Anja Wagner: digital education professional and founder of the agency Frolleinflow.
She calls herself an educational troublemaker. “Because we brush the education system against the grain and help with digital transformation,” says Anja Wagner. By “we,” she means the digital education agency Frolleinflow. Together with Nicole Bauch, Senior Consultant for E-Learning, she has been running the agency since 2011. They advise clients such as the Klett Group, adult education centers and universities on educational transformation, digital competence and the future of education and work.
After studying social sciences at the University of Göttingen and further training as a multimedia designer, she worked for several years as a freelance concept designer for various multimedia agencies. At an agency, she came into contact with digital education, a topic that has stuck with her ever since.
The Internet as a new learning space
From 2002 to 2011, she was a lecturer and project manager at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. Her focus: The use of video technologies in e-learning scenarios and the use of Web 2.0 for modern work process organization. Time and again, she was concerned with how video can improve learning at universities. Meanwhile, Anja Wagner was working on her doctorate. She explored how the Internet can be used as an educational venue by people who are less successful in formalized educational structures. The realization: The network as a new learning space could help these people – if they knew how learning works there.
Today, Anja Wagner and Frolleinflow give lectures on the future of modern education and training, train school administrators in digital transformation, support educational projects that want to break new ground, and develop online courses for students on “New Work & Future Skills”.
In 2021, her book “Berufen statt zertifiziert” (“Called instead of Certified”) was published, in which she describes why, in her opinion, credentials and certificates are hardly needed anymore. “For the most part, the certificate system is too slow for the fast-paced world in digital transformation,” Wagner says. Particularly in recent times, he said, activities have emerged that can be categorized less and less in clear bundles of qualifications that could be called a profession. For this reason, there are no standardized educational paths with certifying degrees.
Facilitate lifelong learning
Anja Wagner wonders whether schools and universities are even capable of preparing people for the world out there. The central task of educational institutions, he said, is actually to help “people learn how to navigate today’s uncertain times and remain open to new knowledge.” So that when they are released into the workforce, they will always be ready and able to continually upgrade their skills on their own as well.
Digital education can help, says Wagner. But only if you harness their transformative potential. The old, standardized teaching-learning model should not simply become more efficient with digital tools. Instead, new methods are needed that enable learners to use the potential of the Internet as a learning space for their personal development. Wagner advocates networked learning – in the community and in contact with others rather than mediated by individual experts. Wagner believes that a combination with face-to-face courses makes sense. It is also important that learners are driven by their own curiosity. “This is what the institutional education system should be preparing for,” Wagner says. “And ed-tech should contribute to facilitate this lifelong learning process to the maximum.”