Friday, February 10, 2017

From 1.0 to 4.0: information technologies, indispensable tools in the future of training in sport

From 1.0 to 4.0: information technologies, indispensable tools in the future of training in sport

Dr. Gilles Klein
World Sports Alliance

The previous article suggested that sport could allow African youth to remain in their home country. It might even be a way to employment.  To make this dream into reality, it might be necessary for a large amount of water to move across the Inga dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


The economists of sport have demonstrated it. In a country, sport is intertwined with economic development. Our organization did not want to wait for a significant GDP growth in the developing countries to find funding mechanisms for sport. We have bet on aligning the development of sport in these countries with sectorial projects of economic development.


However, to make sport a hope of employment in the country, there is still a long way to go. Our initiatives ought to be numerous and successful. Let us judge it!: to contribute to the economic development of the country, to participate in financing sport, to build sport infrastructures, to reduce the number of unemployed graduates in sport, to collaborate in students’ training, to seek diversification of jobs in sport, to take part in youth education through sport. Let us be optimistic! Let us assume the short-term achievement of the projects already negotiated with several governments. That is why I would like to address deeper the issue of sport employment in the member states of our organization.


In March 2015, I was invited to give a conference on the relationship between training supply and labour market in the sport area. I used the work that we have carried out on this issue in thirty two European countries, associating nearly a hundred universities and training institutes, and dozens of professional sport organizations. From this study, I drew several perspectives of sport employment in the context of th eArab world.


In my speech, I considered that the unemployment phenomenon and under employment of graduates in sport Higher education was a real societal problem: qualitative and quantitative mismatch between supply and demand, more specifically between the training offered by North African universities and the sport labour market. In the Maghreb, more largely in Africa, training in sport is too closely modelled on the European style Bachelor – Master – Doctorate. In my view, it is one of the major causes for the crisis in sport employment in Africa.


In Africa, the students which are registered in the sport area remain too much dependent on the general training which leads them to salaried careers, thanks to hiring by state institutions. States, which are still often registered into structural adjustment programs of the international financial institutions and, more than ever, are encouraged to reduce the reliance on public expenses. It is therefore preferable to encourage students to take up technical training that prepares for entrepreneurial activities. To offer professional opportunities to young people, sport training in Africa needs to be adapted in three ways.


Regarding European training we have shown the need to undertake a qualitative adaptation in training for the labor market. Fifteen standard occupations from the most widespread professional areas in sport training – coaching, physical education health and fitness, management –were subject to an in-depth analysis. Each standard occupation corresponds to a skill profile adapted to the labor market, from which initial and continuous training are conceived. Certainly, Africa and Europe are not comparable. Sport, health and fitness are often a middle-class concern. A class which is only just beginning to emerge in Africa but, the reflection on training does not provide any jobs in the short-term.


Therefore, it seems to me preferableto better adjust training to the flows of jobs, already created or that will be created. The result is to advise students on technical training which prepares them for entrepreunarial activities in sport. It may be a pathway leading to jobs in the short and medium terms. That is the point of view of the Conference of French speaking ministers of youth and sport (CONFEJES) which argues for brief training within the institutes of youth and sport.


The convention signed between our two organizations should be reactivated at the earliest opportunity to help CONFEJES to intervene in the states, notably African ones, to create jobs in sport. Everything is done in advance! We think about the books collections dedicated to jobs in sport, for youth, youth work, or the guide dedicated tothe micro-enterprises creation, etc. If we successfully build sport infrastructures, sporting African youth will find jobs adjusted to these profiles.

B. Gates

However, I would like to draw attention to a third type of adaptation which will now be programmed in partnership with the member states of our organization. What is it?

In the near future, 2020-2030, Bill Gates predicts that training will necessarily be digital. The revolution produced by the mass online open courses should shape learning practices. And particularly in the health and fitness area; let’s take the example of the health and fitness area with the considerable potential of micro enterprises, in Africa or elsewhere.

Fitness technologies

The web has changed the relationship between the fitness instructor and his/her patient or customer. Our organization wants to contribute to the evolution of fitness technologies – see the WSA projects above. An evolution which we cansum upin four steps.

Fitness 1.0

The 1990’s, appearance of the Web 1.0, a content proposed by a producer is available on a website visited by internet users. The user is passive and consumes information as it is done in a library. The health and fitness websites disseminate pre-constructed programs for passive users.

Fitness 2.0

Beginning of the 2000s, era of the Web 2.0. The web users are no longer just passive consumers but contribute to the creation of content and to the validation of their value. Development of blogs, forums, wikis and social networks. The health and fitness websites propose exercise databases. The web users create and are evolving their own programs.

Fitness 3.0

The 2010’s - Web 3.0. Development of a semantic web. Devices and individuals are increasingly connected. Smartphones, tablets, watches, sports and activity trackers, sportswear and sports shoes are being connected in a vast ensemble, creating and exchanging data (geo-location, individual tastes, etc.).The health and fitness websites experience problems with this. The creation of platforms and specific apps becomes necessary.

Fitness 4.0

The 2030’s. The Web 4.0. So-called intelligent web. The individual is immersed in an increasingly prevalent environment. It exacerbates the personalization already introduced by Web 3.0. Furthermore, it raises questions related to the protection of Privacy, data control, etc. Decision-makers, program designers, health and fitness professionals should not miss this opportunity of the next twenty years.


To take part in this evolution, we decided to create a platform – Global Coaching Initiative -and apps to better connect supply and demand in the area of health and fitness, more generally in the four professional areas of physical activity. It is the Sport-Pro programm conceived by our inter-governmental organization, the World Sports Alliance. The project announced on our website ( will be launched soon. An initiative in which the role of professionals, training institutes, universities, and associations will be decisive.

Next: 8 February 2017–Ready to start up!: design and dissemination of the « Sport & Development » program.  

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