a university located outside the US wrote, “This is happening as we speak. The gathering of information will be crucial for understanding new systems. These abilities are being honed by online studies and research by the students of today. They will enter the workforce with those skills on their belt.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “So far, this is happening in higher education more than elsewhere, with mixed success. It has the ability to reach larger numbers, but lacks the individual support that in-person training can provide. Therefore, a hybrid approach is best. I can see fundamental skills being taught online, but skills that are more complex or specific to a particular setting would be more difficult, especially for populations that may need greater support, such as those with disabilities.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We’re already seeing this—e.g., with the inclusion of social media managers at workplaces who provide some training (if informal) to their colleagues and who (presumably) had training prior to taking on the work.”

an anonymous respondent said, “Overall, the promise of online education has fallen far short of expectations. People still learn best in small in-person settings.”

an anonymous respondent, “Unless incentives change, the gap between the vision of Jefferson and the vision of an obedient bootcamp will keep growing in conflict—more coding any myopia, less creativity.”

An anonymous US law professor wrote, “I don’t think we have a choice. Either such educational and training programs emerge or we fall behind.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “No, we’re not doing nearly enough work around this to address the fact that the distribution of jobs in the future is likely to change, which makes me doubt that any program that did put this together would really line up with needs.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Changes in the technology to communicate is vastly different, allowing peer-to-peer and one to many communications. Teaching (whether in basic education or vocational training) is way behind. That will change as new models show success.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes and no. Online learning is a tremendous step forward in fostering life-long learning and professional development for adults. For specific skills—how to design an API, how to run a webinar—online learning has really expanded our ability to extend our knowledge. But I believe that the skills needed in today’s workforce go beyond specific job requirements and include more basic skills: the willingness to work collaboratively, to focus on finding a need and addressing it, acting proactively, identifying the most important problem in your job and proactively addressing it. I am not convinced that people can learn a new mindset from a training program; these are skills that need to be taught from elementary school on.”

An anonymous associate professor wrote, “The most important skills in any job are interpersonal skills. I don’t see how these can be effectively taught online.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “With text analysis, sentiment analysis, video learning—those techniques can certainly help educators.”

An anonymous clinical informaticist at a major health-tech firm said important skills will be, “Flexibility, adaptability, self motivation and innovation…the ability to think outside the box.”

The vice president of data at a technology company said, “This is already happening. I don’t expect any revolution, just a continued evolution in this regard.”

An anonymous director of a networks research foundation in Brazil said, “The danger could be that education is only focused on utilitarian or specific skills while the need of transverse or generic skills (such as MIL) are as much or more required.”

An anonymous professor at MIT wrote, “These training programs will happen not because government thinks they are a good idea but because industry will demand them. Industry will need them.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Possibly. The US is an over-developed country. Jobs of the future will become more centered around technology. I am unsure why US kids avoid STEM programs.”

An anonymous director of a communications company replied, “Yes but it will take longer that we expect so more towards the end of that period. It has more to do with behavioral change than with technology.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Skills will continue to be very specific and the rate of change will increase. New, formal “training” programs (short-term, certificates) and platforms for education (e.g. MOOCS) will be developed and used by some folks, but they will not be a significant threat to “traditional” higher education (which, when done well, is about developing thinking, ways of learning, perspectives on self/world, NOT training)—and training conducted by individual companies or ad hoc training. Folks who go through new credentialing systems will not necessarily be viewed as less-qualified than those who attended traditional four-year and graduate programs for entry level/technical positions (they may be seen as more qualified), but will face barriers in advancement/promotion.”

An anonymous respondent said, “MOOC platforms like Coursera and edX will benefit from AI developments.”

An anonymous respondent who works in government replied, “More learning by doing interactively (one-on-one skype tutoring), more visual aids in the learning process and far more group-task learning modules.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Skills for interpersonal relations and strategic planning are best learned through real experience but I would agree that some workplace skills could be taught online providing people have discipline to practice and retain open minds to question and make sense of what they are being taught.”

An anonymous graduate student at Harvard University wrote, “Critical thinking; problem solving; perseverance when technological solutions fail.”

An anonymous associate professor of political science at a major US state university commented, “Online education is the wave of the future.”

An anonymous professor at a major US state university replied, “We do not need new types of programs. The real challenge is what to do with the excess time that we can have and how to distribute the benefits of next-generation technology.”

An anonymous senior research director at Indiana University commented, “Emergence but not complete.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The most important skill will be critical thinking, the ability to evaluate, toss the dross. The question seems to me to relate to current white-collar jobs, which will be disappearing. Interpersonal skills, communal team skills will be important.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The internet can be an amazing resource for learning. However, given the significant drop-off rates of MOOCS There’s still a lot we don’t understand about how to successfully conduct scalable forms of online education. Furthermore, as automation increases, future jobs will require people to be creative thinkers, rather than necessitate that they know specific skills or information. Given the challenge of teaching creative thinking in the physical world, It’s unclear how we will achieve this in the digital world. Right now it seems important to focus on improving approaches to learning overall, rather than transferring traditional approaches classroom education to online formats.”

An anonymous professor of at City University of New York wrote, “Yes, with texts, developing online content and developing cutting-edge curricula, I see a variety of clear differences between the kind of instruction available through, for example, online videos, and the kind of learning environment we try to create in a college, one that includes the development of the individual’s sense of identity, high-level information discrimination, ethics, and more. The idea of ’performing a job’ more and more means being self-developing, self-placing. What I hope it doesn’t mean is more self-exploitation. I have taken online courses in philosophy as well as online training in software skills. I tend to worry that education will deepen, but not broaden. If we are not careful, the kind of ’digital divide’ that is embedded in questions like this one will perpetrate inequalities in the guise of opening new opportunities.”

An anonymous futurist based in Peru wrote, “All the skills related to ICT tools will be easier to train to large numbers of workers. In the opposite way, all the skills requiring specialized labs or equipment still will require personalized training.”

An anonymous assistant professor commented, “New training programs are being developed all of the time. I imagine a movement to smartphone-based training.”

An anonymous professor of sociology replied, “The expansion of education and training online to date have produced disappointing results.”

An anonymous respondent said, “MOOCs seem far more limited that expected, but I do expect specific skills like “teardowns” to be taught effectively online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We are already seeing some. The flipped classroom, in which the classroom is for interactive problem solving (aka homework, only in conjunction with the instructor) and homework is now listening to an on-line lecture, shows we’ve got new ideas about how to teach. Whether we can scale these new types of teaching to large numbers is unclear to me.”

An anonymous professor of humanities at a private university commented, “The present MOOC system is weak and unimaginative. A real shift in technological tools and innovation will need to take place.”

An anonymous senior lecturer in computer science said, “I don’t know what jobs will be left in the future but most of the current ones white and blue collar will be done by artificial intelligent systems and automatons. Workers will need to own these machines of production. Knowing how to bid for tenders and achieve the lowest price or required quality for the work while remaining solvent will be an important skill.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Skills needed will be computer literacy, online searching, general researching, and likely basic English skills.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The Internet as a great educator is a bit of a false prophet. Go back to the early days of broadcast TV and then cable TV. We had great hopes for the medium’s educational potential. We got Real Housewives and The Bachelor.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “You mean online training programs? then yes, it is a cheap and easy way to access large numbers of students.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The world needs more face-to-face interaction, not less. While there are certainly technical skills that can be taught virtually, we need to teach people social skills that need to be done in person. Millennials seem to be sorely lacking in these skills and can only interface with a cell phone or laptop.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “While it is, or will be, technically feasible to offer large-scale on-line training systems, the limitation will still be ubiquitous access to the Internet. There is still an economic hurdle that will hinder the ability to get these types of training programs to the under-privileged. Until the economic divide is conquered, there will be an ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. The most notable skills needed (computer literacy, communication, and problem solving) can be taught via on-line systems, but the soft-skills needed to succeed (e.g., work ethic and focus) cannot be taught in such a manner.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “US history shows that such training needs are very difficult to forecast and prepare for outside of the firms themselves that often train workers internally for specific purposes. As K-12 education deteriorates and even colleges and universities move to poorly designed online courses, more and more training will happen inside firms, in my opinion, though this is a very inefficient system.”

An anonymous professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts commented, “Efforts to use the internet for educational purposes are just beginning to take off. Workers will need to learn how to re-educate themselves all the time for new kinds of jobs.”

An anonymous research assistant and instructor at Texas Tech University said, “Technology or computer skills will be in demand. I am worried about the literacy of adult workers who have to compete with digital natives. Adult learners will feel less confident of their skills even though they have better work ethics than the younger generation. In addition, if adult learners have better reading, writing and numeracy skills, they can learn independently online and be able to complete any credentialing requirements.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Personalized learning facilitated by adaptive technology is likely to be quite important in years to come.”

A director at George Washington University commented, “I expect Hillary Clinton to be elected [US president in 2016], and this will be one of the ways her administration deals with economic inequality.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “New technologies like bots and the Internet of Things will shift the skill needs from today’s effectively online taught to a new set of learning needs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We will see new educational and training programs, at the very least because it will be seen as a problem / opportunity. If there are a lot, at least some should be successful, so an important number of workers will be trained (I do note that the answer is based that a large number of workers do not need to be the majority of workers).”

An anonymous principal and thought leader at an Internet company said, “Our current factory model of education is not capable of providing more individualized learning at scale. A hybrid of online, live online, and small-group learning will supplant classroom learning.”

An anonymous researcher at a major US university wrote, “Let me qualify my “yes” answer. More precisely, I believe some educational programs that already exist will move into virtual spaces as it becomes more technologically possible and socially acceptable. That said, I don’t think this will usher in a new era of open education for all. I think the number of opportunities will remain relatively constant and the price may come down for some things, but the most sought after programs will always come with a higher price tag.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I don’t think we’ll see these because I don’t think anyone knows what ‘the jobs of the future’ actually are, and critical thinking/open-mindedness/cognitive flexibility are extremely difficult to teach in general, much less online or at scale. that being said, I do expect to see greater use of online or otherwise remote targeted credentialing—it just makes too much sense. Concurrently, we’ll see much more research into and expansion of trust networks, on which all credentialing will need to rely.”

An anonymous director in the field of cybersecurity working with the US government commented, “That is precisely one of the goals of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) as we seek to accelerate learning and skills development.”

An anonymous principal engineer wrote, “Basic literacy and a capacity for critical thinking are the preconditions for successful vocational training, and the systematic degradation of education in America is erasing those preconditions.”

An anonymous CEO said, “There will be more courses and some will be successful for some people but I don’t see these courses successfully helping large numbers of people adapt to changing work conditions.”

An anonymous distinguished professor of communication at a major US university commented, “With the growth of online distance education as a cost-effective tool for reaching large numbers of people, especially those who would have difficulty seeking training and education in-person. It is inevitable that more training programs will be offered using digital media. There are some advantages to digital education systems, such as reach, access at any time, lower expense over time, easy use of visuals and video, implementation of online testing and evaluation, built in feedback tools, etc. However, I see the growth of digital education as a supplementary channel to more traditional educational formats. There will be a preference given for face-to-face educational interactions when possible due to the benefits of immediacy in the more direct and personal educational experience.”

An anonymous survey participant replied, “Many online skills can (and will) successfully be taught by automated programs. Like learning to swim, you learn by doing, whether with or without a qualified instructor. Even ‘the human element’ can well be got across through videos and other interactive tools.”

An anonymous media industry technology consultant wrote, “I see and read about online educational systems that are evolving past the MOOC that are being better tailored to take advantage of social interactions on the Web. It is still too early in the evolution of online education to judge the efficacy of these versus traditional four-year and graduate programs. On the other hand, I believe employers will be accepting of just about any type of credentialing system that has even a shred of credibility. Ultimately, it is the nature (personality, cultural fit, experience, adaptability, etc.) of the new hire that will determine their success in the workplace.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We already know so much about how people learn—by doing. Online training courses and classes are generally far too passive and indirect, lacking a real human element.”

An anonymous professor at the University of California-Davis commented, “Colleges and universities will continue to meet the educational and vocational needs of society.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “When jobs are scarce, the difficulty of selecting people encourages filtering based on arbitrary rather than well thought-out criteria. One such criterion will be which school the prospective employee attended, even more than before. However, for simpler skills, the Internet will be useful, just not the skills that open doors in companies. In other words, the Internet will help train for the skillset that is the minimum that is required, yet, it will not be sufficient. it will merely define the lowest common denominator.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Individual adoption of new practices is historically influenced by a trial behavior and peer involvement. Online skill learning needs to overcome this. Industry sponsored training and credentialing systems can support adoption.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Unfortunately, I am pessimistic about the ability of US government to address this issue in the next ten years. Large-scale training programs require public investment, and we do not have a large-scale political consensus to produce that. I think we’ll continue under the current model of small-scale training/apprenticing for the near-term future.”

An anonymous professor asked, “Doesn’t this happen constantly?”

An anonymous senior fellow at a major global privacy advocacy organization replied, “Probably best for structured technical skills, but not just for computer coding. Virtual reality may expand opportunities new contexts. Pessimistic about online classes for teaching critical thinking and analysis. Hard enough to do this in the classroom with today’s grade obsessed students.”

An anonymous Internet governance activist based in Kenya commented, “Yes, if we expand “education” to include non-traditional education and training. For instance, Kenyan braiders now learn West African methods from You Tube and use such skills for gainful employment.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Most important skills seem to be so-called soft skills, and it is arguable whether these can be taught without significant face-to-face interaction, though they can probably be augmented by online systems. In terms of new types of credentialing systems, they will be treated as more credible than Google search results and less meaningful than more established credentials. If people begin to share and display them (which appears to not be happening so much), they could become an interesting part of the informal vetting process as well as discussion points after applicants have made it through the first cut and earned themselves a face-to-face interview. In other words, it’s complicated.”

An anonymous senior IT analyst commented, “I am pessimistic. The training will mostly be done, as today, because of immediate advantage or because it is forced by the nature of the task. Larger programs would require the involvement of large corporations, and I am afraid that those will not see a broad perspective but only short-term interests. This very-negative trend is presently encouraged by education system practices, for instance, in which the students do not seek to acquire knowledge but work to collect points to achieve a title. Well-learned idiots.”

A senior researcher at a US research organization commented, “Since many of the needed skills will be virtual in nature, it makes sense for these skills to be taught online. This is not a matter of inventing new types of training sessions, rather the jobs themselves are more applicable to online training.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I don’t think we’ll see these because I don’t think anyone knows what ‘the jobs of the future’ actually are, and critical thinking/open-mindedness/cognitive flexibility are extremely difficult to teach in general, much less online or at scale. that being said, I do expect to see greater use of online or otherwise remote targeted credentialing—it just makes too much sense. Concurrently, we’ll see much more research into and expansion of trust networks, on which all credentialing will need to rely.”

An anonymous director of a major online human rights organization wrote, “I think technology (particularly AI) is moving faster than rational thinking about our future workforce.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Almost all recognize the paradigm shift digital communications and automation have imposed on society. Evolution requires that you adapt or die. The more altruistic members of population will work to educate and train those uninformed.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Almost all recognize the paradigm shift digital communications and automation have imposed on society. Evolution requires that you adapt or die. The more altruistic members of population will work to educate and train those uninformed.”

An anonymous brand strategist said, “Sites like TreeHouse and Duolingo are already changing the workforce and opening the gates for all to enter.”

An anonymous respondent said, “All schools should begin implementing computer programming classes as the norm just like math and language classes.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Technological problem-solving will be a huge skill in any job arena. We can teach problem-solving online as long as there is human interaction as well. The issue is that there are different learning styles, and some require human interaction to learn. We will be leaving these folks in a hole if everything goes online.”

An anonymous respondent noted, “It’s already happening with YouTube videos.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I don’t see online teaching ever being effective on a large scale. To the extent that technical skills are needed for future employment, I expect they will be absorbed into a traditional curriculum at the middle school and high school levels. Some areas might see apprenticeship paths develop if workers in those areas organize as traditional union workers have organized.”

An anonymous professor from Carnegie Mellon University wrote, “Things like crowdsourcing and Amazon Turk are just the beginning of educating/training large distributed numbers of people. These will probably very focused training, general education will still be hard over the internet.”

An anonymous respondent said, “This has always been the case.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The current online systems, such as MOOCs, will adapt to fulfill this role.”

An anonymous respondent cited an example: “Just thinking of the Khan Academy; and seeing that format growing.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “This is already happening—Duolingo is a well-known example. Beyond that, significant amount of skills acquisition for the online world will occur via online training (and Duolingo is an example that imparts skills for offline usage, e.g., ability to speak the language).”

An anonymous marketing researcher said, “The trend is already beginning with more classes available online. With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, students with limited resources will increasingly turn to other options and wealthier students will follow.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “This seems like the natural evolution of innovation. Important skills like programming are already learnable online, and will likely become more prevalent. There has been some research about the ‘deskilling’ of tech labor (e.g. Dillon Mahmoudi’s work) and I expect this trend will continue.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Almost all recognize the paradigm shift digital communications and automation have imposed on society. Evolution requires that you adapt or die. The more altruistic members of population will work to educate and train those uninformed.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Online settings don’t do much. They don’t do a good job of hands-on activities, and they are expensive to do well. Since those who can afford good educational experiences generally prefer face-to-face settings in which to do so (because, for example, they provide a fuller, embodied experience, chances to network in person, etc.), I don’t see our world putting the resources into online education to make it of high-quality on a regular basis.”

An anonymous respondent responded, “What are the jobs of the future? Large-scale training programs sounds like a kind of top down response that is unlikely to keep ahead of the rapid rate of transformation. Yes, scads of people are going to go into math, computer science, and computer engineering, but when a top tech company has only a tiny fraction of employees that a large industrial firm had, this is simply likely to increase competition for a relatively small groups of positions. Tech and finance can generate lots of value, but are unlikely to generate mass employment. These are the economic drivers of the future, but not necessarily the employment drivers. Given the ability of tech to displace large numbers of workers, it remains unclear what the employment drivers of the future will be.”

A computer science professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, wrote, “Online distance teaching is already becoming widespread. Full programs on line are already a reality both at University level but also for other practical activities such as diving. Some employers already send their employees to such programs, allowing them to perform some continuous learning independently of their location. E-learning will most surely improve capabilities and support large-scale teaching, also of fields that need to develop and assess practical skills.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes, not so much improving and updating skills but encouraging better attitudes to and cultures of learning.”

an anonymous web and mobile developer replied, “As technologies like VR and AR are becoming more common, training and education will use this tools. I can image a Google Glass-like device where users have a step-by-step wizard to help starting to use new equipment, or where school children are using VR headsets to travel in space and time to different countries and different ages, enriching their learning experiences.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “This is already at play—MOOCs, innovative training programmes, etc. A counter trend is an acknowledgement that certain specialised and creative fields require hands-on/face-to-face experiential learning.”

An anonymous global computer science professional wrote, “Training and education in specialized area will occupy online system of skill enhancements. These will be demand oriented and online market will create more employment opportunities.”

An computer science PhD researcher from Ireland, “Developing online training is complex. Complexity is not overly reduced by technology. There is no sign the technical education community has the ability to train significant volumes in new skills, and no evidence people are interested in acquiring skills that way. I have 30 years developing and teaching ICT skills, including building a number of online courses, was technical editor of several Microsoft certification courses, and part of Microsoft’s 1994 research project into the viability of online training.”

The executive director of a major global privacy rights organization said, “We are investing in the wrong types of educational media — digital and distance rather than in universities and schools.”

A senior futurist and strategic foresight consultant wrote, “I refer to these as micro colleges. By 2030, the average person entering the workforce had better plan to reboot their career six times throughout their working life. This type of training will become very popular.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Being in academia, the online courses are gaining in popularity and expertise. I expect industry will accept them. They will offer low-cost training. The government will help pay. And industry will help direct the education. I also expect unicorns.”

An anonymous senior program manager for Microsoft replied, “Online teaching will become more prevalent, and with more and more immersive learning experiences, including video calls, there will be few skills that can’t be taught online. Soft skills will become more relevant but they, as well, will be taught online, in small interactive online classes.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We are already seeing the shift as more women enter STEM fields, and universities and grant money are directed to those areas.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be more experimentation among the younger generation with new technologies. The established order will do more harm not because they want to but they don’t seem to have a clue.at the same time. I don’t trust the corporate world, whose sole objective is to make more money at any cost. I fear them most.”

An anonymous director of an institute examining ethics and technology commented, “Higher education is very resistant to developing flexible, inexpensive alternatives to the traditional models of credentialing. And the business world doesn’t not appear ready to accept badgification.”

An anonymous respondent with the Internet Engineering Task Force wrote, “The cost of higher education seems to be motivating this change. So far online learning hasn’t been very successful, but it sounds like advances are being made. And the new people coming up are predisposed to like this approach.”

An anonymous professor at the University of California-Berkeley said, “My response is more of a ‘maybe.’ I do think there will be a lot more online training in the future—and it will actually be more successful at teaching things that are not directly translatable to jobs (humanities subjects, such as art history, media studies, etc.)—the things that television documentaries are already good at teaching! I’m not sure that great writing skills or public speaking/presentation skills will be taught in this format. Maybe data analysis and other quantitative skills can be taught in an online course.”

A senior software engineer at Microsoft replied, “Online course activity and usage will continue to proliferate in countries that do not or can not offer free or affordable education. In a decade the generation that is currently using social media as their primary means of communicating will become employers and will likely accept a workforce that is non-traditionally educated with much more enthusiasm (and to gain a strategic advantage) when compared to ‘corporate America.’”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We are further out from effective mass educational/training programs. This is due more to differing priorities in governments and organizations that would be most effective in disseminating such tools than due to lack of capability.”

An anonymous, professor at the University of South Carolina replied, “We have already seen the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future. They just have not been widely or successfully implemented. See Malloch, Cairns, Evans and O’Connor, The Sage Handbook for Workplace Learning for a comprehensive review.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Programming and similar such skills are well adapted to online learning.”

An anonymous engineer at NASA commented, “The market will demand it, and so a segment of the population will have to be trained. Not all of it, however.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Brick-and-mortar colleges have been moving on-line for years. What will really open up online learning is when some organization can create good differentiated learning systems that tailor themselves to the learner. Our current online classes often still talking heads and message boards. There will be some sort of badge system that will begin to replace degrees and certs. Allowing employers to see exact skills that each applicant has. I expect there to be major push back traditional institutions, but wide adoption by tech companies and startups.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Programming, languages, all sorts of training. Those who need workforce for manual labour won’t care about rating systems, just that they serve their purpose.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The foundations for more open and accessible educational and training opportunities are already here. Young people have already sussed out that with the Internet, they no longer have to wait to make their mark on the world and build their digital reputation/portfolio/credentials. If traditional schooling isn’t helping you learn what you need, you can turn to all kinds of resources on the Web. There is no scarcity of info out there. The challenge is to help folks navigate approaches and pedagogy online and create reliable learning networks. Yet, face-to-face learning is essential, too, if we believe inclusive, democratic and human rights fundamentals are essential in our society.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I expect we will indeed see the growth of new educational and training initiatives designed to give workers the skills they need for the new economy. There is a clear and growing market for such opportunities. But I am personally quite skeptical as to whether these new educational initiatives will actually live up to their billing. It is entirely possible that these new initiatives will take the form of for-profit educational schemes that extract money from scared workers while making promises that they do not meet.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I’ve already taken MOOCs on foreign languages, languistics, programming, and natural sciences.”

An anonymous software developer said, “Over the next ten years, the pace of automation replacing existing jobs is set to increase. In order for education and training programming to be successful they have to not only take over from existing educational programs, but also provide to those in poorer nations gaining access to these facilities for the first time, as well as educating in a way that teaches skills that are difficult to automate. I consider it unlikely that they will succeed sufficiently. In general, we as a society (across the world) need to take a long hard look at what we choose to automate and the nature of work.”

An anonymous IT director for a nonprofit technology network commented, “We already see many successful online training programs (e.g. Code Academy and Khan Academy) that are capable of teaching valuable work related skills to large numbers of people, so I definitely expect the use and quality of these sorts of programs to increase dramatically over the next ten years. There’s also already been a shift in hiring where someone’s skills and job experience are more important than their specific degree, so I expect things to continue to shift in this direction, especially if the cost of higher education continues to rise, and as new human resources data continues to transform what we think of as best practices in making hiring decisions.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be a small subset of jobs for which scaled online training is a profitable investment for employers. Highly skilled jobs will still merit HR-intensive training practices.”

An anonymous respondent said, “To some extent I think adaptability and understanding of new technologies will be able to be taught online. But I also worry about widening the digital divide and further disenfranchising those without technical skills or who are living in areas without technical jobs from the workforce.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I fear that budget constraints will prevent progress in this area but hope governments will commit to making this a priority.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Adoption and integration with existing educational systems will remain difficult.”

An anonymous director at a nonprofit technology network said, “I see a huge emergence of on demand (self-guided) training in areas that it has not traditionally been. For example, this type of education has traditionally been used in the professional space for mandatory trainings in the area of human resources. Things such as ‘blood-borne pathogens,’ etc. We have seen a massive growth in personal learning (DIY, Self Help, etc.) on platforms like YouTube, Udemy and others. The next step is for the self-guided side of professional development to catch up to these two areas. Things like Learning Management Systems will allow to individuals to gain skills in areas they want to advance in, not just areas they are required to pass a certification for.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Online education is surging right now and I think it will continue to grow as technology evolves and we find more ways of developing interactive, immersive learning environments. Yet I think there will always be a demand for (and perhaps it will also be a growing one) for in-person or at least hybrid connections. Interestingly, the hardest skills to impart online are interpersonal skills, such as compassion and intuition that, for many people, require offline connections to develop and nurture.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Internet language learning, for instance, has great potential.”

An anonymous CEO for a nonprofit technology network commented, “Many research reports have demonstrated that one of the most important skills in our developing workforce is reasoning and complex problem solving. The internet enables us to teach and practice these skills in a unique and appropriate way by connecting and engaging people across geographies, backgrounds, ages, etc.”

An anonymous director of academic computing wrote, “The basic issue is not ‘training’ but ‘education’—not ‘schooling’ but ‘learning’ (and learning to learn).”

An anonymous professor at the University of Michigan said, “There will be lots of attempts. Hard to imagine that most will work well. It’ll be like natural language processing in the ’60s. How hard can it be? Most important skills needed: technical and bureaucratic competence.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Unless we see a radical shift toward flexibility—which is the polar opposite of anything we can expect—current paradigms have no ability to hold up to exponentially increasing technological change.”

An assistant director at large US state university commented, “I deliver professional development for K-12 teachers and it is discouraging to see the number of roadblocks are placed on their ability to give a meaningful education to our kids. Pair this with the socio economic challenges many of our nations children face—they are having a hard enough time with the very basic skills let along those needed for a future workforce. That being said, there are those out there who are doing the work needed to get the new information and skills to the masses be it though a traditional school or directly to the learner (Khan Academy and such).”

An anonymous systems administrator said, “I’m a software engineering and system administration contractor. The biggest things in the future will likely be equipment design/repair/maintenance and computing fields, as well as some hospitality things where interacting with a human is preferred, and things that are difficult or expensive to automate. Many of those things can be learned well online or in self-guided ways. The hardest would be any part of things requiring practice with real equipment or real people. I think the reliability of the traditional educational system is already being questioned—in some fields it’s considered common sense that certifications and degrees mean little, and that a portfolio, references, and hands-on interviews are much more important for assessing a candidate’s ability. The unfortunate reality is that many HR departments still post job listings saying degrees and certifications are required, as a way of screening candidates. Both of those cost a lot of money, and neither mean a lot for a candidate’s competence. I hope this will change (both job listings and quality of degrees/certifications), but don’t see it happening soon.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The robots are coming and we’re fucked. If you are not in the 1%, fuck you.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Any job that can be taught via the web/videos can be mostly or completely replaced by AI/robots. The irony is that once we get to the next level of interactive training there will be shrinking demand for those jobs best suited for the training. “

An anonymous Web developer wrote, “The most important skill of a professional ‘desk worker’ in the 21 century is the ability to access and use resources on the Web. Right now this skill is acquired mostly just by browsing the web, and is not taught. I expect future education to involve ‘googling’ as a skill.”

An anonymous vice president of product at an unnamed new startup commented, “I’m pessimistic. Employers will continue to worship prestigious credentials and will pack their organizations with “the elite” even as their ship sinks. I don’t have a lot of faith that education and training will effectively anticipate the skills people will need for tomorrow’s jobs, and the skills that are most likely to help: reading comprehension, verbal and written communication skills, collaboration, are not only nowhere to be found in our current plans to prepare our kids for the future, they’re actually disappearing as our schools eschew liberal arts for more ‘practical’ skills. And in a grand folly of correlation being mistaken for causation, we’re trying to pipeline all kids into college to try to juice their earnings, while steering kids away from practical technical skills like manufacturing tech that might be a better fit, opting instead to saddle them with student loans for a degree they won’t finish from a school that no employer will respect.”

An anonymous principal consultant at a strategic change organization wrote, “Some new skills will be taught, but not always the ones you might expect. I’ve been an IT professional for 20 years, and probably the most important computer skill I learned before college was typing. The technical landscape is rapidly changing, and it is very difficult to anticipate exactly what is going to help prepare our children for the future. I see two important actions to consider: 1) Build a foundation—basic computer and network literacy, together with critical thinking skills, without emphasizing specifics—this allows new technologies to be place within an existing context, and assimilated more quickly. 2) Let go of the past—my parents had to learn how many bushels were in a peck, and piece of information that is largely irrelevant today. Similarly, we need to realize our children are entering a world where they have multiple computers at arms reach at any time. Is long division worth learning when you always have a calculator? Is cursive worth learning if you type and text? We need to lose our nostalgia for how we learned, and equip our children with the most practical skills.”

An anonymous technical operations lead said, “Because software is eating the world, programming is the ultimate skill. (or managing programmers, of course). The problem with programming is that it is an infinitely complex system with many trade-offs, so there is never one correct answer. People will even disagree on what the correct approach is (i.e. different languages and frameworks). So it won’t be difficult to teach something, but nobody will ever know everything (i.e. every language). I find self-taught programmers are usually better than people who went to college to learn programming.”

An anonymous lead field service technician replied, “Demand for the ‘jobs of the future’ will continue to fall as more and more jobs become automated either via robotics or AI customer service, etc.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The skills that can be taught online can most often be automated.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I think this is hard to scale effectively.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I don’t see the political will to get this done.”

An anonymous coordinator of a major health organization wrote, “There will be an increased need in the medical field and more medical care will be by paraprofessionals.”

An anonymous online community consultant said, “Technical skills can be taught online. Human empathy needs face-to-face learning.”

An anonymous doctoral student at Ohio University wrote, “I am not a huge fan of online learning environments for upper-level undergraduate or, especially, graduate students. These courses take away the human aspect of learning, which creates a situation in which someone learns skills but not the reason those skills are important or how they would be used to benefit humanity. If a student needs to learn something that requires a human component, then that learning must happen offline and among humans in order to be effective. This includes any coursework in machine learning, with the human connection a critical component currently missing from many computer science programs. Online coursework in certain technologies, such as coding, would be useful for those interested only in coding and not in the whys of coding. I believe online learning environments can augment a college-level education, but should never replace it. Generalist online schools have developed a bad reputation recently that may be difficult to overcome.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “If businesses need custom workers, businesses should train them. Businesses may eventually figure this out and develop such things, but they won’t be that useful.”

An anonymous devops engineer said, “There will have to be an expansion. In many ways it’s already happening. The combination of fantastic tutorials online, and things like Khan Academy, along with the rising cost of education will for the expansion of mass online skill training. Though this may not take the form of traditional classes, where you have a group of people all being trained on the same timescale. I think it will be more individual-focused.”

An anonymous senior software developer commented, “The future belongs to our corporate and oligarchic overlords. Why would they want to make their serfs more capable of finding work, when a desperate serf works far more cheaply? Granted, better educational programs would benefit everyone, including the wealthy and powerful, but greed is demonstrably short-sighted and by definition the opposite of altruistic.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Public education is being systematically and deliberately defunded. This will not change.”

An anonymous respondent said, “There will be public demand for such programmes, but the results will not be successful in terms of employment given the highly efficient nature of most technology work.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The expansion of online colleges will allow people to get a degree for less than the cost of physically attending classes. Employers will have to adjust their own perceptions as many will likely see these degrees as inferior to the traditional degrees.”

An anonymous mobile applications manager at a US center for technology and health replied, “While online training is a long ways off from replacing the quality of face-to-face training, it is improving access to learning, lowering the cost of education and enabling increased self-reliance for lifelong learning. Certainly, the earliest to take advantage of these benefits are the socially privileged. However, as this privileged class exercises their power to demand recognition of these academic courses, workplaces and educational institutions will have no choice but to adapt.”

An anonymous systems engineer wrote, “Money will prevent anything interesting from happening.”

An anonymous survey respondent commented, “Critical thinking and analysis is key, and that is difficult to cultivate and measure in terms of progress with online formats. Internet will be very helpful for training more rote sorts of online work. Hands-on, mechanical (thinking IKEA-level diagrams applied to automobile technicians or welders or electricians) training; I am not optimistic about online training for that.”

An anonymous respondent said, “While there is always backwards thinking and dinosaurs in education, the eventual transition to a younger population of teachers and instructors should usher in greater possibilities to use newer technologies and techniques for training that don’t involve convincing someone who went to college in the ’70s or ’80s that computers are a more integral part of the educational process, in addition to society in general.”

An anonymous cloud computing architect wrote, “They are emerging already, often in the form of online training and bootcamps. Unfortunately they are not being driven by or funded through the public sector so there is substantial risk that they will lead to increased debt among job-seekers, rather than help relieve debt.”

An anonymous software architect said, “Education needs to be re-democratized. This exclusivity bullshit has to stop. It breeds contempt for those who ‘didn’t make it into the best (or any?) university’ by those who do. Inequality is directly related to the ability to become educated which is clearly out of reach for most Americans today, at least those without the financial means or those willing the sell their souls for loans (indentured servitude anyone?!) No, only the scrappy will survive. The already comfortable will become increasingly more uncomfortable as the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer—as the boiling frog analogy goes, most won’t notice until it is too late. Education is the key. Online education will help but only if there are jobs. With automation of most tasks, even creative white-collar jobs, the unemployment situation will make education irrelevant. Train for what?”

An anonymous digital media archivist commented, “Any workforce will need training but there is an essential context lost when there is no relationship between the information and a person to consult regarding the information. Highly specific skills will be most difficult to teach at scale, because students need guidance and the ability to consult not just with one another but also with a guide. However, I do believe the higher education system is crumbling and that non-‘traditional’ programs will be honored as appropriate certification if the program is provided by an accredited or otherwise reputable source.”

An anonymous respondent noted, “We have even seen the release of a version of the Civilization games that are education centric. The more we get used to this new medium, and embrace new and improved teaching techniques it will be more beneficial to sue these and more will come.”

An anonymous systems administrator in municipal government wrote, “Typically we do not do anything unless it results in profit for someone somewhere. This will only occur if it provides profit for someone or if we are faced with a disaster type situation.”

An anonymous data center technician said, “We will see refinement of current systems. Search engines exist. Open encyclopedias exist. The skills of locating information will begin to be recognized as essential.”

An anonymous technologist commented, “Programming and problem solving, learning how to work with Artificial Intelligence and robotics will become more important and more and more workers will be replaced by software/hardware based workers. Automation will reduce the need for the current workforce and the divide between the upper class and the lower class will continue to eat the middle class. Online courses will be held up to higher standards once more and more online courses become effective. Currently online learning is hit or miss. Artificial intelligence with training will allow people to have training aimed at their comprehension levels. As online training becomes more credible, employers will accept these as work experience.”

An anonymous respondent said, “VR and online training will be used to educate anyone who is not working a corporate information worker type role.”

An anonymous IT manager and systems administrator commented, “Yes and no. Ideally, there will be no “workforce of the future”. The future will be fully automated and work will be a thing of the past. However, there will be lots of work to be done in the lead-up to this transformation. Given the rising costs and debts associated with higher education, I foresee decentralized and alternative educational options exploding in the near future. As traditional work opportunities continue to dry up and disappear, I see more and more people flocking towards the technical work needed to bring about fully-automated luxury communism.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I feel like this is already happening with online training courses for code. I rarely meet a person who learned it in school, but rather they taught themselves using online tools.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It’s cheaper to train a lot of people online. If it’s a self-directed class where the student has access to relevant information then it should be fine. Employers may accept applicants with online or mostly online credentials but I don’t think those people will be paid as much or trusted as much as those who went to a brick and mortar school where homework and test results were most closely monitored. Also, I don’t think this medium works well for students who want to ask questions.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Independent learning is essential in the workforce. Websites like Khan Academy and others of the like will continue to grow and become part of traditional education. With online learning students have access to tools and content that one might not have locally that they can only access online.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Education and training programs have been around since the internet began and they haven’t replaced human teachers. There is no way to verify a student has learned anything online; without the credibility of expensive human degree accreditation what employer would just accept you ‘took a course online’?”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Communication and computer-based operations jobs (machine controller?) can be learned remotely. These will be lower-paid alternatives to college grads. The bigger question is what work looks like with more automation and AIs capable of doing many white-collar tasks.”

A business analyst at a major global insurance provider wrote, “Training people for specific jobs but not for careers is a very severe failure. This is a part of the transfer of cost of training from corporate structures to individuals and the taxpayers.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Online education just doesn’t work as well as people think it will. In part, I think, because it often lacks the student investment that traditional education requires.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We will need new educational programs because the current education system is inadequate. The programs will need to be online to reach the majority of people. Conventional schools are limited and should probably be replaced by online learning.”

An anonymous devops engineer wrote, “These programs are necessary to bring low-skilled service workers into the jobs that will exist in 10 years, but I feel the attempts will not be successful.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The key word in your question is ‘successfully.’ The skills needed are not manual, ‘trainable’ skills. Skills needed are things like: thinking, taking alternative viewpoints, debate, argument, discussion, engagement, scientific method, experimentation in markets, communications. These are in addition to things like coding or knowledge of biology or chemistry. Yes, for sure, some online teaching can occur at scale. But creating systems is an inherently human endeavor. And let’s not fool ourselves, all technologies we create moving forward will increasingly have systemic implications; people will need to know how to work with, care about, and understand people. Our desire to ‘cheap everything out’ with ‘at scale’ education is a cop-out—a relinquishing of our moral responsibility to each other. Let’s think about re-allocating budget from destruction (read: military) to production (read: a solid educational foundation). Just a thought.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Online training is—by far—the worst. Companies love it because it’s cheap, and everyone hates it and learns almost nothing. This is how the steady slide toward total incompetence will begin!”

An anonymous coordinator of services at a nonprofit housing association said, “As leaning tends further away from learning by rote, the question will be whether the internet is able to develop appropriate means of assessing knowledge. The mechanisms for teaching and learning are already there. The existing educational systems are not keeping up with the changes in technology or with the way people can learn. Alternate credentials might then gain more acceptance if the traditional system isn’t able to adapt. Less because of great improvements overall and more because of how nimble those systems can be in terms of changes in methodology and content. I think the online systems will be more important because ongoing learning is getting to be more important. It’s less and less possible to take a degree and be set for the workforce for the rest of your career. You now need to keep learning as you go and a lot of that must be self-directed.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We will see a system whereby people can take courses online and have an academic record that proves you took the class and proves you passed it with some level of proficiency and that you satisfied some educational requirement that is trusted through a block chain. This will become an alternative to a university education.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “It would be here already if it was possible to make it a reality.”

An anonymous assistant professor at a major US university wrote, “In many industries, traditional credentials like the bachelor’s degree will continue to be used as a baseline filter. My expectation is that American workers will continue to need the same skills that were required for professional success during much of the 20th century: literacy, numeracy, interpersonal communication, self-directed learning, and time management. Unfortunately, many people equipped with these skills are not afforded the opportunity to use them because of structural problems outside of education. My sense is that changes in transportation, healthcare, and criminal justice will have a bigger effect on the future success of American workers than new credentialing systems.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I am saying no simply because we have had the Internet for 25 years now, and no such advancement has happened yet, so I struggle to believe that one will come in the next 10.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Regardless of quality, online programs will probably not achieve the same level of prestige or trust as in-person or location-based training.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I anticipate micro-degree programmes through collaboration of big universities with online learning platforms developed through a subsidized-fee model.”

An anonymous respondent said, “In many ways, they are starting to grow right now—both with online sites and online college courses.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “As a dyslexic individual who suffered through the one-size-fits-all education system I can attest that any education or training that can’t be agile enough to attend to the individual will be subpar. Skills that possibly could be taught effectively in an online system are probably the same ones we have been teaching at large scales for as long as we have had video, such as safety regulations and how to interact with automated systems. This could probably be extended to jobs that monitor automated systems like in Japan. Jobs that require critical thinking or discussion making will be difficult to train using an online system. Employers would probably be more accepting of these kind of credentials if it is industry-specific such as with tech school degrees. “

An anonymous communications and digital coordinator at an international global-good organization commented, “Online learning will improve dramatically (and already is). The question is who will have the time to take these trainings. Most people who are poor are actually very busy trying to make ends meet. Many others are simply too depressed to have the necessary motivation. I hope the current trend of open and free education continues, but expect this trend will be mixed. For some subjects the ‘best’ training will be put behind pay walls, once the industry ‘matures.’ With VR, I guess most skills will be trainable. But I’m not sure. Probably we will see a lot of augmented reality coaching for tasks that are performed in the ‘real world.’ Eventually this will be automated for a lot of stuff.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “If a new credential system gets a ‘blessing’ from an established institution, then it will gain attention and legitimacy. The longer it is around the more it will be taken seriously. I’m sure something will pop up in this space, probably computer/data/systems-related.”

An anonymous civil engineer working in state government said, “The hands-down most important trait for success will be self motivation. There will be a number of ways to learn new skills but a person will have to be motivated to seek them out rather than just following the traditional educational path of elementary/high school/college.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “1). Corporation, adaptability, creativity, and good ol’ grease of the elbow. 2). Online systems could be used effectively to teach anything, the only hick up comes from the person trying to learn. 3). Adaptability and creativity. 4). BroHam, I regrettably believe they will be viewed as less.”

An anonymous analyst/programmer wrote, “Education is already moving this way, the only factor limiting its growth is students attitudes, which will change over time.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We always train for last year’s needs. We don’t know what we will need until we need it. Then we train for it.”

An anonymous systems engineer wrote, “I’m taking classes via Coursera, and they have been good. Separately, I’ve tried VR (Google cardboard) and it’s a great experience. You could combine them, and make some great training opportunities.”

An anonymous respondent said, “All avenues of education are ripe for change. There is little reason to have lecture halls that sit a thousand. We will shift online and VR will begin to expand this even further.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I hope so but I believe digital poverty will mean that those who could benefit the most from programmes such as this will be left out. If there’s no broadband cable to e.g. a rural community, or if the course is only available in English, how will people engage with it and what kind of effect could English-only education have on communities that speak ‘offline’ using lesser-used languages?”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The internet is awful for connecting with people, this should be done in person, not over a voice call, or an exchange of text messages. But the internet is (literally) a database of information. Everything you could ask to know is on the internet. What we lack are the tools to efficiently communicate the information to the workers. It would be sad if people didn’t take advantage of the great database in the sky. These tools should be coming.”

An anonymous project architect responded, “I do not foresee large scale automated training prior to fully realized AI. Workers are all a little too different from each other to be produced in this way.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “E-Learning has enormous functionality and future potential, but research seems to indicate that (a) most people don’t like it; and (b) it is enormously improved in conjunction with face-to-face instruction. The downside of such an approach is expecting workers to complete e-training in their own time or before they are even offered jobs. Universities jumping on the bandwagon need to be careful they do not throw academic standards out with the reduction in face-to-face class time. And, obviously, there are some skills you can’t necessarily teach effectively through e-learning (interpersonal skills come to mind).”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes but they won’t work well since the problem is more fundamental in the societal lock-in to traditional roles and institutions—especially the extensive day care called an education system.”

An anonymous IT architect at IBM replied, “I don’t expect that new educational regimes will successfully retrain the masses. All workforces have always had certain individuals who both excel and exhibit high degrees of flexibility. The vast majority want to learn something well, get paid for doing that, and retire. Being re-trained in something very different is both a personal challenge and in some cases a physical one (e.g., welding). I expect slow adoption of new routes to obtain training.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The amount of things you can already learn on YouTube, even just from other amateurs, shows the educational potential of open access to practical information. I hope more and more colleges will place recorded lectures and coursework online for free.”

An anonymous respondent said, “If online education can be accredited, yes. Tests will have to be taken in person.”

An anonymous college professor wrote, “Possibly, but we are nowhere near there yet.”

An anonymous retiree said, “I expect training technology to change, it is somewhat questionable that it will change so drastically that large numbers of workers will have an advantage not existent today.”

An anonymous respondent noted, “Education is organic and evolutionary. I expect it to continue to adapt.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Over the past few months, my wife and I (well mostly my wife) have started homeschooling our children. I am completely blown away by how much material is online for teaching kids. There are videos, educational games, interactive forums, and entire curricula available for free or at a low cost. My children have been thriving under this kind of education and I can’t imagine moving them back to a traditional school. However, the important thing we are realizing is that the online materials and resources are just that: materials and resources. They still need to be tended, curated, and shaped by us in a way that works best for the children. In terms of adults, I see the same things. The raw materials are available and only getting better over time, but people with low skill level or experience will always need human guidance to tailor their education and help them reach their full potential.”

An anonymous executive manager at a social service NGO commented, “There was a survey a year or so ago, of the ‘jobs least likely to be replaced by a computer,’ and guess what job won? Addictions Counselor/Social Worker. Bingo. I think the kinds of skills that can be mass-taught in a structured program are likely to be the least useful in tomorrow’s workplace, as they lead to kind of work that can most obviously be done by a machine.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We’ll see more and more creative and tech-centered ways of teaching skills for sure. Apple’s new Swift Playground comes to mind.”

An anonymous database analyst wrote, “Online training is a very cost-effective way to distribute knowledge.”

An anonymous respondent said “As more jobs become knowledge based, as we all get more experienced in teaching online, and as computer literate people move more and more into the workplace it will become easier to train online.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Computer programming skills will be a necessity. Students will realize the futility of four-year schools and rising educational debt and choose from the plethora of online degree programs.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “It will be impossible to maintain post-industrial levels of employment after the Artificial Intelligence revolution which is already underway. Worst-case estimates predict 50% unemployment globally some time in this century. This is not a problem of education—indeed it is easier than ever before for someone to self-educate—rather it is an inevitable stage in human civilization that must be managed by vastly increasing state-funded welfare (for example, a Universal Basic Income).”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There are already several internet based learning management systems available. We can expect their proliferation as software becomes better at managing content and more user-friendly “

An anonymous respondent working in IT governance said, “Current IT scholastic activity is product-based, cares little for process and less for security. Automated training will be hard-pressed to reset these IT dunces.”

An anonymous university student and research assistant replied, “The problem with the whole workforce thing is that it’s built on an economic model that has some serious problems. North America’s economy is in the dubious position of having outsourced a lot of useful jobs to the next continent over (China/India), with the remaining economy being built mostly on service positions. The workforce of the future will have a hard time with that unless jobs that truly make things are brought back to North America.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “My reasoning is simple: we have no choice. We’re seeing the beginnings of an AI/robotics revolution that will displace untold millions of workers. Retraining is essential to avoid massive economic and social upheaval. A beneficial side effect will be the eventual end of college-degree snobbery, as large numbers of college grads will be caught up in this latest wave of automation.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The current major skill gap is minimal coding or scripting to augment other skills or expertise—for example, an ability to program an industrial machine or automate simple office tasks. These skills are relatively simple to teach via coding boot camps or self-directed online courses, and will become increasingly important for working-class jobs. This will not drive down the prestige of traditional universities, whose graduates will still be sought for higher-status knowledge and/or supervisory work.”

An anonymous respondent noted, “Online systems aren’t interactive enough. I also think that online learning dilutes experience.”

An anonymous retired programmer commented, “Because online training concentrates on surface skills, rather than deep knowledge. Cheating online is much too easy, making results less valid.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I believe this is happening now in online education formally (edX, Coursera, Khan, a million coding sites) but also informally on YouTube. I’ve learned a significant number of hard skills (plumbing, construction) on YouTube, slightly more structure to them and you’ve got all the theory coursework for a huge number of jobs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “For the most, part this is already happening as online classes are available from grade 9 through post-graduate study. Customer service and medical skills are the most difficult to learn online as immediate evaluation are largely due to face-to-face intervention. Employers are already showing acceptance to online training; however, some sort of credential/certificate may need to be used as proof of mastery.”

An anonymous principal security consultant commented, “Many repetitive skills can be trained relatively simply via video or marginally more interactive simulations. These are already beginning to be taught in that way, but more complex interactions will take more effort. Many of the easy-to-teach skills are likely to be automated as soon as it’s profitable to do so, but teaching is a high cost and will likely also be automated if possible. Teaching softer skills, such as interpersonal communication may benefit from a certain amount of mass instruction (for example, teaching people to recognize the emotional states of the people they are interacting with), but large amounts of socialization and “common sense” are currently very difficult to teach in any sort of bulk manner. I would be surprised if either of those areas reached a useful level of online teaching in the next decade.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “We’re not building those systems now except in very small ways and it’s not clear that we’re building even those systems well. Since we’re starting at point 0, it’s going to take longer than ten years to reach that goal.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be a range of opportunities for the motivated learner but still a need for traditional programs of study. I expect that students will travel more and take a mix of modes of study to minimise cost and maximise opportunity and flexibility.”

An anonymous software engineer said, “There will be an increase in online vocational training, but I have doubts about its efficacy. I find that online training requires a very high level of self-discipline in order to be successful. It’s often times too easy to skip past content or test out of content in order to move faster. There are also so many distractions online that it’s more likely that someone who is partaking in an online course is not paying attention as much as they would if they were in person.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Employers expect all applicants, even those for entry level positions, to have all the skills and training in place to perform their jobs at hiring. Employers aren’t investing in people, the government is controlled by people who think the government is incapable of doing any good, and there isn’t anyone else out there that can make the training programs to bring the workforce into the 21st century.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “These programs will exist, but rather than compete with universities and traditional systems, they will be absorbed by them.”

An anonymous public utility manager wrote, “The Web education that I’ve seen has been good for personal learning but I don’t see online education as an effective substitute for apprentice and on-the-job training.”

An anonymous respondent said, “There are plenty of skills that can easily be taught online, we already see the popularity of online courses. I have a Masters from a mostly online program and I graduated in 2006. But school, especially for the K-college crowd is more than just mastering content. It give you practice with different types of social interaction. You can join clubs or you could lead clubs. You look for your tribe and the people you want to continue to have in your life. I feel like there will be bias between traditional school and online school. Its is very easy to assume that people who can afford to will still go away to college and participate full time and those from less affluent backgrounds will take the online route. This may start some kind of class system of degrees.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “In the US, education and training will not be an area of significant financial or social investment.”
An anonymous respondent wrote, “I don’t see it because often the answers to poor performance have nothing to do with knowledge gaps but very few understand this. Also, new education technology is just being used to deliver old wine (lectures) in new bottles.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “As an avid taker of online courses, I feel that yes, many skills can be taught online and at large scales. Computer programming, logic, writing, I could go on, there are so many that can be taught at scale. The ones that will be most problematic will be those that require a physical component and expensive equipment or safe environments such as restaurant cooking, chemistry, biology or biochemistry. Other skills that will be problematic will be physical therapy or surgery. I’m unsure how people view online degrees, but I do know that testing for skills is becoming more common among employers in tech. Computer programming tests, 3d modeling and animation tests, etc. are the norm in tech and I’d expect them to become more common among other types of employers. There’s an old joke that goes, “What do you call the guy who graduated at the bottom of his class in medical school?” Answer: Doctor. I’m not sure that a degree will mean what it once did, even from the most prestigious schools. Blind hiring might become more common, where the people hiring do not know anything about the people they are hiring except how they do on tests that are set up to determine what the skill level of the applicant is. This can be abused, I have seen art “tests” that were naked attempts to get free labor out of applicants, who were then not hired. Perhaps new types of employee-employer placement agencies will develop out of a need to place people in the right positions and to prevent potential employees from being taken advantage of.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I work in the legal field. It is highly likely that future generations will be trained online, as the skills needed to perform most tasks in any particular field are easily absorbed that way. Advancements in teleconferencing will likely make the virtual classroom more and more effective, as will enhancements and reduced cost of VR. However, most jobs have never actually required a university degree. The idea of university as trade school is unsustainable and detrimental to both trades and to the Academy. Far better that the trades return to trade schools and the academics remain in the university system. My fear is that the current trajectory will devalue the university degree to such an extent that higher education no longer serves any purpose other than to learn a trade.”

An anonymous respondent said, “This is where things are heading because of cost pressures on older systems of education. It’s simply cheaper to do things this way. I don’t think that the classroom will be replaced, but the majority of learning will move online.”

An anonymous respondent predicted, “The internet will become a place of education most likely replacing over-priced universities, making a cheaper alternative.”

An anonymous survey participant commented, “Clearly the jobs and skills of the next ten years will be morphing some from what we have now; not dramatically, but morphing. I expect online education to continue to expand to help meet the needs of training workers for those new skills as well as the training going on now. I also expect to see online education and training to make more inroads into traditional classrooms, enhancing in-person classes. While I see this as generally a positive trend, clearly there are trade-offs with a reduction in one-on-one and in-person teaching and training.”

An anonymous computer software engineer wrote, “The United States has an allergy to the working class—everyone wants to think of themselves as middle class—which has limited the growth of vocational technologies like apprenticeship programs.”

An anonymous university professor commented, “As most manufacturing and physical labor job as well as some low level service jobs will be automated, governments and businesses will need to figure out how to train people for jobs that provide customer service or more specialized work. What that work may be I have no idea. Online course solutions like Coursera have shown that they can handle different models of training and education. I expect more universities and professional organizations to develop training modules along those lines.”

An anonymous respondent said, “It is unclear what the jobs of the future will be. If we assume more information systems jobs, these require minimal critical thinking skills and basic logic. Our schools are not successfully teaching this. While there may be new credential long systems that try to make up for the failings of traditional education systems, leaders will still come from well-known elite institutions.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “This question is emergent from an even more fundamental sea change that we’ll see develop in the next ten years: the concurrent valuation of competencies and devaluation of credentials. That is, modular training and education focused on competencies will eventually become the de facto currency in the future job market. I see this as perhaps the most positive change of all, because credentials were only ever proxy indicators of competencies, and often they are poor indicators at that. A job market tuned to this new paradigm will exert pressure on universities and post-secondary schools to change their teaching methods and encourage students to be more than just knowledge sponges. The sciences and maths already do this to some degree but even right now an undergraduate thesis is elective at most universities. I see that changing in the next ten years.”

A director of innovation and technology at a private school replied, “The jobs of the future are, to a large extent, unpredictable. As such, it is hard to make any predictions about them, and the skills needed to do them. That said, it does seem as though a set of dispositions will be needed for success: flexibility, creativity, the ability to see patterns in disparate sets of information, and social skills. These are all hard to teach, and even AI systems will take some time before they are ready to teach those things.”

The executive director of a global civil liberties organization commented, “I’d like to think so, and we’re certainly capable of it. But I’m not seeing indications that our society is willing to move much beyond blaming people who have lost out as skills changed.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I almost chose ‘no,’ but ten years is a long time! MOOCs seem to be pretty good right now, so I think in 10 years they’ll have improved enough to satisfy your statement.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Augmented and virtual reality will be the vehicle.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “If I knew the answer to this I’d be a billionaire.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I can really see training for activities which require a high level of physical involvement increase in usage. For example, car maintenance. Before I tackle car-maintenance jobs I hit YouTube and watch videos of the exact activity I will be engaging in and my maintenance goes so much more smoothly that struggling my way through the process.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Hiring in technology fields will become based more on ‘what have you done for me lately?’ and the ability to show proof of successful projects will become more important. This is made difficult by the more secretive inclinations of companies, making even job titles more closely guarded and denied, let alone for portfolios to be assembled. Individuals requiring structure or personal attention in their workplace or training are less likely to succeed in education, job hunting, and careers.”

An anonymous retired university professor said, “Such education and training programs already exist and are under-utilized largely because of the unfamiliarity of the people who need them with how to benefit from such programs, and partly because they aren’t always offered. Another element in this mix is that the people who will need the programs often will not be able to brought up to speed fast enough to take advantage of new job opportunities. In other words, their new skills will become obsolete while they are learning them.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Unless you want to crank out more graduates who hold degrees in soft disciplines that there is no market demand for, I don’t see what you’re getting at here. We really need plumbers, electricians, welders, and machinists, more than ever, but American culture doesn’t value the training that leads to these jobs. It is hands-on. I don’t think there is any great incentive to create computerized training for the skilled jobs that are very important but critically undervalued.”

An anonymous IT analyst said, “Not everyone can self teach or will learn best by reading up on a topic online but many universities are beginning to offer free online courses. While not ever company will give that type of learning the time of day when sorting through resumes it can still be used for in office training or hopefully an entry level position in the field of study.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I would be happier if reading comprehension and critical-thinking skills were more widely taught online and in the classroom so people will be better consumers of the massive amount of information available online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Online classes can teach prerequisite knowledge that can prepare workers for further hands on training or apprenticeship.”

An anonymous UNIX administrator said, “I’m not a pessimist about the future, but being a geek and having studied economics for 15 years I doubt any attempt will be made, and that the current system will limp on, eventually falling to some kind of basic income as that takes least effort. I don’t doubt there will be attempts at retraining, but not en mass and not successfully.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Training is not education and workers will be needed who can skillfully move from one skills set to another, to continually learn throughout their lives. Training assumes that it know what the skills are. I see no evidence that those advocating digital education have any idea what education actually is.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We’re already seeing it with MOOCs. It’s easy to see free, or extremely cheap, education of all levels open to anyone on the internet. The real issue is whether increased automation in all fields of employment will leave enough jobs to go around. What happens then?”

An anonymous respondent said, “The training may be necessary, but the cost/benefits analysis will generally not show it to be as profitable to create or maintain such programs. The individuals and organizations that would provide such training, simply do not understand the systems involved due to an almost Luddite-level disdain of the technology they now need to use on a daily basis.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Online training will remain as terrible as it currently is.”

An anonymous respondent said, “We will see people attempt to create new training programs, but people’s ignorance, willful or not, will hinder this effort greatly.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Yes, otherwise we are in a lot of trouble.”

An anonymous respondent, “Some, but I expect a lot to drop off as ineffective. Online classes are (by total number) less effective than they should be. Some are excellent, but there are a lot that are not.”

An anonymous teacher wrote, “I checked yes, but I really mean ‘I sure hope so.’ American education—especially higher education—is long overdue for a major overhaul. As a life-long lover of the liberal arts, I regret what may come, but there is a huge opportunity for the emergence of schools/training programs that can combine vocational training (e.g. electrical, welding, etc.) with business and computer applications. As the cost of tuition at traditional universities continues to skyrocket, they will price more and more young people out of an education beyond high school.”

An anonymous systems analyst from outside the US said, “There’s lots of new opportunities, but it will demand training in concepts and skills and capabilities still not easily available.”

An anonymous doctoral candidate of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign commented, “There will be an influx of online training platforms due to the minimal costs of this option.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The most important skill will be learning. Understanding the nature of metacognition and deliberately offloading cognitive tasks to machines will take place ‘everywhere.’ Settings—like the traditional settings noted in this survey—will likely be irrelevant except for situations when authentic trust should be earned.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “My answer is yes, but it’s not important. Technology evolves every day. As technology to teach skills evolves, technology to perform those skills evolves as well. Robotics and other technologies have been making strides and will continue to make strides in performing jobs traditionally done by humans (self-driving cars = transportation jobs). Yes, educational and training programs will become available, but that will become a short-lived reality at most as artificial technology will become easier and more efficient to train.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Imparting information and training are two different things. Training occurs when there is interaction between the teacher and the student.”

An anonymous survey participant said, “We have already seen the beginning of these trainings with continued education credits, this will likely come more in play with careers where high technology turn over occurs, such as software development. For careers where high technology turnover does not occur less online course work will occur. Implementation of online course will become more dynamic with VR playing more of a role and other strategies not yet used.”

An anonymous respondent said, “As Joi Iti says, the Internet places learning over education.”

An anonymous sociologist wrote, “Literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, and conflict resolution are the most critical skills needed for successful organizations. However, while valuable for high-efficiency organizations, these skills are also dangerous to [those in] political control and may not be widely taught.”

An anonymous associate professor at MIT commented, “Maybe not in-depth training in skills, but yes to programs that would help drastically improve current online education efforts.”

An anonymous founder and executive chairman wrote, “Nursing and care shortage will become critical as the second half of the Boomer generation reaches old age. Today’s shortages, generally unrecognized as we focus on health care cost control, will shift to the headlines. Large-scale nursing education will occur because it is essential to the society, not because of focus on individual needs.”

An anonymous developer replied, “Employers will continue to move to just-in-time training as old skills are replaced by new ones. Traditional four-year training programs are an anachronistic ‘coming of age’ ritual unsuited to the needs of continuous training of an aging workforce. Already over 100 million people in the USA are not working, and they can’t all go back to college.”

An anonymous director said, “I am trying to be optimistic.”

An anonymous deputy CEO observed, “The world of the MOOC is already here. Those courses are already blended into the mainstream so it is hard to tell the difference from established educational providers. There are also distinct differences in quality between the providers. Surprisingly also those that were good at delivering training face to face are not necessarily any good at online delivery! Some of the lesser regarded institutions in the past have also really excelled at online delivery, so there is not necessarily a one to one correspondence between the highly regarded universities and colleges and quality in online delivery.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Tech skills can largely be delivered at scale using self-directed online systems. The soft human skills of collaboration, influencing, story telling (using data), and consensus building will be at a premium as more analog parts of business become automated by AI and other machine-governed processes.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The science of online pedagogy will only become further refined and solidified for classes to be taught on core foundational grounds. Online courses are nothing like offline courses—for example, mechanisms used to hold students accountable are entirely different due to the nature of attendance (physical vs. virtual).”

An anonymous professor of information and history at the University of Michigan wrote, “The most important skills for a future workforce are not much different from what they were two decades ago: logical thinking (through math or coding), statistics, and an evidence-based way of looking at the world (natural or social science). Coding is an important skill, and is one of the few that may be effectively taught at scale online — but students of such skills still need a base in face-to-face teaching, where the quality of their thinking can be honed in the presence of other students and confirmed by an instructor who sees the student as a whole person, not just a bag of skills. It’s crucial to realize that students don’t just need skills, they need knowledge as well, and especially education in how evidence and data are gathered and processed, how to assess the quality of evidence, and in global frameworks that make sense of evidence/data and place them in a correct context. These things are very difficult to teach in a classroom, and nearly impossible to teach in large, anonymous, online settings. I think the next ten years will see a shake-out of attempts to jam everything into online courses, with a few of the more successful ones displacing most of the others. Those skills are likely to be things like coding, statistics, and the more basic elements of the natural and medical sciences. Social science, literature, art, philosophy, history, and the many other aspects of traditional college educations may get swamped by the relentless focus on skills, but in my view that should be resisted.”

An anonymous researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology commented, “There seems to be at least a positive trend, although it remains unclear if the number of trained workers will be sufficient for the future needs.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “I hope we do, but I don’t see either corporations or government (taxpayers) willing to spend the money required.”

An anonymous professor working at Stanford University replied, “Experience with online learning systems such as MOOCs has indicated the viability of ‘learning at the speed of need.’ Political discussions re: the cost of higher education suggests a need for educational alternatives (online instruction being one of them). Certain fields (e.g., data science, mobile app development) have proven to be more ‘teachable’ online without the need for a formal degree programs.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes, but this will happen in the face of the displacement of large numbers of workers by robotics and AI. The potential is there. The real question is, what are the jobs of the future?”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “No. Access to education is the gate to remaining in the workforce or entering it. Elder technology education is very poor and age is becoming the factor used by employers to create smaller work forces. It is however an area that should be encouraged by government so as not to risk loss of insight gained by experienced workers which is as important in application delivery of any product or service as the newest knowhow.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The best answer is: who knows? Predictions about online education have failed so often that I’m not optimistic.”

An anonymous social scientist observed, “We are already there! What we haven’t done is align what skills we need from workers with the future of work itself. We wait years for skilled worked to matriculate through broad, expensive graduate curriculum. And it’s not clear whether they/we needed 1 percent of 99 percent of that for the wait and cost. The availability of such training expands the geographic reach of the potential workforce, it rewards curiosity without such steep financial penalty, and it removes us from the notion that a new science, for example, will grow and persist. It allows the learning space to grow, adapt, and recede as new ones emerge.”

An anonymous professor at New York University replied, “This is not really a prediction, since it’s there now, for programmers. General Assembly, Flatiron School, etc., are the new trade schools.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The major problem is that training is very distinct from education. While training is useful from a productivity standpoint, substituting training for a well-rounded education including social development, can warp society and create socio-economic obstacles which are even worse than those caused by existing sources of social stratification, such as racial bias and economic disparity.”

An anonymous director of business and human rights wrote, “Eventually, new forms of training and skills will evolve to try to train a global or virtual workforce in different ways.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “These new types of education are already in development. There’s going to be a struggle over credentialing and acceptance, but the new methods will find some wedge to get in—probably in types of training that don’t require formal credentialing now—and expand from there. Whether they’re successful depend on where the new jobs are formed and what they look like. I have no idea how to handicap that.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It is a major issue for industry already—they will have to invest in training to get qualified employees”

An anonymous CEO replied, “We’ve been trying to do this with computer assist back to the days of the PLATO project. We’ve never seemed to hit the right balance between scaling and quality.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Yes indeed. The development of new online tools is flourishing as well as new educative programs. Combining new tools with evolving teaching methods online will contribute to the success of these programs nevertheless, one should not neglect the important role of a human teacher/instructor/mentor as a mediator between the workers and the online training programs.”

An anonymous user experience manager wrote, “I am still not sure what this looks like; probably not MOOCs as we now know them. There is just too much promise in this space, and someone is going to figure it out well and show a model for moving forward.”

An anonymous computer security researcher commented, “A qualified yes. It may depend on how VR and augmented reality pan out. Yes, employers will welcome them; they can pay them less than graduates of highly reputed, accredited programs. An example of this are the ‘cyber-security’ programs that are graduating masses of so-called experts—they are not having any trouble finding work.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Online education will play an important role for qualifying masses for technical and operational jobs. But the job of the future is the one that combines technical, operational, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills. There’s no way an online course will be able to teach leadership for example.”

An anonymous university professor in internet studies replied, “YouTube is already there with the How-to Videos. The ‘crowd’ is already there, helping out.”

An anonymous professor emeritus of history said, “The Web is not a good educational environment unless interaction between students and teachers is frequent and substantive, but it is a good training medium.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Well, we see the dying of some traditional Rust Belt cities such as Akron and Detroit, still clinging to Industrial Age legends. Conversely, Minneapolis is thriving by planning ahead, as are Seattle, Portland, and of course San Francisco. Engineers and cyber technicians are the leading folks in the very near future.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “There will be efforts to embrace technology to train people with low skills, but I’m skeptical that there will be a technology that is successful in reaching large numbers of this population. The best technological advancement seem to only further those who are already educated/well-off.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “no, learning doesn’t happen like that. Also skills aren’t where people need to be, that is a misleading, people need to be taught to be flexible and creative learners so any skill be learned quickly. Teaching the skills won’t do that though, usually skill-based teaching is very closed, and we need open and inquiring modes of learning.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “We must. New entrants and transitioning workers whose employment is disrupted are most critical. Even in jobs that are still relevant, there are workers who are not keeping up with technology changes and don’t have sufficient computer skills to use tools that automate work processes or engage over social media. Online training programs will work best with people who already have good computer skills but need to learn new things. Classroom training with practical exercises will be needed for everyone else. Proficiency in Microsoft Office and effective use of the Internet to create and access content and perform basic employment functions like timekeeping and managing 401k contributions should be the baseline for everyone.”

An anonymous respondent said, “MOOCS came along at a time when university funding sources from state and private actors crashed in the wake of the economic crisis and they seemed to promise a solution to the universities’ ills. There were also social ills associated with the diffusion of work across a distributed workforce, increasingly global and increasingly unequal, across global inequality divides. Online systems are, in my opinion as an educator, terrible substitutes for teachers. Taught courses are terrible substitutes for apprenticeships and learning by doing. And learning-by-doing opportunities are thin in developed nations as lower-class skills are roboticized and automated or offshored. So no, I don’t think technology will solve the problems that it was brought in to create—distributing a global workforce and lowering bottom lines through automation and offshoring.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “MOOCs are already showing the way, and as they scale further represent a dramatic reduction in the cost of delivery of education.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Over time, the employers of the future will want to ‘control’ what is taught or learned in order to more selectively cultivate their employee pool. Employers will want their employees to be identified by more stringent criteria than that which will be taught to the general public. Just as LinkedIn has done with Lynda, all employers will develop a way to monetize the education that is available to their employees and only those who are willing and able to pay the fees will be open to employment. The number of ‘trained’ employees will likely diminish.”

An anonymous faculty member at the University of Missouri-St. Louis wrote, “I would hope that high tech and higher education will work more seamlessly together. I think the education process would be greatly enhanced if the process of information acquisition was an online endeavor and knowledge application took place in a face to face collaborative setting.”

An anonymous political science professor replied, “The internet is above all a profit center. Education on the internet is no different. These programs will proliferate but won’t necessarily effect substantive change in the people signing up for them. Individualized, on-demand learning is too ‘easy’ to do much good. Besides, it’s inherently difficult to define what ‘skills’ are needed for workers of the future, or to prove that what’s needed couldn’t have been learned on the job in the absence of the antecedent training.”

An anonymous associate professor of mathematics at the Université Abdou Moumouni said, “Even those reluctant to face the huge potential of eLearning are moving steadily towards blended teaching. This trend will grow under the pressure of more and more youths willing to go online for higher education or special education not available in their living place.”

An anonymous research psychologist wrote, “Coding and technical skills will continue to evolve and be in demand.”

An anonymous researcher and software developer commented, “Digital Information analysis skills are increasingly important and can be taught and learned well through online materials and courses.”

An anonymous chairman and CEO of a non-profit organization observed, “I do see the emergence of new education and training—they’re already here in large part—and they will only grow in number and sophistication. The trouble in my view will lie is the ‘gap’ that will limit this application and, in turn, ironically work to widen the gap. What needs to also be increased are the social capital around the education and training”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Fundamentally the answer is not offering new trainings but to adjust current systems and infrastructures to accommodate new skills. I don’t know that we need new types of credentialing systems. We need to revitalize our current education systems and then have employers accept that people will need to learn some new skills on the job. In my first job, somebody told me, ‘Teach yourself how to do things, do them in this job, put them on your resume, and nobody will care whether or not you have a degree or credential related to them.’ I think that is true for most jobs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I earned a graduate degree entirely online, fully accredited by the accepted organization of my field. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t help but see how more and more educational experiences will happen online. You can reach more people with fewer resources. As Western society operates more as a knowledge and service economy rather than a making stuff-based economy, specialized knowledge will become the norm. Learning skills necessary in knowledge work is fit for distance, asynchronous, self-directed learning. Programming, computer software and hardware engineering, IT job skills can be learned in this new way. Some fields, such as medicine and business, will benefit from hybrid training programs, both traditional and non-traditional. Overall, as our economy changes, training styles will change. While in person learning and serendipitous discovery of new knowledge can never be replaced, it can certainly be augmented with new learning systems.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “New options like edX, other MOOCs, etc., are difficult to gain from. Unless it is a computer-based task such as learning a new language when you already know one, online training is difficult.”

An anonymous chief technology officer observed, “We haven’t figured it out yet, and technology change is accelerating. We are probably going to reach a point where it will be cheaper and faster to write software to teach a robot to do the job than a human.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Education is controlled by teacher unions. The unions get rewarded for bad behavior—more jobs, more job security, more resources, less responsibility for outcomes, etc. In short, they live off failure and incompetent workers. They will block any training programs.”

An anonymous respondent said, “It’s not about the skills, but about the delivery systems. It will not be possible to expand education until we improve our infrastructure and stop permitting providers to influence policy.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We have decent tools already, but the status quo controlling the education market is loath to deploy them as they, by definition, relinquish control to the learner.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “While I definitely expect there to be an emergence of new educational platforms, I am skeptical that these will all be effective. Educational institutions must prioritize discerning (through empirical research) which courses and trainings can be taught successfully in non-traditional broad-reach settings, and which ones should remain in conventional smaller-scale classrooms.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The most important skill in any area is solid problem-solving skills, being able to approach a problem and conceive of a solution. I’m not aware of any online/webcast/etc. programs that can do that. It’s possible that will happen, but I expect instead to see ‘practical’ courses that teach minutiae and technical skills that are obsolete almost as soon as they are created. Further, I expect employers to continue to under-invest in their workers, and the trend of requiring higher and higher bars in terms of education, experience, and personal connections for any sort of position that isn’t the most disposable.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The ‘skills gap’ is an effect of corporations abandoning their historical responsibility to train their employees, trying to push career-specific training onto universities or individuals, with the result that those who already have the resources available to train themselves are rewarded, those without resources are penalized, and taxed university budgets are further taxed to make up for savings accrued by corporations while having their educational missions compromised. The framing of the question does not allow this answer.”

If you wish to read the full survey report with analysis, click here.

To read credited survey participants’ responses with no analysis, click here.