Reshaping the Future of Education
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing, as well as challenging, the way people learn.
New technologies being ushered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In the field of education, these technologies are unlocking new opportunities for learning, just as they are also challenging people about the way they learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Trends and Challenges
From virtual reality to predictive analytics and from online boot camps to interactive simulations—technology is paving new ways to enhance educational access around the world.
At the Asian Development Bank’s 7th International Skills Forum, Paul Kim, chief technology officer and assistant dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, said artificial intelligence—the new engine that is going to launch the Fourth Industrial Revolution—is the major disruptor in education.
He said human beings must have the capability to “reboot” their minds and “learn to unlearn and relearn.” He cited these trends posing major challenges to both learners and education providers as the world surges ahead into the Fourth Industrial Revolution:
The advent of artificial intelligence is making the future of jobs uncertain and the relevance of skills more important. What may seem as adequate technical skills today may soon be rendered obsolete. Therefore, only those that are agile enough to adapt to the rapidly changing work ecosystem will endure.
More intelligent and powerful computing resources are creating “new collar jobs,” which require specialized or relevant skills, often obtained through vocational training, not necessarily a 4-year college degree. Some companies have actually started to invest in job training programs of their own, or partner with schools to equip students with the exact skills they will need to get a job.
People used to pay for access to lifelong learning or continuing education. With so many technologies emerging and social media networks becoming a vehicle for education, more education entrepreneurs are offering just-in-time and on-demand disposable learning tools for all ages that used to be privileged opportunities for an elite group of learners. Thus, people need to learn to be more agile in adopting self-regulated learning skills and critical questioning skills.
People must be encouraged to ask critical questions freely. Current schooling and training models need to be updated to focus more on enablement: shifting the kind of questions from fact searching to questions that seek explanations. Lifelong learners are the designers and makers who must create their own jobs again and again; they must know how to question in order to innovate. Thus, training opportunities need to be redesigned, not just to hone technical competencies, but also to better integrate critical questioning skills.
Current schooling and training models need to be updated to focus more on enablement, engagement, and empowerment while learning activities must incorporate design thinking, solution making, and problem solving tasks, leveraging emerging computing resources, including artificial intelligence.
P. Kim, ed. 2014. Massive Open Online Courses: The MOOC Revolution. New York: Routledge.
World Economic Forum. 2016. Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained. Business report. 15 January.
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