This article is written by Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India
Throughout a past that threatened to disrupt our present, we believed in a notion of education that would always keep constant with the demands of the industry. We placed our trust upon the pillars that had constantly held our surge for evolution, intact. Yet, we doubt the results these pillars may fetch in the near future.
We adapted to a future where reskilling once or twice in an entire career was the promise of a successful career. But the demands of the future have soared at an unprecedented rate and as it seems, from here on education will always be behind industry in manners of growth and adoption. Once we believed that change would be ours to dictate but now, we find ourselves amidst a rapid transformation, that’s difficult for us to cope.
We are disrupted and yet unaware of it.
Drivers of Disruption
- Evolution of Education
The present landscape of education stands at a point where the inherent meanings of education and learning seem to overlap with each other. The functional phase of learning is seeping in the base process of education, only because mere education can no longer keep with our needs. As a consequence, colleges don’t stand as the focal source of education anymore. Even industries are aware of the faltering education system and are concerned by its gradual downfall. The reason why 73 percent of education leaders believe that traditional education models, which have been in place for centuries, are now being disrupted.
Education, as a singular identity, has also been a subject of vigorous change.
From a conceptual model of learning, it is transitioning into a much-awaited contextual model as the industry continues to raise its bars.
According to reports, 60 percent of global executives expect that employees will need new and different skills to be successful.
Presently, education acts out as a two-play act. But there is a visible disconnect between the industry and the academia in the present system. This prevailing disconnection has significantly capped the prospects of a job for a graduating student and its effects multiply manifolds for degrees such as engineering, which demands technical experience to succeed in the industry.
Besides, what education stands for does not seem to hold the same weight anymore. Its effects on the graphs of research and work are parameters upon which the quality of education is evaluated. An educated person, today, is an individual who not only holds a certain degree of proficiency in the conceptual landscape but contextual as well. The base idea of learning is now recognized as a subset of education, which is probably why we observed a massive 175 percent increase in the cost of education from 2008 to 2014. But since we chose to be ignorant about a change in the defining pillar of our growth, we are not prepared for this disruption.
Therefore, the biggest challenge we face is to bring together the conceptual and contextual learning methodologies. We need to step-up our pursuit towards reforming the way we learn and teach. Change, howsoever be gradual, needs to begin now. We can no longer pretend to be in sync with the consistency, because the longer we do, the more difficult it becomes to bring about a change.
- Demands of Evolution
The millennial generation has recognized the inadequacy of an already depleted education system to equip them for success. The research horizon is experiencing a lower spike in the growth curve. Moreover, the industry has realized that a traditional education system can no more hold up to its expectations. Expectedly, each of these fluctuations has left us in a state of constant desperation.
The present-day students don’t look for a mere degree anymore. They demand a promise of a job with the right tools to succeed in it. They want to evolve every day because everyone, everywhere else is just as competitive to acquire an edge over others. They have no option but to re-skill again and again if they hope to survive in a daunting future. The means at their disposal extend far beyond what a college can facilitate. Such a scenario has seen an incremental rise in the role of publishers, online programs, and bridge courses. Yet, a student may not be aware of what he needs to do for a successful future. The age of disruption has left them in a state of constant distress.
For research and work, the aftermaths of evolution have adopted a similar fashion of depletion. Core research is expected to come at a standstill in the near future because we are way behind what we need to evolve. For industries, these concerns engulf a major half of their future plans. Industries can no more survive without a proper plan to lend them able sources.
Everything is disintegrating and revamping again, because we chose to evolve beyond our reach. Agreed, that such a scenario was never on the cards but the question is, now that we’re here, what should we do? How do we cope with a wave of evolution that may just sweep our world away?
Gradual Shift From the Middlemen
Even though we still rely considerably on the ‘middlemen’ for our educational needs, the landscape is experiencing a shift to a point where the need for middlemen is not felt as strongly. But is it really possible to eliminate their entrenched role?
Rising fees numbers and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that a college is a good investment. Up until today, no bridge course has successfully been able to deliver upon the promise of a job. To amplify this situation, learning has become a zero-cost investment across multiple online channels.
The future may give us a better clue about the role of middlemen but as it seems, we’ve experienced a mild shift from our dependence on them. We seek ways to create a direct interface but we’re not yet accustomed to it. Clearly, as we learn and grow in the age of disruption, the need to be independent and direct will act as a major catalyst to its elevation.
The Emergence Of Bridge Courses
Tending to a lack in the demand and supply, the way we impart education has sought to shift platforms and find the best fit. To cope with the threat of being outdated, students constantly seek to complement their learning with either a bridge course or a parallel certification. What a college may not teach them, can easily be learned through a month-long bridge course. Therefore, Bridge courses have become an essential part of every student’s growth journey.
This drift, again, arises out of a need to cope up with evolution and acts as a major driver of disruption. These bridge courses offer an edge to their subjects over those who hope to survive through a future of uncertainties and probabilities.
The Inevitable Rise of Technology
Technology has, undoubtedly, been one of the primary drivers for Disruption. With a steep rise in the curvature of technological growth, we have created a parallax for ourselves. Whether we survive through a web of our making, is a question for the future. What concerns the world is how fast technology, especially online education, has taken over the scope of education.
- Presently, the online education market in India stands at USD 247 million.
- Reskilling and online certification courses account for a 38% of the market share in India
- The introduction of gamification to education has further given a boost to the scope of online learning.
Low costs and larger student bases have given the online channel a significant advantage over the offline models. They provide quality education to potential students and drive the age of disruption with an industry-relevant offering. In cohesion with the increasing rate of internet penetration, the scope of online education has engulfed every little aspect from test preparation programs to distance learning. Since the target population for such courses is well versed with smart technologies, the acceptability of online channels is also higher in the younger demographic.
Moreover, the role of technology has been quintessential in providing education across the rural areas, which gives us another reason to bank on its growth for a disruptive future.
Upon scrutinizing the aforementioned drivers of education, one can honestly state that none others plays a more significant role than technology. How it shall pan out for us, is a matter of proportions. The only certainty is one of change and as time unfolds before us, we face a choice – to either fall to the age of disruption or to transform it into an age of evolution.