The LEGO Group’s Chief Marketing Officer says “education is not going to be enough” for kids of the future.
Speaking at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference earlier this month, Julia Goldin warned that children “need to be prepared in a different way”. She cited the World Economic Forum’s statistic that 65% of kids currently entering primary education will eventually take jobs that don’t exist right now.
As you might imagine from a prominent member of the LEGO Group, Goldin pointed to the creative play offered by LEGO bricks as an alternative way of learning. “When [kids] play and build with LEGO, they develop and build 21st-century skills [including] creative problem solving [and] critical thinking,” she said. “The true creativity of tomorrow is not being able to imagine something, but being able to build it.”
As Adweek reports, though, other sources seem to back up her claims. For instance, MIT’s Early Childhood Cognition Lab posits that “play is what helps children learn about solving problems.” Given the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) cites “complex problem solving” as the single most important skill in today’s job market, it’s difficult to understate the role play could serve in education.
The DMI also highlights the importance of “social and emotional learning” in developing crucial skills, which marries nicely with the language used in the LEGO Foundation’s current free course, “Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play“.
Anthropologist Gwen Dewar also agrees with Goldin’s assertions. Writing for peer-reviewed journal Parenting Science, she says that “construction toys” (including LEGO bricks) can “foster a wide range of abilities, including motor skills, spatial skills, language skills, and divergent problem solving”. Dewar also suggests that “structured block play”, in which kids attempt to recreate an object using bricks, can help develop “non-verbal intelligence”.
Forbes recently listed Goldin among the world’s most influential CMOs, citing the company’s action on issues like the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter campaign.