What is worth learning?…in the age of intelligent machines

What is worth learning? 

……..In the age of intelligent machines: 

The Backdrop: 

One of the most important questions that we face these days regarding education is—- what’s worth learning? What’s worth learning for the present times? What’s worth learning for the next decade? And the trouble is this very, very important question is really not asked nearly often enough. Discourse around education tends to be about the method. I think that we need to think in terms of educating for the unknown.

Up until now , most people were not confronted with this question because knowledge was accessible in very limited ways, according to social norms or legal requirements. Starting from the stories of Eklavya and Karna in the Indian tradition to Thomas Hardy’s  ‘Jude the Obscure’. Fast forward to present times when you can’t access an IIT education or a medical education unless you fulfil certain conditions, and some young people even commit suicide because they were not able to get admissions to the courses of their choice. 

Even nursery admissions are a very complex process with occasional judicial interventions and not simply a matter of choice. 

But there is another world taking shape that many persons including policy makers are not seeing. This is an example of the now famous ‘Gorilla in the room’ experiment carried out in 1999 by the Harvard psychologists Christopher Chablis and Daniel Simons. 

This is the world of MOOCs, educational Apps and chatbots that we fail to recognise as ways to learn almost anything. As Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University in his 2018 book “ The Fourth Education Revolution” says that today a person can learn almost anything that he or she really wants to learn. 

And the most visible proof is how this country learnt to use the mobile phone, and that too without a National Policy on how to use the mobile phone formulated by a committee of 10 over 4 years. And now that we have learnt how to use the mobile, the next step is to use the mobile to learn. 

This gives rise to a new and very important question : what is it that is worth learning? And as every person is unique, there cannot be the same answer for everyone. 

There is a delightful story of how Albert Einstein as a Professor at the Institute of Advance Study at Princeton University one day gave his students a final exam that was a year old. In fact, Einstein had given his students the exact same final exam the year before. His teaching assistant noticed the “error” and timidly made the famous physicist aware of his mistake. Einstein looked closer at the newly distributed sheet and answered: “You’re right, these are the same questions as last year – but the answers have changed.”

One question “ What is worth learning?”, now has a very different answer than it had in any of the earlier decades. This is the decade when according to IBM and other leaders, Quantum Computing would have moved out of research into the world of applications. 

The World Economic Forum has listed the top 10 most important Skills for 2020 and beyond. Jeanette Wing has drawn attention to learning Computational Thinking and Elon Musk has emphasised the criticality of First Principles. And there are lists of trending technologies. So the focus must shift to learning itself: mastery learning, self-learning and lifelong learning. This ne hour session has information about and links to various resources that will help you to be better prepared to prosper and flourish in the coming decade.

This one hour WhatsApp interaction responds to this fundamental question and  can be accessed through a mobile phone, independent of location, on an  evening of any 3rd Saturday of the month that suits you. The next batch for this course is on Saturday 20th  March 2021.

To register for this course :

First pay the fee of Rs 500/- by PayTM to MM Pant ( mobile number : 9810073724). 

Then send a Whatsapp message to MM Pant ( 9810073724) with the following information :

1: Name : First and Last

2: Mobile phone number linked to Whatsapp 

3: PayTM transaction number/ screenshot

4: Your brief profile ( optional)

If you would rather pay to a Bank through electronic transfer, then the required information is : 

Madan Mohan Pant, HDFC Bank, 

Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon 

A/c 26451000000301



To know more, send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724

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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