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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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How lifelong learning makes you shine in the job market

Here's why the school you went to is less relevant than ever.

KELLY PALMER: So when you think about the skills of the future and what's really most important, I would say learning agility is probably one of the most important skills that people can have. And what exactly is learning agility? Learning agility is really the ability to learn new things quickly and be aware of the trends that are coming out in whatever industry you're in, in particular. So if you're a hiring manager and you're wondering 'does this person that I'm interviewing have learning agility?' ask them: "What did you learn last week? What did you learn last month? What did you learn last year?" It will give you a sense of what kind of a learner that person is. Do they read a lot of books? Do they spend a lot of their own time learning about new trends in their industry? If so, they're going to be the most valuable employees that you can have in the future because things are changing so quickly year-by-year that it's hard to predict what skills you'll need, so people who can actually pick up skills before you even know which ones are most important are going to be the most valuable.

One of the arguments that I make in the book is that, typically, corporate learning has focused on three primary areas: managers, leaders, and high potential employees—yet that's leaving 80 percent of your workforce out of those learning programs that most companies are focused on. So what are the 80 percent of your employees supposed to be doing if the company is not focusing on you? So I think that there's this amazing trend that's happening where people are realizing we need to skill the whole workforce, not just the 20 percent that are in leader or manager positions. And so I think the trend is more towards personalized learning because everybody is at a different phase of their learning regardless of what position they're in. And so for a corporate learning organization to try to implement one-size-fits-all programs into the company doesn't typically match what each individual employee might need. So with personalized learning, you can actually assess: What are the strengths and weaknesses for any given role, and where are the skill gaps that you have, either to get better at their job that you already have or to prepare yourself for the jobs of the future?

So, I think for many years we've been stuck in a model where hiring managers think about where someone went to school and what degree they got, and those are huge qualifications for whether or not you hire somebody.

But one of the things that we often ask is, if I ask you, "Tell me about your education," you'll tell me where you went to school and where you got your degree, yet that might have been 10 or 15 years ago. And does that really tell you what you actually know and what you can do?

The workforce of the future, I think, is going to really focus more on skills and what people can actually do rather than where they went to school. Because if you liken it to asking somebody—if I asked you, "Tell me about your health," and you told me you ran a marathon 10 years ago, does that really tell me what your health is like? Not really.

So how do we talk the language of skills and how do we get people to be able to communicate what skills they have and what skills they need? And if hiring managers can start focusing more on skills rather than degrees I think that there will be a lot more effective ways to get people in the workforce based on that rather than traditional credentials.

  • Learning agility is the ability to learn new things quickly and be aware of the trends that are emerging in your industry. It's the most important job skill hiring managers should be looking for and job seekers should be putting forward, says Kelly Palmer.
  • Want to test your learning agility? Answer this practice interview question: "What did you learn last week?"
  • Hiring people based on the school they went to is less relevant than ever. Why? Palmer explains: "If I asked you, "Tell me about your health," and you told me you ran a marathon 10 years ago, does that really tell me what your health is like? Not really." It's what you can offer now and how agile you are that matters.
  • Kelly Palmer is the author of The Expertise Economy.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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How often do vaccine trials hit paydirt?

Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.

Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.

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