Learning 321:

Learning 321: Education for the 3rd decade of the 21st Century:


I use the term Learning 321 to convey two ideas. The first is the last steps of   a countdown…..just before liftoff. This is a response to Anthony Seldon’s statement in his recent book “ The fourth education revolution” that there have been only 3 revolutions in education in the past 3 to 5 million years of human existence. The next one is ready to take off…..driven by Artificial Intelligence and allied technologies. And this revolution should be rightly shaped by educators : at School, College and University. 

We are entering what is often called the information, knowledge, creative or innovation economy. One of the characteristics of such an era is that the ‘frontiers of knowledge’ are expanding at an accelerating pace, and the only way to cope with this ‘future shock’ is the right approach to learning. 

Children who are studying at School today will be adults ready for further education or to face the world in the years from 2020 to 2030 and beyond. 

This is the 3rd decade of the 21st Century and is a very different world from the one experienced by their grandparents,parents and teachers. 

Their future is being shaped by two major forces: the 4th Industrial Age driven by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and allied technologies like the Internet of Things, Blockchain, 3D Printing, AR and VR, and the 4th education revolution which is disrupting the traditional education model, propelled by the same technologies.

This leads to two very important questions. The first is what should a child learn in School to prepare for an Age of intelligent assistants that can fetch any information and do low level cognitive tasks, and the consequential question as to how do we teach what should be taught. 

It is often said that change is the only thing that remains constant. But what we are experiencing is the rapid rate of the change itself. And it’s wider impact, across almost all fields of human endeavour. 

Trying to accurately predict the future is futile. Perhaps becoming intelligent enough to build a perfect future is too. We must develop foresight and ready ourselves  by being a pro-active self directed lifelong learner and defensively by building skills of critical thinking and discernment to prevent us from being swayed by misinformation. As John Holt has suggested, we need to develop the curiosity to want to know new things, and the ability to learn really well, anything that one sets out to learn. 

This is the true objective of a good education at the School stage: to prepare children to prosper, flourish and thrive in an unknown and rapidly changing future. 

We are at a turning point, for education, similar to what the IITs did during the 1960s. When the IITs were created in the country, in the 1960s there was a long and significant tradition of Engineering education from Guindy College of Engineering, Thomason College of engineering to Banaras Engineering College, but the IITs transformed engineering education fundamentally. There were many innovative features in the IIT system, and they benefitted from International partnerships with various countries, and several Institutions within those countries. 

The IITs were created in the 1960s and their graduates were future ready having been transformed from slide-rule wielding engineers to engineers who were computer ready and suited to flourishing in the coming 3rd Industrial Age, which in Prof Klaus Schwab’s timeline began in the 1970s. 

Now that we are in the 4th Industrial Age driven by Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies, its fruits need not be only for a few, but we have truly an ocean of opportunities for anyone with the grit, tenacity and perseverance to be a self-reliant learner. With data and tools accessible through the cloud almost anywhere through the Internet, learning is more democratised. World class education is truly in one’s hands today. 


The landscape of Learning 321 can be visualised as 5 zones:

  • Zone 1 : Learning Disrupted
  • Zone 2: Anticipating the future
  • Zone 3: Emerging Technologies in education
  • Zone 4: The Science of Learning
  • Zone 5: Artificial Intelligence in education 

Learning 321?

Zone 1: Learning Disrupted

1.1: Independent educators and Autonomous learners

1.2: Co-learning spaces ( physical and virtual)

1.3: Learning Communities and Braided Learning

1.4: Learning as a Service ( unbundling of educational services) 

1.5: Mobile Learning with MOOCs and OERs

Zone 2: Anticipating the future

2.1:The importance of anticipating the future

2.2:Developing Foresight

2.3:The world in 2030

2.4:The world in 2050

2.5: The Singularity

Zone 3: Emerging Technologies in education

3.1:Blockchains in education

3.2:Augmented Reality in education 

3.3:Virtual Reality in education 

3.4:Voice technologies in education

3.5: Wearables in education

Zone 4: The Science of Learning

4.1: Innovative pedagogies

4.2:Learning agility and learning power

4.3:Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining

4.4:What does neuroscience tell us?

4.5: Learning and the brain: Intelligence ?

Zone 5: Artificial Intelligence and education

5.1:Expectations from AI in transforming education 

5.2:How does AI help the educator

5.3:AI empowering the learner

5.4: Personalised Learning

5.5: Education in the age of Artificial General Intelligence


About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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2 Responses to Learning 321:

  1. jani reddy says:

    Very appropriate course to this present time.

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