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
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
2.3: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