Youth and Education

The Net Generation has come of age. Companies and universities alike will have to rethink their training, recruiting, collaboration and management of this generation in order to stay relevant and avoid becoming “relics,” as Peter Drucker predicted.
The Net Generation
The continuing global economic crisis is a wakeup call to the world, demanding new thinking about everything. We need to rebuild many of the organizations and institutions that have served us well for decades, even centuries, but are no longer able. Many pillars traditional economic and social pillars of the industrial age have come to the end of their life cycle and must be reinvented on a new, networked model.

Simultaneously a new medium of human communications, the Web 2.0, is becoming a platform for collaboration enabling self-organization and communities. At the same time the Net Generation has come of age. The children of the baby boom, aged 13-30, are not only the largest generation ever — they are the first generation to come of age in the digital age. These two factors are causing companies to rethink recruiting, compensation, training, collaboration, retention and the management of talent.

Don Tapscott argues that now is the time to rethink HR and management. He discusses conclusions from the $4 million research project that led to his book Grown Up Digital and subsequently to his most recent work Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. He argues that a new paradigm in management – Talent 2.0 – is changing how every winning company will harness the power of human capital.

The Transformation of Education
Without fundamental reform, universities will not be able to compete with cheaper and more effective online education providers. While many young people are still going to university, a growing portion of the best and the brightest students have given up attending classes, because the information is available in a more easily ingested form online.

There will be more post secondary courses delivered by MOOCS in a few years than all face to face university courses combined. Universities must shift their business model from the centuries-old notion that a professor lectures students, to a more collaborative, interactive model. Instead of being the “sage on the stage,” teachers should be the co-pilot for students as they explore and collaborate online to acquire knowledge. We need to reinvent how content is created thought creating a meta-university, or a network for higher learning.” The university also needs to change its relationship to other institutions in society.

The Transformation of the University
For 20 years, Don Tapscott has been arguing that the digital revolution will challenge many fundamental aspects of the University. He has not been alone. In 1998, none other than Peter Drucker predicted that big universities would be “relics” within 30 years. (Peter Drucker. “Seeing things as they really are”, Forbes, March 10, 1997,

Flash forward to today and you’d be reasonable to think that they have been quite wrong. University attendance is at an all time high. The percentage of young people enrolling in degree granting institutions has risen dramatically in the last 15 years 2007 while the percentage of 25- to 29-year-old Americans with a college degree doubled. The competition to get into the greatest universities has never been fiercer. At first blush the university seems to be in greater demand than ever.

Yet there are troubling indicators that the picture is not so rosy. A whopping 44 percent of students are dropping out — an all time high. It’s fashionable on many campuses to try to get an A without having gone to any lectures. MOOCS are challenging the model of pedagogy and even the concept of a campus for higher learning. Everywhere where academics, lawmakers, parents and especially students are rumbling that there is something wrong in the state of higher education.

This is a time of great peril for higher education as it’s constituted. Universities are finally losing their monopoly on higher learning, as the Internet inexorably becomes the dominant infrastructure for knowledge – both as a container and as a global platform for knowledge exchange between people – and as a new generation of students requires a very different model of higher education.

Tapscott describes:

  • How a new generation learns differently.
  • What is the new model of pedagogy?
  • Why the campus and face to face learning is still worth preserving?
  • How can we go beyond MOOCS to create a new collaborative platform for learning?
  • The changing relationship between the university and other institutions in society.
  • What leaders should be doing to move to the new paradigm in higher education.