How learning and working is affected by Industry 4.0 and Learning 4.0 – this is the question tackled by a current study conducted by Know-Center among industrial companies. The results were presented at the First Data Driven Future Forum on 23 March 2017.

Learning 4.0 has become a buzzword. Yet it is still unclear what is really means and, especially, how it can be implemented in a company. The first Data/Driven Future Forum on March 23, 2017, which was attended by numerous representatives of renowned companies, shed some light on this gray area. “It is about linking work with learning more closely in order to assist the employees as much as possible,” explained Stefanie Lindstaedt, CEO of Know-Center and Director of an Institute at the Graz University of Technology, who has a broad expertise in this area and has extensively researched it at Know-Center. Currently, an EU-funded project with the value of 2.6 million Euros is running with AFEL (Analytics for every day learning) with the goal of using big data technologies for knowledge discovery and networking.

Survey of industrial companies

But where do companies currently stand in the area of ​​Learning 4.0? To this end, Know-Center has performed a qualitative study of 24 representative industrial companies. Since this is a “hot topic” in companies at the moment, a discussion about it is absolutely necessary. However, concrete solutions are still missing. The project manager, Stefan Thalmann, reports the key outcomes of the survey:

  • IT skills are increasingly in demand in every profession, not only in IT administration and IT jobs.
  • One challenge is to guide the employees through these sudden developments.
  • Knowledge needs to arise much more quickly (“just in time”) at the workplace, which is why readily-accessible (continuing) education opportunities are required.
  • If no adequate opportunities for employees exist to quickly acquire the knowledge, they google it, but this knowledge may often be questionable.
  • (Continuing) education needs are becoming more individual, and a general approach is less and less effective.
  • New technical possibilities and the information overflow are major factors of stress and work overload. New rules are required.

Guiding the Employees

Borina Jelisavac, HR Manager of Global Supply Chain Management at GE Jenbacher reflects on this subject: “Learning will be more targeted, faster-paced and more digital and it will be life-long. Knowledge is increasingly generated online, targeted according to needs and interests. For us, this means finding ways to help the employees apply this new kind of learning to themselves. We would like to guide our employees on this digital journey so that we can address not only the employees’ development but the development of production technologies as well.”

Marina Oleneva, an R & D System Engineer at Siemens remarks: “The focus is now on the topic of Learning 4.0 in companies. How will we work in the future? And what matters in this regard are not only tools, but also new technologies, such as tablets and glasses, which should be adapted to the working world in terms of the price-performance ratio, user acceptance and costs.”

Katharina Kern of SFG – Styrian Business Promotion Agency observes: “From my point of view, it is important to guide the company employees, at all levels. A bit more awareness has to be created. And, as always, creative solutions for the implementation are required. ”

If you are interested in this survey, please send an email to: event [at]