Amidst all the talk of robots taking our jobs, the future of education is often assumed to be radically different - as though we'll need entirely different skills, and hence an entirely different educational system. But experienced educators suggest the system we have may serve us well in the future, if only we can tweak it a bit. That means the real question isn't why should we bother learning in the future but how can we best prepare ourselves for the unpredictable decades to come?
Learning to learn: teaching the necessary skill set
At the symposium, education experts agreed that the key change to the educational system of the future will be finding a way to make learning life-long. Vocational training is one way. Online courses are another. But a far more fundamental skill, one that’s vital to begin teaching now, is knowing how to learn. “When shaping our educational system, we have not to look for a particular outcome because the world will always be changing”, says Justin Lee, founding partner of the Walden International School in Ontario, Canada. “School needs to focus on creating priming life-long learners, where they stay excited about a topic because they learn it within a context.”
To cope with the challenges of the future, classes should get practical. “We should not just learn for our exams; we need to be able to reflect on situations,” says Rajeeb Dey, a Leader of Tomorrow who founded Learnerbly, a platform connecting employees to learning and development opportunities.
Putting students in real-life situations, where they have to resolve a problem, helps them not only learn from the interaction with one another but also make links between their courses. “We have to connect the subjects to make them relevant and engaging for the students,” Lee says. “Why do we stop wanting to learn certain subjects at some point? For me, it comes down to not understanding the purpose behind them and not grasping the concept.”