That is the question Pierre Caspar asks in his book "The Education of Adults: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," published by Eyrolles. He immediately responds by explaining that what is within our reach today is unlimited data that has not yet become knowledge. In order to become intelligence, first this data must become knowledge, then second, it must undergo a process of assimilation by the individual. This process is made easier through education for young people and training for adults.
In his informative and exciting book, Pierre Caspar gives the history of adult training in France. A key player in the development of adult training, he gives us a strong testimony, that of a mining engineer who used his talent and know-how to gradually build a system of apprenticeship for generating new skills.
Three major steps punctuate this adventure, which started with the CUCES (University Center of Economic and Social Cooperation) created by Bertrand Schwartz during the post-war period, and is now at the advent of new technologies, social networks and the use of Web 2.0 in the learning process:
- The acquisition of knowledge through action
- The acquisition of knowledge with an economic logic
- The acquisition of knowledge is any time and anywhere
Training is organised around a process defined by instructional design that organises the relationship between acquiring skills and work or work situations. It has many names: a case study, problem solving (Problem Based Learning), role-play or simulation. For Pierre Caspar, the societal dimension is within this "action learning": "It is not only the acquisition of new skills. It is also the process of becoming aware that each of us, through his or her actions, touches the lives of others just as he or she is affected by others behaviour. "
This is where we see the humanistic dimension which accompanies the development of training in France and, with Jacques Delors initially, led to the law of 71, then more recently in 2003 the agreements on the creation of the DIF (law on the right to professional training). The double virtue of this field is the fact that training is a source of creation of wealth for the company and the individual.
The economic question is gradually penetrating the world of training. Economic concepts format the field of learning. Their names: assessment, training investment, ROI, and measurement of result and competence. The latter appeared in France in the late 1980s, largely driven by the leadership training of MEDEF and its director Alain Dumont, which sums up the relationship between knowledge acquisition and output of economic competence. Competency, a dynamic concept, measures the ability that an individual has to put to use his or her knowledge, skills and life skills acquired through education or training in a professional situation. GPEC (Career Planning) and the management of individual salaries were born, which opened a new era in the management of human resources. To quote Pierre Caspar again: "The most profound changes in the field of training probably come from its increasing integration into the overall management process and development of human resources."
More importantly, the skill level of the workers of a company becomes an indicator of the company’s human capital. Competence is a rare and precious resource; it must therefore be preserved and renewed. The company thus participates in sustainable development. In sixty years, training has gone from being a learning tool to a major factor of the intangible assets of an organisation.
However, the adventure is not over- everything can be considered as a form of training or education. Pierre Caspar asks: "Are we aware that nowadays, it is potentially possible to turn most professional situations into learning experiences?" Companies have become cognitive where knowledge is distributed, divided, exchanged and reconstructed through numerous networks and collaborative groups. Learning has become organisational. Pedagogy has evolved from a bilateral relationship (teacher - student) to a multilateral relationship, where students learn together, share best practices, and can access immediately databases of knowledge where the teacher becomes a facilitator or mediator.
Certainly, the trainer may have lost his or her monopoly on the transfer of knowledge, because everything has become a form of training; but he remains at the heart of the analysis and construction of educational processes. These processes facilitate the ability to acquire, by the individual himself, the knowledge at hand and to transform it into intelligence, thus making him a "cognitive man".
Thanks to Peter Caspar for his participation.