Raymond Morin
October 27, 2015

Training Digital Natives To Be The Leaders Of Tomorrow

Over the past twenty-five years, the rapid development of new technologies, combined with the advent of the Web and social media, have caused a social revolution that now affects each generation. It has been a wave of profound changes that have transformed every aspect of our existence, from family life and personal relationships, through entertainment and culture, health care, finance and the way we consume, media and information, and of course, education and the labor market, which remain the pillars of our society.

The final transition towards a strong digital age requires organizations and businesses to adopt innovative approaches to better meet the expectations of the new users – consumers of Generation C. They must thoroughly review each component within their organizations, both in terms of how they deal with customer relationships and in their communications with employees and business partners.

The relationship between the education system and working environments

Today, most industries have initiated this social transformation in depth to better respond to the new paradigms of the digital age. However, the sectors of education and the labor market, which should be leading change, still lag behind.

The reforms undertaken in recent years with the introduction of ICT in the classroom, do not display the expected results, and work environments have yet to adapt to the demands of new generations. It is known that the sectors of education and the labor market are clearly directly related. The success of the first one will influence the success of the other. But to achieve this, both sectors will have to review their priorities and coordinate their efforts.

In principle, our education system’s main mission is to promote learning in order to fashion citizens capable of contributing effectively to the society by properly integrating into the labor market. At the same time, workplaces must be suitable and equipped to increase efficiency and productivity of workers in the performance of their tasks and responsibilities. Until now, however, educational institutions and businesses apparently been happy for new technologies to effect changes,which they then adapt to, rather than leading any deep social transformation themselves.

Social transformation is not a matter of technology, but is more of a new strategic approach that is more people-centered. This is emphasized in the ‘Manifesto for a renewed pedagogy, active and contemporary’, recently published (in French) by a group of ‘New Brunswick teachers, on PédagogieActive.com. The current education system and the workplace were developed according to the needs of the industrial age, and do not take into account the new generations and the transition to the digital age.

In order to adapt, schools and businesses must be willing to change their approach and to review the role of teachers and managers. With universal access to new Web technologies and social media, these institutions no longer have the monopoly on knowledge and expertise. Students and workers can easily access all currently archived knowledge, and are often better connected to than the organizations which used to teach them, to do so by themselves. We must learn to understand the new generations and what motivates them, to better respond to these new paradigms.

The importance of digital apprenticeship

In our new world, teachers must learn to use Web 2.0 tools and social media to help young people to think for themselves, and together, develop the best solutions face a problem or a situation. They must support them in their digital learning, and guide them in their research.

The education system, as well as work environments, can no longer be focused on the teacher or the course-work, presuming that all knowledge and skills are theirs alone to impart. Rather, they must be geared to learners and workers. With the new technologies of the Web and social media, the new Y and Z generations have naturally developed a different approach to learning, knowledge and knowledge processing.

Teachers and managers from the boomer and X generations must therefore seek to provide them the opportunity to assert their leadership. Their new role must be to enhance creativity and curiosity through experimentation and innovation – to become involved in their learning, while ensuring developing new skills to better meet new paradigms of the digital age. They should seek to learn even as they set out to teach.

Perhaps most importantly, education must introduce them to the tenets of accountability, codes of ethics, and how to secure their digital identity on social networks, while helping them develop consistent and relevant personal branding. We must focus digital learning, and promote continuous learning and networking, so that they can assert themselves as the leaders of tomorrow while preparing them for a life in which constant, rapid change is the only normal they will know. The future belongs to them. It is up to us to provide them with the key elements so that they may achieve their destiny.


Read also on the same subject:

Time To Start Caring About Developing New Leaders, by Ted Bauer

8 Essentials Skills Every Employer Looks For In Recent Graduates by Adam Heitzman

Millennials One Thing Can Do Today To Become The CEOs of Tomorrow by Stephanie Vozza


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Raymond Morin

SMO Senior Consultant, Author/Blogger and Speaker at Virage 2.0
Strategic analyst / consultant for over 20 years, specializing in optimizing Web marketing / social media for businesses and organizations, Raymond Morin is also the author of three reference guides (in French), and co-author of three other books about digital marketing, public relations and human resources management. A recognized professional blogger, in both languages, he regularly presents and facilitates conferences for organizations, as well as in-house training workshops. In English, he contributes monthly to various platforms of professional bloggers and social media influencers. His next book, Generation C - Confluence Marketing at the Era of Connected Consumers, will be published next fall on Friesen Press Publishing.