2018 VALBEC Conference • Friday, May 18

Literacy 4.0: preparing for new workplaces and literacy education practices

2018 VALBEC Conference

VALBEC is excited to present a conference with a difference to celebrate 40 years of providing professional development and learning opportunities to members and the adult education sector, both in Victoria and nationally.

Workplaces are said to be in the middle of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’, following the earlier transformations brought about by steam, electricity and digitisation. It is often referred to simply as ‘Industry 4.0’. The emerging ‘smart’ factories in Industry 4.0 increasingly rely upon automation augmented by artificial intelligence, the crowdsourcing of tasks, and the use of freelance workers engaged in micro-tasking.

In Industry 4.0 workplaces are changing into workspaces. They now form local nodes of a complex network of people, technologies and practices that constitute a potentially globally distributed workspace. Workspaces are dynamic, fluid, often transient, working units defined and bounded by regular, routine information and communications technology routes.

Established industry sectors, such as manufacturing in Australia and globally, have been disrupted by these changes, leading to job losses. There is a need to support transitions for existing workers into new jobs and to prepare new workers for the workplaces and workspaces of the future.

A key issue for success in Industry 4.0 is understanding the nature of the literate practice of contemporary work, and the literacy texts and practices that underpin the skills, knowledge and attributes required in the new workplaces. In other words, if we expect education across the life course to prepare people for Industry 4.0, then we need to understand Literacy 4.0.