About Future Skills

The starting point for the enormous career of the Future Skills concept is the insight that current concepts of higher education do not meet the urgent needs of our societies with convincing future concepts. Neither they are fit to help sustain our environment nor associated social or economic challenges. While social challenges are by an accelerating process of globalization and digital advancement, at the same time these are the very forces that enable a multitude of new options for human development. In this situation of digital acceleration, the characteristic feature is that of uncertainty and the inevitable necessity is that of creative responsibility.

Zur Zukunft der Hochschulbildung

Die Corona Krise macht eines deutlich: Die Bedingungen in denen wir Bildung organisieren, können sich schnell ändern. Schneller und radikaler als wir es bislang für möglich gehalten haben. Wurde Digitalisierung bisher noch als Herausforderung verstanden, der wir uns vernünftigerweise zuwenden müssen und die es für die Zukunft zu gestalten gilt, so lässt die derzeitige Situation in dieser Hinsicht keinen Stein auf dem anderen. Nach dem Shutdown – und möge er schnell vorüber gehen – wird Digitalisierung in Bildungseinrichtungen keine Option mehr sein – sie wird zur selbstverständliche Kulturtechnik.


Future Skill Readiness

Der vorliegende Artikel beleuchtet den Grad, zu dem Hochschulen dazu bereit sind, ihre Absolventinnen und Absolventen mit Future Skills auszustatten (‚Future Skill Readiness‘). Die Frage nach der „Readiness“ von Hochschulen, Future Skills bei ihren Studierenden ausbilden zu können, zeigte Diskrepanzen auf. Die vorliegende Arbeit verfolgt einen bildungsorientierten, sozialökologischen Kompetenzansatz, um ein Modell für Future Skills zu entwerfen.


Creating Education 4.0

This paper by Gilly Salmon (2019) looks back across dominant ways of delivering Higher Education until the present day and then looks forward. There is an approximate continuum described from Education 1.0 through 2.0 to 3.0.  Education is mapped onto the emergence and development of the Web and the revolutions known as ‘Industrial’ over the last 250 years. Then some foresight is deployed with the particular lens of graduates’ employment prospects and contributions to the future – dubbed ‘Education 4.0’.


The Future Skills Turn

In times of global networked organizations and steadily accelerating product cycles, the model of qualification for future jobs seems debatable. The present international study led to the identification of the change processes that the working and learning world are undergoing as well as of the Future Skills that will be needed in highly emergent future contexts – including digital competences, but transcending them.


Future Learning, Future Higher Education

The report „Future Skills – Future learning, Future Higher Education focusses on empirically determining future skill demands for higher education. The vast majority of employers surveyed for the “Future of Jobs Report” of the World Economic Forum 2018, expects that in short term, by 2022, the skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly. Are we already having adequate concepts for competence development in higher education? Or is something new, something radical needed?


Explore the Future Skills Universe

Explore Future Skills

The NextSkills Studies suggest a new framework for Future Skills which consists of 17 clearly defined Future Skills Profiles. In addition, the Future Skills Triple Helix reference framework has been developed, giving a foundation for the Future Skills.

Explore Future Universities

The NextSkills Studies call for rethinking higher education and propose clear-cut drivers for the development of the University of the Future. Explore four scenarios for the University of the Future.

Explore the Initiative

NextSkills is an initiative of global interest. It has been started as a set of research studies conducted by the working group on digital transformation of education and learning, headed by Prof. Dr. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers. Learn more about the research projects and global partners.


Future Skills is an overarching theme and is raising interest in many communties, from higher education, policy makers to business leaders, nationally and globally. In this section, we are gathering discussions, hot news, presentations and more for downloading.

EFFEKTE Wissenschaftsreihe 2020

June 2020 – May 2021, Karlsruher Wissenschaftsbüro, Karlsruhe

Welche Hochschule braucht die Zukunft – welche Zukunft braucht die Hochschule? Eine Utopie der Akademie

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Gesellschaft für Medien in der Wissenschaft (GMW) Jahrestagung

24 – 27 August 2020, Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW), Winterthur

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Eden 2020 Annual Conference

21-26 June 2020, Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania

Reframing Working, Rethinking Learning: The Future Skills Turn

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16 June 2020, Webinar

Transitioning to online: Lessons learned for future

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EDEN Webinar Series

08 June 2020

Developing 21st century skills through teaching online: opportunities and challenges

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6th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’20)

02-05 June 2020, Valencia, Spain

Ready for the Future? Future Skills in European Higher Education

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Electronic Kazan on the Danube

02 June 2020

Disruptive Technologies for Education, Teaching, Learning and Training:  Facing Present and Future Challenges

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30th Annual Conference ‘Professional Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Creating a Change that Endures’

 20-21 May 2020, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Reaching the sustainable development goals – a matter of Future Skills?

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PHE@Home Info Days

20 May 2020, Zoom Meeting

Workshop ”Microcredentials in Higher Education: Enabling Future Flexible Learning Pathways“

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PHE@Home Info Days

19 May 2020, Zoom Meeting

Masterclass “Future Skills and Future Universities“

Watch the Masterclass