Reshaping the Future of Education

Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley India Wiley is a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education,and professional practice in the fields of businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, offering scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and many more.

As in the most major developing nations of the world, India is currently facing a crisis of job ready and outcome-oriented education available to its vast pool of young generation, ready to step into the professional world. The subject of education is nuanced and in the twenty-first century, where technology is transforming the face of almost every industry, it is not surprising that it is playing a crucial role in changing the ways we are going to learn in the future.

In the fast-paced and rapidly transforming world of today, a university is not the only place where one can get this education. The expectation of the millennial generation is a clear indicator of how education systems need to evolve and the future of learning models in India need to adapt. The millennial generation expects an education that has the following key attributes:
• The access to education should be available anytime.
• It should be accessible anywhere.
• And the course or the learning process designed should be personalized.
• Education needs to be application oriented as much as practical.

These few characteristics should define the future of all education models, not just in India, but the world over. The existing models in the field of education are mostly archaic. A One Size Fits All such as traditional classroom learning is not the most effective learning process in today’s world. That’s because every student has their individual speed and rate of absorption and the expectation is education will be customized to each learner’s learning preference.
The pace of academic curriculum in the university and colleges are not always at par with the requirement of the industries. This has resulted in a huge pool of the population that possesses a college degree, but their skills lag far behind from what employers are expecting from them.

In the fast-paced world of today, one constantly needs to re-skill themselves, no matter in what field they are working

As of now, the ease of entry and exit into most of the colleges in India is not creating enough barriers for them to learn. Without any barrier or quality check on both ends, the college education is being rendered ineffective. The government can play a role in overcoming this challenge. Let us assume that at the exit stage we place a government controlled quality test. This test will regulate the efficacy of college education in any field. Through out the world, numerous verticals already employ this technique, such as programs for architects, lawyers, doctors, and so on.

Another challenge is the capability to unlearn and relearn. Once you graduate from a university program and start a job, it is frankly impossible to keep going back for reskilling. In the fast-paced world of today, one constantly needs to reskill them selves, no matter in what field they are working. It’s a continuous process to remain relevant in your professional life.

The questions we all now face are: How can we learn in such a situation? How can you learn while you work? How to make it as effective as possible? How can you learn anytime and any where?

The answer to all these questions defines future learning models. We need to look at learning from a unique perspective. In the new 'effective' learning models that we are envisioning, there are some key characteristics.

These are:
• Learning cannot be one way. It must be Bi-directional in nature.
• Learning cannot be in isolation. It must be Social.
• Learning cannot be based on the traditional assessments. It should be experiential, based on Projects and Simulations.

The Last characteristic is especially interesting, as the efficacy of traditional Assessments processes has always been in doubts. Assessments based on Multiple Choice Questionnaires are not a reliable validation of required skills. They can only be assessed using the ‘Learning by Doing’ approach. Assessments such as Projects, competitions, and Simulations help you realize if the learning process has been effective in re-skilling you.

We, today, stand at an inflection point. Every generation has had their own set of challenges to overcome. Be it independence, war, or globalization - we have overcome and adapted to every kind of change. The defining challenge of our time is learning, unlearning, and reskilling. As educators, it’s our job to bridge the gap between college graduates and industry ready individuals and do this effectively and nimbly.