Change does not always happen overnight. It glides, slides, slips into place. Twenty years ago I taught at a Business School where already I drilled into my students the need to adapt to change, to be open to change, and above all, with the openness, to be prepared to be life-long learners.
Today, reflecting on the past and the future, I find myself still a learner, still believing in the need to adapt to change, to learn from open knowledge networks, to be a life-long learner. When I consider todays younger learners, whether at their initial stages of formal education or whether at higher education, my concerns related to knowledge remain the same – adaptation, innovation, creation.
The only certainty I have of the future is that it will be full of high tech change. Change which will demand the capacity of learners to innovate and adapt to their fast changing world. This means that future innovations will depend on the ability to learn – and not the cramming of facts and figures. Never before has there been so much content, and so much is easily accessible. It would be preposterous to claim that one can memorize it all – and to what effect? What would be the purpose, when at the click of a key anyone can access, cross-check information, and more – they can read, listen, see other perspectives.
The challenge today is not to teach learners how to connect, to share, to collaborate through digital media. They do that constantly, naturally, unthinkingly.
It is the managing of the learning process which is of more relevance. As a learner, I am regularly challenged with how to manage information; as an educator it is my responsibility to not only open learning possibilities with the digital tools which are available, when appropriate to context and needs, but to also prepare learners to become capable of managing their own learning.
Yes, there are skills which are not only characteristic of today – reading and synthesizing are not particularly “21st Century”. Nor is problem solving and learning how to collaborate. Nevertheless, searching for information, evaluating it, synthesizing and sharing it, creating further data which will in turn be shared, collaborating at a global scale – those are essential characteristics of today’s learning.
Today’s learning cannot only be contained to knowledge created in the past. Knowledge is being created every day. If one is to encourage critical thinking skills, if one is to foster autonomous learning skills, creativity, will necessarily be part of the process as well. Individuals have a multiplicity of talents. These talents need to be taken into account in educational landscapes if the appetite for learning, for innovation and creative problem solving are to be given to learners.
Passion for learning.
Passion for life.
What’s your passion?