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Unlearning and Relearning – Skill Trends for 2019

The prevailing trends in learning, according to Vikas Gupta,MD, Wiley India, currently exists in a state of monopoly by the institutes of higher education who have continued to follow the traditional method of learning in its pedagogical engagement with the students. While having served human civilization for a good part of its scholarly and intellectual history, there has arisen a need for change in the way things are taught as the existing way of doing so is unable to prevail against the challenges which today’s reality has helped to create. A disruption in skill has occurred, so to speak.

In its stead we have to arrive at a pedagogical solution where the issue of this skill disruption has been addressed by allowing provisions for unlearning and relearning. Unlearning and relearning refer to two aspects of knowledge formation that is related to the creation of new skills or the upgrade to pre-existing ones. In brief, unlearning is the process by which a person discards whatever they have come to know in both theory and practice by the sole virtue of it being proved demonstrably wrong or incorrect in the light of new conditions or evidence, whereby retaining such knowledge would render the person obsolete or make him prone to harm. Relearning is, on the other hand the process by which the person learns to imbibe and include the latest and best practices in their line of work in order to become efficient and more productive.

As industries began to embrace what many have come to dub as the fourth industrial revolution and as digitization and computing became more and more commonplace, it has become essential for many employees to reskill (that is, relearn) themselves so that they are able to work within the new framework of what is being dubbed as Industry 4.0.            I9ndeed, the very landscape for the relevant existence of a human workforce has changed and such a relevance would be continue to be challenged in the foreseeable future with the further development and consolidation of technology as an important component of almost every kind of professional employment. Indeed, this would continue the present trend of disruption and it would go on to further intensifying it to the extent that non-technical knowledge on the part of the employee would hinder the career advancement prospects of the individual and the growth of the company as a whole.

To combat this trend, it is therefore essential that alternative methods of imparting education consciously include provisions for the unlearning and relearning of concerned concepts so that the person is able to discard the old and weave in the new in their repository of relevant skills which would help them get a job at a time when there is a veritable dearth of skills in the job market that makes it highly difficult for a firm to hire a competent and qualified workforce. Such reskilling would be mutually beneficial for the individual and the company and  it would harmonize the relevance of a human workforce around the existence of technological progress and innovation.

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