Irrelevant educational approach
Another school year has ended, yet no one is considering how irrelevant the educational approach is for the next generation. The world is changing rapidly, there is a demand today for professions that never existed, while others are becoming unnecessary. The skills needed in the employment market – for employees of all ranks, independent workers and company owners – have changed, and the education system is lingering around, failing to adapt itself to the new reality regarding content and information accessibility for the learners.
Shorter attention span and virtual communication skills
Consider the length of one learning hour, for instance. It was determined years ago according to the attention span then, which stood at 50 minutes. However, current studies show a decline in the learning generation’s attention span, which is as low as only 8 minutes. No wonder then that there is an overall diagnosis across all levels, as suffering from attention deficit disorder. The shift in the young generation’s consumption habits and content preferences, is ignored completely, alongside the needs of the new world to which the education system is supposed to prepare the students. We cannot change the nature of the generation, but only the nature of the conversation with them. The young generation lives in a digital, parallel world. Interpersonal communication takes place almost completely through virtual means – WhatsApp chats, Instagram and recorded voice messages, yet in the classroom they are expected to stare at a single teacher standing in front of them and talking.
A learning system that loses it’s effectiveness
Observing some of the interactive games that replaced outdoor activities, one can notice how a group of teenagers virtually gets together, each in their own home, connecting to a conference call and playing the same computer game together; fighting as a group against other groups of friends that are even oversees. And yet, most of the homework they do is handed in a clear plastic binder, as a printed document based on Wikipedia rather than professional literature. Searching content that interests them is usually done independently via the internet, In general they learn new things that interest only them, similar to how they consume TV and movie content – through the internet without commercials. As the old world loses its power, so does the effectiveness of the existing learning systems.
A hybrid educational model
Today students are required by law, at least up to a certain age, to physically sit in classrooms. However, if we want them to also listen and learn, the system must adopt new models, processes and educational methods that are taken from the digital virtual world. For a long time now, the discussion is no longer related to “for and against including tablets in the classroom”, but for adopting a hybrid model that combines the real physical world with the digital virtual world of the younger generation. There is a need to build lesson plans that are based on virtual reality, teach through gaming – also via the skills needed for these games and also in the way the educational material itself is presented; using digital communications as a central tool, similar to the model of virtual characters and so on. The digital train is traveling extremely fast, and to best assist the next generation’s integration with the new society, at least all compartments had better have WiFi.