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The future educational systems will prepare students in line with the demand of the future industry. This understanding invites innovation in pedagogical systems of today leading to experimental or disruptive schooling endeavors. All such measures lead to the understanding that the future of education -education 4.0- will be very different from the educational systems of today.
Courses: a reflection of the skills in demand
The demand for jobs in the future will offer a different picture of the market than it does so today. For one, robots will be replacing humans in most of the vacancies and will be preferred due to their efficiency and fewer costs. In such a setting, jobs available to the humans will be most highly skilled and analytical. Such occupations, besides requiring creativity and innovation from the hires, would also be expecting high levels of cognitive and emotional intelligence from them. Moreover, the recruits will be expected to perform their tasks in line with machines and AI capabilities, so that work is more cohesive and efficient. With all this in mind, schools of the future will prepare their students in these traits preparing them in line with the expectations of the jobs. However, there will be an emphasis on creativity and innovation in order to train them to be better at problem-solving tasks.
Reforming education: the experimentalists
Helsinki’s city development manager, Pasi Silander works on the same premise when he insists that the education system has to be reformed to better suit the industry and modern society. His country, Finland is taking the lead in such reforms. Recently, the country has been involved in a program to replace traditional subjects with topics or phenomenon that prepare the students better for work life. The topics combine many subjects, giving students the ability to groom themselves in all aspects of a skill or job. This approach also allows the student to approach a problem with different views, making them better at problem-solving tasks. In contrast, the traditional methods of teaching make students well versed with subjects, giving shallow understandings of the variations of their applications. Moreover, instead of the traditional classroom structure that emphasizes discipline and order, the sessions in these Finnish educational institutions are more collaborative, improving the communication skills of the students.
Another innovative approach towards schooling is the AltSchool chain. Their approach towards pedagogy has won fans in the Silicon Valley who have donated an upwards of $170 million in the project. The project now includes staff who previously worked in Google, Uber, Rocket Fuel and Zynga. Their approach is revolutionary: multipurpose classrooms, absence of administration locally and, most importantly, an evolving software and hardware infrastructure to impart ‘personalized education’ to the students. The students are tested with problem-solving approaches in the topics and subjects they are most passionate about giving them an in-depth understanding. Their achievements are monitored on apps in real-time which is then made available to the parents to gauge the progress of their child’s abilities. Each student has a personalized plan based on what they are passionate about and instructors enhance their understanding on these topics. Hence, the students in AltSchools ‘graduate’ more skilled and technologically savvy, better preparing them for their professional careers.
Future scenarios by Stanford
Stanford2025 is an interesting initiative which plays along the same reorientation as discussed in the cases above. The university plans to overhaul the university education system by introducing new, clever ways to impart skill-learning and education.
The overhaul will come about as Stanford adopts innovative alternatives to its current teaching curriculum. For example, its Open Loop university model will not follow the same 4-year format but will instead engage students in a loose teaching schedule lasting from 6 years to their whole lifetime. Students will be allowed to switch from education to work and vice versa ensuring flexibility and a more focused approach towards skills learnings. The students will be expected and welcomed to come back any time to learn more and polish their skills. With its Paced Education model, the students will be grouped and taught strictly in line with their capabilities and skills. This way, a more individualized pedagogical system will focus on the potential of the students. The Axis-flip will yet again, reorient studies to individual skills, harnessing the job and market dynamics to their maximum. Lastly, with the Purpose Learning, Stanford students will not seek degrees but will instead target missions which they would seek to complete during the course of their studies. This way, individuals sharing missions will already join forces and can contribute fully to reach their targets.
Stanford plans to undertake these changes gradually from 2025 onwards. As seen by other educational models, the Stanford2025 initiative works well with the expectations of the future job market and will prepare students to make the most of their skill set while competing for the job available to the humans of the future.
Education 4.0 training
the workforce for the future
Industry 4.0 is shaping the way the future of work will look like. An environment with machines playing dominant roles and decisions made on big-data analysis will, as explained before, will require a specialized workforce. The workforce will be trained in academic institutions that have personalized teaching curriculums designed for their individual skills and potentials. The students will have access to a number of teaching methods and tools and will be free to prioritize based on self-judgements. Their progress will be actively monitored in real time and data analysis will shape future courses and methods.
These teaching methods are being termed as ‘education 4.0’ as they correspond with the digitization of the ‘industry 4.0’ era. Dr. Vichian Punccreobutr in his paper on Education 4.0 insists that the future workforce will be a group of intellectuals who would be intellectually sharpened to make use of the advanced technologies of the future. The emphasis hence will be the increased digitization of everything in education, from teachers to subjects to progress. The personalized courses would demand much flexibility from teachers who would be transformed into facilitators leaving programs and software to do most of the teaching. This does not imply that AI will replace teachers. On the other hand, AI will assist them to better understand and check their students. AI will coordinate and list courses that best serve the student’s needs and connect them to the teachers when required. Companies like LinkedIn seem to have recognized the importance of program based tutorials. Recently, the tech giant acquired Lynda.com, an ecosystem with video courses on varied subjects, for $1.5 billion. LinkedIn expects future employers to seek employees with specific skills based on the courses that they have taken. With Lynda.com, the company can inform the potential hire of what courses the employer expects them to take while simultaneously connecting companies to a databank of courses suited for their needs. LinkedIn plans to use machine learning to make this process more cohesive and efficient, forming a new infrastructure of knowledge based recruitment.
Longer lives and healthier minds
The main premise of such endeavors being labeled as education 4.0, lies in the ability of humans to learn constantly. Due to medical advancements, not only are humans able to live longer but remain productive most of their life. Hence, there will be more opportunities to learn and work. Peter Fisk, founder of GeniusWorks predicts that ‘most people will have at least 6 different careers, requiring fundamental reeducating, whilst the relentless speed of innovation will constantly demand new skills and knowledge to keep pace’. The trend towards gig-economy today supports Fisk’s predication. In order to get these ‘gigs’, a culture will develop to keep learning new skills and traits. In that sense, the future student will neither be limited to academic institutions nor limited by age. Everyone will have chances to learn new skills based on the demands of that specific time. The workforce will be more flexible and open towards learning new skills to meet the demand of the fast-paced economy of the future.