Mastering the Unknown - Education in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Most colleges or universities are designed around the consumption of knowledge. The best ones teach to innovate rather than replicate information and digest it. They make students feel challenged, compel them to solve problems, and query information rather than memorize textbooks.
But somewhere along the line, the methods of teaching are falling short of employer demands we have in our day and age. How come?
Nowadays, most graduates face a world transformed by technology, in which the Internet, cloud computing, and social media create different opportunities and challenges for formal education systems. As students consider life after graduation, universities are faced with questions about their own compatibility in terms of employment.
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Why is this more important than ever?
Simply, because world economies are driven by the principles of supply and demand. The job market follows these fundamental rules. You need to supply a certain set of skills in order to satisfy work demands. Yet in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution, these principles have post-hasted and things are changing faster than ever.
This means that there is more disparity between the generations and the knowledge we need to compete or stand out in the market. The teachings from thirty or forty years ago are no longer as applicable as with the previous generations. Three decades ago, terms like digital marketer, social media manager, App developer or blogger didn’t exist. And the future of jobs will be determined by those who innovate and lead the various sciences. This is where the argument for innovative teaching comes into the picture. To tackle the unknown.
Because who knows what the job market will need in the next 2 or 3 decades?
So how do we overcome this challenge in the 4th Industrial Revolution?
When once asked, what makes the Ivy Leagues stand out from the rest of the world’s higher education, the answer was simple. Their graduates create jobs instead of falling into the cohorts of desk-jobs themselves.
They master the ability to navigate the unknown, rather than just being experts in the known.
Having basic theories in social and natural sciences are essential. There is no argument there. But the future is ambiguous. AI, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and advanced wireless technologies are developed by the most agile and free-thinking minds.
If we are stuck with the same theories and mechanics as the past generations, we are condemned to fall short of innovating and changing our abilities to be leaders of modernization. This does not mean that one must neglect the past and avoid any theoretical teachings. But long term consistency in teaching, especially when technology is making rapid changes, will not take us many steps further.
I believe that lecturers and teachers should be able to challenge, not just teach. Students should learn to apply skills to current businesses, taking global corporations to new heights in the 21st century. Collaborative learning, real-life projects and creating a general curiosity around a specific field of study can be keys to approaching the unknown.
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