I have written numerous articles over the last few months about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming multiple industries. Although education has changed very little in hundreds of years, the rise of EdTech is steering traditional learning away from a one-size-fits-all approach and towards personalized education experiences.
The higher-education sector has not been too affected by AI, or frankly by much tech, but this will quickly change. In truth, AI algorithms are already helping to deliver content that is personalized to the pace and style of each student. This might mean busting out of the classroom on a device and to a location of their choosing.
Currently, people of all ages switch from laptops, tablets, and smartphones seamlessly and pick up where they left off with services such as Netflix. Expectations have now evolved, and students will also expect a similar delivery method to meet their educational needs.
The introduction of smart classrooms and redesigned learning spaces is already transforming the classroom. Preparing students for an age where collaboration is one of the most critical skills to master in a digital age. Circular desks, computers, projectors, and whiteboards all go a long way to provide a more engaging and active learning environment.
This is not the beginning of the end for the traditional classroom and the teachers who inspire their students. Equally, there does not need to be a rigid choice between face-to-face or online learning. As with technology solutions across all industries, we are witnessing the evolution of education and the introduction of hybrid solutions that enable students to use the right tools at the right time.
The problem with the traditional approach to anything is that it limits our choices, and the days of a job for life are nothing but a distant memory. Rather than stubbornly sticking to a single path, people of all ages are arming themselves with a variety of skills that create new options and new routes to travel on in life. There is also an inconvenient truth that many kids are in an education system and studying for roles that do not even exist yet. As automation transforms almost every element of business, the first casualty will be the mundane, repetitive bureaucratic and administrative job roles. But this is not a bad thing.
The digital transformation is not just another buzzword; we are preparing to build a new digital world that will look very different from the one we know today. Sure, old roles and skills will be made redundant in the same way that our ancestors replaced horses with machines, but this is in the name of progress.
As machines take over the mechanical tasks, we are being set free to get back to what we do best: leveraging our human capabilities. Creativity, persuasion, strategy, social understanding, and empathy are just a few areas that future workforces need to focus on rather than spending three hours on a spreadsheet.
Graduates are currently leaving fulltime education equipped to handle admin work that computers can already perform quicker and better. We need to place emphasis on the importance of interpersonal skills and think about who will have the ability to define a company vision.
Who is going to develop, design, and create the solutions of tomorrow? There also needs to be a discussion around how we educate and bring everyone along for the ride and use technology to empower people rather than leave them on the scrapheap.
Although many headlines focus on how job roles will soon be disappearing, we should be talking about the short supply of talent and skills in the AI industry. There is an argument that the system has been to slow to adapt to the speed of technological change. But the time to prepare with skills fit for a digital age needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Nobody is suggesting that you need to become a techie or face an uncertain future in the job market. For example, as AI and machine learning begin to take over many clinical functions, the future will be much brighter for the physician who has the better “bedside manner” and is able to empathize with their patient.
Despite popular opinion, advances in technology will humanize future generations and force us to lean on our human skills rather than behave like a robot or be a slave to a device. They will also transform our learning processes and encourage a more collaborative workplace.
There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that we prepare future generations for a new era of job roles that don’t exist yet. But one thing is for sure, and that is a combination of the best of human and artificial intelligence will pave the way forward for a very different future.