The Future of Education

Lately there's been a lot of discussion about education, particularly about the future of E-Learning and its importance for the individual and organizational development. Some people debate that Universities still play a big part in the personal and corporate evolution, but we think the truth is slightly different. Even Universities try to apply E-Learning tools within its environment.

I spoke to Joep Lenglet, an E-Learning consultant and developer at Defacto Software to see what his thoughts about this are

Milda: Hey Joep, could you introduce yourself?

Joep: Good afternoon Milda.

I studied Educational Sciences at the University of Groningen, I got my masters degree last August. At that point I was also already working in the Academy of a hospital. I helped to set up the academy and make the strategic education guidelines. I’ve structured the E-Learning branch in the hospital and also created E-Learning content for our staff. Right now I am E-Learning consultant and developer at Defacto Software.

M: So, what made you decide to start this type of career?

J: Well, I started working with pedagogical sciences and from the start I was already drawn to education. I have always been very opinionated, and driven by the idea of innovation. During my student years I found that lots of subjects didn't prepare me for my future career, at that point of my life I knew that I want education to become more meaningful for everyones field of practice. That is how I got drawn to the E-Learning world.

M: It is nice to hear that you are very interested in the innovation of education. We're wondering how you imagine Education in 20 years, what might change?

J: I think that the main thing that will change will be our understanding. Having these big curriculums, and educational programmes, that are taking years to give you just little bit of knowledge and not preparing you for anything at all, will eventually dissappear. Instead of that we can already see the emerging MOOC’s and Online courses that everyone can easily access. People will be able to pick what is relevant for their personalities and goals. There might still be many bachelors that will give a very broad introduction to the field of study, but from that point everyone will make decision, and start enrolling in specific courses rather than an entire programme, building up their own resume, and getting small certificates rather than doing the whole course in the University.

M: Joep, could you name the biggest mistakes that Universities make, and can you explain why people are transfering to E-Learning rather than sticking to the traditional, conservative way of studying?

J: I don’t think that we nessecarily need to turn to E-Learning, I think that you can do it classroom-wise as well. Maybe the biggest mistake the Univeristies make is that they stick to the old fashioned model of education, in which you see that the University is the place to be to get the knowledge you need, whereas nowadays the education is one click away. Universities should become the institution for coaching and connecting students with relevant subjects, rather that stating that Universities just have everything figured out. They should assist people in learning instead of showing that it’s the only place where you can learn.

M: What do you think, the most important skill for the Future of Education is?

J: I think that the most important trait should be the ability to identify problems and useful information, rapid knowledge retrieval skills are paramount, as well as web searching skills. I don’t think having a lot of in-depth subject knowledge will make you a good employee. Education and working environment will be much more about how flexible you are to adapt to new situations.

M: The last question is about how people should prepare for the Future of Education, maybe you could share some tips with us?

J: I think that people already do a lot of the things I mentioned earlier. Young generation of employees are used to use Google, Wikipedia. What is more, we face the mentality change and people should realize that it is ok to ask, and it’s good to realize that you don’t know everything, and that times and problems are changing so we have to adapt. Every generation has its own way of learning because they are taught to do it in the different methods. We see lots of old business adapting to what is new. In my opinion, the younger generation is more enticed to innovate Education because they are used to learn new thing by themselves. The biggest advice for the Universities would be to let go of one rigid way of reaching the goal, and be very clear of setting the goals! Universities should play a role of facilitator and help to find the way to reach a goal rather than setting a path for people.

We want to thank Joep for his interesting thoughts about the Future of Education and the importance of E-Learning, and we hope that this interview will help to imagine how learning will look in 20 years.