Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Educational paradigm shift part 2: teaching emerging & ever-changing skills.

More universities are joining their efforts to meet the needs and financial demands of an increased content development in these online first learning space that has dawned in 2020. 

Some universities are sharing their future plans to inspire others, have a look at Stanford 2025 (thank you Frank Gielen for the link and the insights!). But as always with learning and teaching, it is the human factor that makes learning an inspiring success or a tedious process. One can clearly feel something is changing within education and training at large... but why do we hit a wall with our old school learning that pushes us to rethink learning overall?

What are some of the barriers for providing timely teaching?

Uncertainty concerning future skills is one of course, but these will be better addressed soon (look at the SkillCharge project where AI is enabled to screen CVs or job profiles for skills that are there and match them to emerging skills, while pointing to useful training to acquire those necessary skills). 

Keeping up with innovation. It takes time to build course content that integrates new innovations happening in industry, startups, a.o. To create an up to date course, teachers who are content experts need to collaborate with industry experts to know what is emerging in the sector and is part of the new realities within a sector. This means multi-actor learning needs to take place (= networking across disciplines and sectors), this also means such a collaboration needs to be set up (B2U, business to university collaborations). 

Use innovation reality, use data for modeling. Reality in itself is a challenge, with Big Data being integrated in many segments of society, it also means we can use this data to think forward and build anticipating models that can 'predict' or at least list a couple of future scenarios. A great person to follow and to see what can be done with forward thinking and future horizon exploration, is Bryan Alexander. He does a great remodelling excercise on where Higher Education is going.

Creating course content from scratch. One of the main barriers in creating content at a pace that reflects innovation, is the old school content creation. The most common time and cost consuming development of a course, is preparing class notes or content. It comprises of: writing the learning objectives, fixing pedagogical interactions based on the given content (e.g. discussion on a subject like ethics, to complement content that might be questionable or is a reaction to questionable processes - for instance the move to sustainable energy), creating ALL the content for a course, evaluating the course content as well as the course process. Creating course content demands time from the teacher, but also from media support and others, so this is an ideal element within the course development to adress and bring down costs. 

Same content behind multiple closed walls (breaking the university silo's) is another barrier. I wrote about this in my previous post. It is clear that if many universities build the same content, it is a non-working cost model, as all of us invest in human resources as well as in material development with the same results (well, given we all work at the same level of quality, but let's face it, offering basic quality is most of the time the most cost effective way to create anything. 

Where do we go next to address these bariers?

The way forward is to create or use teaching and learning approaches that work under these conditions: innovation, collaboration, using innovation to create new content... so in a next post (which I call part 3 addressing the current paradigm shift in education), I will list a couple of useful teaching and learning approaches that allow learners to prepare for future skills, while using the content and expertise that is only just emerging.

(picture source: http://etag.report/)

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