What is worth learning?
……..In the age of intelligent machines:
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
To know more, send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724