Newer Baseline and ‘Landscape’ of Education 4.0

While we analyze today’s education & industry, or the concept of “#Education4.0”, we also need to watch out for changes in the very #Baseline of industry practices, and as routine ecosystems are being reset with newer versions at a faster pace.

Sanjay Kaul

Shapers and leaders in #HigherEducation needs to recognize that in the job market, the “game has not only changed but is dynamically evolving and in some cases leapfrogging”. In most existing as well as brand new industries, evolving requirements and expectations from the workforce of the future mean that the #entrylevelworkforce is expected to ‘plug-in’ as an ‘autonomous system’ from day one.

Internalization, Institutionalization, and Application of both the “changed goalposts” and the “changed format of the employment game” is the only way to keep #HigherEducation relevant, outcome-orientated, futuristic, and universal. Implementing this is possible independent of the policy and regulations governing higher education, which of course have consistently failed to keep up with the needs of higher education.

Listed below are four important fundamental shifts that have been occurring at an increasingly faster rate in the last two decades. They directly affect how we continue to educate #Millennials, and their successors, #GenZ.

  1. Teaching’ is out, ‘Facilitating Learning’ and ‘Evaluation’ are in Multimodal, multimedia, project, and application-based, collaborative learning is in. The raw knowledge, or “syllabus”, will already have been self-acquired by the student as directed, based on suggested sources. Classrooms will exist only to reconnect, clarify, simulate, test, validate, debate, contextualize, and mind-map the students’ self-acquired knowledge. Teachers who have industry, trade, or entrepreneurship experience, and/or are doing “live projects, industry internships, and secondments, standalone or collaborative research or research application projects” will rapidly phase out teachers who previously survived year after year teaching subject fundamentals. This is because these old-school subject teachers are by now almost completely replaceable by MOOCs. 
  2. Explaining, defining, showing, and proving are out, ‘Learnt Application Demonstration’ (#LAD) is in: Traditionally, students have always expected teachers to introduce, explain, clarify, define, and enumerate “the facts”. Therefore, the commonly held view was that the primary role of a teacher is simply the dissemination of characteristics, assumptions, exceptions, phenomena, theories, doctrines, facts, concepts, etc. All of this is now readily available through recorded lectures, online practice and evaluation sessions, demonstrative interactive videos, simulations, E-textbooks, etc. The most sought-after skill of a Teacher is now to be able to evaluate, influence, upgrade, sharpen, and polish what the student has already learned. This will truly empower the student to: 
    • Understand, Contextualize, conceptualize, Visualize, put in perspective Apply. 
    • Demonstrate, present. 
    • Interpret research, present analysis, and insights. 
    • Articulate the learned experience knowledge base. 
These are much more impressive and sought-after skills in job markets worldwide. It is equally necessary to develop the associated skills in teachers and the education ecosystem for converting the entire pedagogy of teaching into such a system that evaluates the above abilities constantly, dynamically, and collaboratively.

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  1. Teaching methods, pedagogy is out, #DCDT&LP is in The VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) ridden world has been somewhat tamed by AI, IOT Algorithms. It is being managed through dynamic connectivity, self-learning, and or autonomous systems. The teaching methods which at best could only ‘showcased the reality check’ are insufficient to deal with it and are out. What is in is #DCDT&LP i.e., to create a higher education ecosystem which is built on the components of Dynamism, Complexity, Diversity, Technologies, and operates through Learning Platforms, with built-in evaluation and certification criteria and milestones. A huge effort is required to build a real-world simulation of various dimensions of complexity, diversity, the cluster of technologies riding on top of systems and their dynamic interrelations on platforms that can facilitate learning through ‘Gaming and augmented and virtual reality.
  2. It is the soft and deployability skills stupid! – Overwhelming evidence is now available that soft or deployability skills are essential in addition to degrees that facilitate employability. Higher education systems must re-prioritize and up the effort, it is putting in the development of these skills. There is overwhelming evidence that ‘breakthrough performance’ is now being more and more attributable to soft and deployability skills possessed by the employee as compared to academic performance. A similar case is there of entrepreneurship/start up and art and craft vectors where the correlation to academic performance during higher education is no longer a significant factor. EQ, Communication, Time and stress management, conflict management, critical thinking, Collaborative attitude, Decision making, Problem-solving, initiative, enthusiasm, passion, self-esteem and awareness, channelizing motivation/inspiration into affirmative action, Leadership and role modeling, creative innovation, and above all ‘#Learnbydoing’ (project-based internship) must now be top of the curriculum.

Higher Education for the first time is demanding to be ‘ahead of the industry’, to be futuristic, rather than ‘coming up to its expectations’