In today’s fast changing, technologically driven global world where mobility is no longer an issue, people want to disrupt traditional methods of doing business by creating innovative business models and platforms which bring convenience of doing things from the home or the workplace. While it appears very relevant, it has the potential to irreversibly affect people in their habits, skills and employability. In the last decade, numerous traditional jobs have become redundant or obsolete due to the tech-enabled products and services. At the click of a few buttons, global transactions are enabled and executed.
The education system is known to lag practice by years, if not decades. Schools still teach using conventional pedagogies of classroom sessions, lectures, assignments and exams, all within the safe environment of the school and home premises. They impart knowledge across disciplines but fail to demonstrate its application or cross-functional implications. The teacher’s limitations in terms of qualifications and skills in a dynamic world compound the problem.
With easy access to the internet, oceans of knowledge and their applications are available in seconds, which make the classroom irrelevant. Consequently, the student motivation and willingness to learn from a traditional teacher becomes low. The student develops a mindset of following instructions and ends up in careers which require doing or managing a function, process or activity which does not require decision making.
Technology, internet, access to information or knowledge and the age of convenience have combined together to form a lethal combination of extinction for those who are unable to convert the information or knowledge to application. Yet, the same combination has provided a plethora of opportunities for those who are application oriented and can integrate cross-functional requirements. Some universities have graduated from pedagogy to andragogy which focuses on simulated learning in a protected environment of the campus wherein the teacher now becomes a coach with knowledge being accessed from the open source. Learning by active engagement in controlled activities like case studies, computer simulations and small product/software development become the tools of learning for the hitherto passive student. The student develops a mindset which is suitable for managing the operations of a growing organization.
|Mindset||Follow instructions||Manage things||Solve problems|
The dynamic world has also generated radical and disruptive innovations which transform the way the world conducts itself. In this scenario, the best form of learning is heutagogy which is learning by doing in the real world under the guidance of experienced facilitators. The student has the benefits of the university ecosystem but has to demonstrate performance in the real world outside the campus. This could be by undertaking live projects of companies, tackling social issues or running a company while being a student. This provides an opportunity for the student to create a new start-up or work with their own / family business.
The student learns from personal experience of doing things under expert guidance of mentors and facilitators from the industry and the university. The learning content is much more than designed with the absorption being very long lasting. Heutagogy typically does away with the conventional examination system and performance is measured by a rubric of practical criteria often evaluated by a panel which is a mix from within the university and outside. The student develops a mindset of being able to manage the entire organization, innovate and find solutions to pressing issues.