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Introducing the New Learning Workers


Tue May 09 2017

Introducing the New Learning Workers

This short video introduces a new kind of knowledge worker: a learning worker.

What you see in the video is a real intelligent application that is made from technology that is available today. And the new learning workers that use this app employ collaborative leadership, leverage cognitive computing, and create and apply a learning strategy for everything they do. Most notably, they apply methods from the learning sciences and technology to “turbo charge” their cognitive abilities, and hence their productivity. However, they also have more courage and larger hearts than their predecessors.


These new learning workers will extend their mental abilities with a process I call cognitive computing. The knowledge they bring to a new project or problem is greater than what they hold in their heads. They have public and private intelligent applications that can be queried much like asking a person. As their personal learning grows and enriches their intelligent apps, so does the total amount of knowledge they bring to the workplace. Cognitive computing not only leverages what they know, but accelerates their ability to learn more, which increases the amount of new knowledge they can create and share.

The new learning workers are not afraid of being replaced by a machine. They harness technology to spark their own innovation and use it to distribute what they have learned. They see it as a way to extend their minds and a means to act on what is already known. Ultimately, they use technology to create a space for their curiosity to grow into innovation.

As a result, the new learning workers won’t be managed like their predecessors. They see the world differently from those who came before them. Knowing they cannot hide who they really are in a strongly networked world, they reach out and embrace values that have been with us since the beginning of human history. They have come to recognize and rely on strong personal and professional values more than those that preceded them. They have personal integrity, believe in something larger than themselves, and keep the best interest of others in mind. And they know the golden rule and live by it.

What’s more, these strong professional and personal values are welcomed by the organizations employing these new learning workers. These organizations know that in a more complicated world, they will have to trust their workforce. For example, they need to know that their intellectual property is safe with these new workers, who might have more than one employer at a time.

They also convey an attitude of confidence, courage, and reciprocity of knowledge. As a result, they won’t be bullied, intimidated, or manipulated by their bosses. They will only respond to leaders that are like them: brainy, courageous, and full of heart.


To unleash the potential of these new learning workers and reap the rewards of their productivity, organizations will have to change the way they work and the way they are led. This means that organizations will have to embrace collaborative leadership, cognitive computing, strategies for learning, and strong personal and professional values to be successful in the new learning economy.

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