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Education 4.0 : A Myth or a Reality? (Part 1/3)

A lot is being said about Education 4.0, however, I haven’t found enough information out there that defines what this is, what it isn’t, and why you should actually care. But don’t worry, for sure you will have a very good idea on Education 4.0 by the end of this blog

To begin with, it is important to define a common base of what education is, as we will repeteadly use this term until the end of this article. Therefore, from now on we will attach to UNESCO’s definition of Education, which is: the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development.

However, the interesting side of education is that it is a process that goes as far as humankind has memory. It might seem logical, but education began in prehistory, as adults trained the young in the knowledge and skills deemed necessary in their society. In pre-literate societies, this was achieved orally and through imitation. Story-telling passed knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to the next. As cultures began to extend their knowledge beyond skills that could be readily learned through imitation, formal education developed. In fact, Schools existed in Egypt at the time of the Middle Kingdom, which is sometime around the year 2,000 BC.

Nevertheless, even if the world has had schools for the past four thousand years, during this time we have adopted different educational models, each one dictating the best way to transfer information between students and teachers according to the culture, technology and societal needs from each era. Amongst the different educational models, we can describe the following 4:

Education 1.0

This educational model is teacher-oriented, as teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress. Students in this system would sit in rows and be taught in masses. The students would learn passively by sitting in their desks and listening to the teacher. They may have activities and group work, but the results of those activities rarely contribute back to the teacher or any information resources used during learning.

Education 2.0

Thanks to the technological advances of Web 2.0, humankind had the opportunity to discover new ways to bond new relationships and transfer knowledge between individuals and businesses. Digital Tools such as Skype, MSN Messenger, Blogs, Wikipedia and the first social networks, helped people engage direct conversations in new ways, where information is transfered for the first time in two ways, from teachers to students, but there is also peer-to-peer feedback and even mentoring. Think about Wikipedia, which has become a source of information where anyone around the globe can comment, suggest or modify its content in real-time as new discoveries shape our world. Therefore, Education 2.0 is an educational model that allowed more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content creator/expert. This was done thanks to cooperative learning, global learning projects, Skype in the classroom, and shared blogs and other social networking in the classroom.

Education 3.0

This educational model is characterized by rich, cross-institutional, cross-cultural educational opportunities. Imagine teaching advanced maths, although numbers are universal, the way this subject is taught changes from school to school and from country to country. Meaning that, through educational diversity we have the chance to improve the teaching methodology and enrich the content we deliver. Moreover, in Education 3.0 learners play a key role, as it depends on them to choose what they can learn by themselves, as there are a lot of different topics to learn which are readily available in the world wide web. In this educational model, students can choose to learn whatever they want or need in an interest-based learning process where problem-solving and creativity drive education.

Education 4.0

Finally, Education 4.0 embraces fiercefully technological innovation in order to find more efficient ways to transfer knowledge between individuals. However, for the first time in the existence of education, we are focusing in the development of students’ skills during the learning process. If there is something we learned through the past global health crisis, current Education 3.0 is efficient to teach theory to students. However, this educational model is no longer acceptable as students don’t develop their skills, which makes them uncapable to meet the requirements of labor competencies from the evergrowing labor market. Therefore, Education 4.0 is all about using technology to allow students to practice what they have learned, to use their knowledge in simulated scenarios that are similar to what they will encouter once they have finished school. In this way, students will be able to develop their skills and society will finally be able to count on a workforce that, in addition to fulfilling its basic roles, is proactive, resourceful and creative.

Now that you know more about the different educational models that have shaped knowledge transfer in the past centuries, we can better define what Education 4.0 is and what we can expect from it. Please, click on the button below to read the second part of this blog article.