Did you know that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping today, and the future of learning is just one powerful aspect of this massive Revolution?
Historically, the First Industrial Revolution used water and steam to power and mechanize production.
The Second used electric power for mass production.
The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.
Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the third, and fusing technologies that blur the lines between digital, physical and biological arenas.
This era is going to be defined by some things you might already be familiar with.
For starters, artificial intelligence or AI, with computers carrying out some of the intelligent tasks that humans can, like speech recognition and visual perception, will become more common.
Big Data, massive datasets which enable analysts to see overarching patterns and trends about anything and everything, will continue to play a bigger role.
The Internet of Things (IoT) referring to increased interconnectivity of machines and humans similar to The Jetsons world and its symbiosis of people and technology, is gradually becoming a reality.
Where Does Education Fit into Industry 4.0?
For starters, the pace at which new knowledge arises is faster than we can keep up.
To put this into perspective, let’s mull over the fact that in 2013 alone, we generated more data than all of history before this combined.
Since then, the volume of information has only multiplied, and knowledge doubles every 6 months.
Plus, technologies change every single day.
Lifelong Learning – What You Learn Today May be Outdated Tomorrow
This means that when it comes to specializing in any field, the relevance of what you learn has a shorter lifespan.
Continuous, life-long learning is necessary to keep up with the constant evolution of the world around us.
Industry 4.0 is driving job creation, and in some cases, job replacement, with one estimate predicting 60% of all jobs, could become at least a third automated.
Education 4.0 must, therefore, focus on equipping the current and future workforce with skills to keep up and evolve along with the workplace.
What is Education 4.0?
Before we get into the future of learning, let’s talk about what Education 4.0 is.
Education 1.0 was classroom-based – technology wasn’t used in class.
Learning was top-down – someone at the top decided what everyone was going to study.
Employment opportunities were defined by the parallel Industry 1.0 – mostly in factories.
Education 2.0 was more socially constructed, based on what society felt was necessary for learning.
Technology was still used cautiously, and employment challenges involved bridging from production skills to knowledge-based industries.
Education 3.0, which you might be familiar with, used technology more universally.
Graduates could enter the workplace as co-workers or as even business owners themselves.
Learning occurred not just in classrooms through teachers, but remotely and through peers also.
It’s learning that aligns to the fourth industrial revolution as we transition into the era of smart tech. It includes AI (artificial intelligence) and more connectivity than you can imagine.
The workplace of today is constantly changing, and will continue to do so in the future.
And Education 4.0 will be defined by teaching students not what to study, but how to learn and how to adapt to the rapidly-changing technological ecosystem we are approaching.
So how exactly will the future of learning look?
Let’s take a look at the changes already in motion.
Education 4.0. 6 Ways the Future of Learning Will Be Different
1) Accelerated Remote Learning
Remote learning is already a big thing, with millions signing up for online courses and seminars.
This trend is going to dominate learning even more as education becomes even more accessible anywhere and at any time.
Considering how quickly we generate, update, and rectify information, even professionals have to keep up to date with new knowledge continuously.
This means more significant development of e-learning techniques and tools.
Such tools benefit learners who might otherwise experience constraints like geography and language.
You don’t have to physically attend a class to learn.
This flexibility teaches learners essential organizational and time management skills necessary in the dynamic workplace of today.
With freelancing on the rise, adapting to this flexibility improves your adaptability to remote workplace practices of Industry 4.0, too.
2) Greater Personalized Learning
Industry 4.0 has brought about far greater connectivity and Big Data.
In the context of learning, it means teachers can now tell at a glance how each one of their students is doing through analytics.
Technology makes one-to-one attention you can’t get in big classrooms with hundreds of students more feasible.
Analytics systems can sort at a glance which students could handle a greater difficulty of tasks, and which are struggling.
Data patterns can show the areas students show the most promise and others where they need to work on more.
Personalized learning systems adjust to each student’s pace and style of learning since not everyone learns the same way.
Teachers can optimize learning strategies to suit students on an individual basis.
In the traditional classroom, this is far more difficult to achieve.
Teachers can’t stop the lesson until every single student has mastered a concept or topic.
Technology, on the other hand, allows students to adjust learning to their own pace and strengths.
There are hundreds of personalized learning programs available today.
For example, my grandson uses something called Dream Box Learning and speeds through math far above his grade level.
This allows him to accelerate his learning based on his understanding, and he can’t proceed till he masters the previous concepts.
All this information about his progress is in a profile inside this wonderful program!
Even Facebook has funded some Personalized Learning programs to help schools implement learning that is related to the real world and to student interests.
The results have been remarkable!
3) Hands-On and Project Based Learning
Learning from textbooks can’t keep up with the speed at which Industry 4.0 and the workplace is evolving.
One of the best ways of learning is through direct experience.
Schools and universities are beginning to put greater emphasis on project-based learning and field experience.
By learning through experience, students and learners of all ages pick up soft skills like problem-solving and social skills necessary in today’s workforce.
As we keep emphasizing, adaptability is vital in the fast-changing environment brought about by the fourth industrial revolution.
Educational institutions are beginning to structure their curriculum to involve more hands-on learning to help students adapt better.
4) Exams and Assessments are Going to Change
Learning from a fixed curriculum which you might not apply anywhere outside the classroom will phase out in the future of learning.
We need more emphasis on the learning strategies students can use to keep polishing up their soft skills.
This ties back to our previous point about more hands-on learning.
Picking up core skills like knowing how to work in a team, balancing your workload and time, and knowing how to learn faster will weigh more than memorizing text.
5) Faster Learning
As information evolves faster, the future of learning involves faster learning to keep up.
Neuroscience has shed a lot of fascinating insight into how our brain works, and how we can capitalize on this for learning.
We know now more than ever before how the brain formulates long-term memory and how the brain can continue to learn into our old age.
It’s all possible thanks to neuroplasticity.
This refers to the brain’s ability to form new neural connections as it interacts with the environment and new stimuli.
This means that the human brain has the potential to keep learning and growing consistently.
It’s perfectly suited to keep up with and adapt to the continual changes our learning and working environments are going through.
The future of learning thus involves educational institutions and individuals working on maximizing their learning potential.
The emphasis, now more than ever, is on learning how to learn more effectively.
6) Enhanced Educational Tools
The future of learning hinges on finding the right match of technology and teaching.
Already we are beginning to see many applications of educational technology in the classroom.
Many universities use Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) systems in classes and conduct some of their lessons through Blended Learning.
As we’ve mentioned previously, technology use and Big Data allow teachers to give individual attention to students in a way previously impossible in the traditional classroom.
Access is also hugely improved thanks to educational tools, allowing collaborative learning no matter where you are in the world.
Neuroscientists are also continually working on how we can enhance the brain’s functioning, which includes the use of technology.
A recent video in the Future You series shows just one example of this.
The host demonstrates how, by using transcranial Alternating-Current Stimulation (tACS) while you sleep, your memory of what you learned that day could improve.
Companies like Halo Neuroscience are also trying to optimize your learning by helping you utilize your brain’s neuroplasticity more effectively.
Future You features an episode where the host uses the transcranial direct-current stimulation (TDCS) headset to boost the neural connections forming as she learns vertical jumps.
Wearing the headset while practicing vertical jumps helped her jump 11% higher than her first attempt!
There’s still a long way to go before neuroscience technology has advanced enough to boost the formation of declarative (factual knowledge) and procedural (motor skills and actions) memory.
But the fact that technology can boost the capacity of your brain to learn and recall, even unconsciously, is a big deal for the future of learning.
One example is the opportunities for immersive technology in learning.
Virtual and augmented reality programs allow students to practically apply classroom concepts without physically needing, for example, to conduct surgery, or design a building.
How Do We Approach the Future of Learning?
Of course, just because technology has advanced does not mean that technology can replace face-to-face learning.
The future of learning necessitates finding the right balance between technology use and in-person learning.
Specialists suggest that the way forward involves remote learning for theoretical concepts and in-person education for practical skills.
Soft Skills Are Just as Essential as the Learning Strategies
The emphasis is on equipping individuals with the learning strategies and soft skills they need as we transition deeper into Industry 4.0.
Soft skills like effective communication, the ability to collaborate, manage time, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving etc. are all going valuable assets going into the future of learning.
Now that you know what the future of learning looks like, are you ready to become learning genius, with future based learning strategies available to you?
Remember, neuroscience has proven your potential to learn and improve throughout your life.
So why wait? Start in the present to prepare for the future of learning.
Pat Wyman is a learning expert, university instructor, best-selling author and the CEO of HowtoLearn.com. She invites you to take the free Learning Styles Quiz on the home page.
Her courses, Total Recall Learning™ for Students, Total Recall Learning for Professionals™, Total Recall Speed Reading™and Total Recall Memory™ have benefited over half a million learners with higher grades, increased productivity and the ability to know how to read faster, learn and remember anything.
She’s worked with people in such corporations as Microsoft, Raychem and Sandvine and has won several life-time achievement awards for her work. Pat is a mom, golden retriever lover and big time San Francisco Giants fan! Come on by if you’re ever at a Giant’s game and she’ll welcome you with open arms.