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Learning, education, and technological disruption

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

The world of education and learning is changing too slowly for a swiftly changing world of work, and major social change. Educators must be aware of this development.

The Brookings Institute has stated that one out of three jobs will be done by computers, robots, and smart machines by 2025.

65% of children in primary school today will work in jobs that are yet to be invented or brought into existence.
Social inequality caused by computer driven globalization is set to get worse. This is huge.

The era of the specialist and professional is coming to an end. The focus on present 4- 12 year olds should be on creativity, and understanding the processes of entrepreneurial learning.

Education today is at an inflection point: a time of huge change. Failure to recognize what is taking place is dangerous for both educators and pupils.

Technological change is taking place at the speed of light. The global economy is hyper connected.

Innovation cycles are accelerating and becoming shorter. The process of creative destruction- steep and disruptive technological change – has started with a vengeance.

This creative destruction is taking place across industries. At the center is digitization and advanced science. In fact, this creative destruction impacts societies and cultures leaving the uneducated and under educated behind.

Hence ‘white’ anger among working class whites in the USA and UK, who are seeing their communities socially and economically decimated by globalization driven by computers.

Severe culture change is here.

Anything mentally routine can be reduced to an algorithm. The tech savvy no longer stand in bank queues. Soon cars will be driverless. The technology exists for pilotless planes and captain-less ships. ID smart cards will one day mean cash becomes obsolete.

Manufacturing, basic and advanced, will be conducted by robots with human type features. Millions of jobs in services, from banking to accounting, and from legal to health, will be done by machines.

Consequently, a reorientation in education is critical. Rethinking, and new ways of doing things in learning will have to be explored.

The economies that perform can no longer focus on graduating learners who possess predetermined skills and existing knowledge.

Education can no longer be simply the transfer of fixed knowledge. Education has to be about discovery, innovation, creativity, and a new thinking, that brings about solutions, and a better and safer future for mankind.

Learning must adapt to rapid social and technological change. Education will have to pivot away from static predetermined learning, to innovating, within new and emerging fields.

Brookings Scholars have asserted that education can no longer adopt the traditional posture of simply preparing the learner for work. Why, because, the world of work is changing too quickly for the latest skills and knowhow to be quickly placed into any curriculum.

The learning reality is changing too fast for traditional education systems and traditional learning infrastructures.

Today’s workforce is global, digital, and increasingly self employed. Successful learning cultures will have to cultivate creativity. Learners will have to discover business opportunities and offer solutions in a very volatile environment.

Ultimately, rather than transferring a fixed body of learning and practices from experts to learners, educators must develop a learner’s capacity to explore and innovate for themselves in an ever changing and organic environment, and within the learners own natural parameters for learning .

The focus of educators must be to prepare the student to creatively adapt to lightning change.

Albert Einstein, the legendary scientist, stated once upon a time that education was training the mind to think, not just to learn facts. Now, more than ever, educators will be wise heeding the sage’s words.

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