IFIM – EFMD International Conclave on Learning Ecosystem held on 18-19 February 2020 engaged with the new challenges and ways to build the new-age learning ecosystems
In this fast-evolving world, traditional approaches to the learning ecosystem are becoming outdated. With the changing digital environment in a complex VUCA world, the need of the hour is to take a relook at the relevance of each of the components that create a whole learning experience. IFIM Business School and EFMD hosted an international conclave at Bangalore on 18 – 19 February 2020 to facilitate deliberations on how institutions can comprehend the challenges and build the new-age learning ecosystems. Senior academic leaders, industry captains and policy makers, who attended the conclave, deliberated on issues related to changing nature jobs amidst market disruptions, designing curricula in gig-economy jobs, embracing technology, enabling faculty and leadership.
New Markets, New Firms, New Job Roles
Technology-led disruption in markets and jobs is the essence of Industry 4.0. New firms, new roles and technology are leading to exponential, disruptive and interconnected models. In such scenario, high skills that receive high compensation and low skills with low compensation may continue to co-exist, however, the middle-level job roles may get collapsed. The middle-level roles in management are facing the most challenges by technology. Therefore, business school leadership needs to focus on technology, understand the emotional path of learners and develop essential skills like complex problem solving, managing uncertainty, and ability to continuously learn.
In the new age of digital business, Leader 4.0 needs to evolve and engage in collaboration, co-creation and collective work with employers at different levels and with different partners. Amidst rapid disruptions, assessing new technologies requires participatory culture. At the same time hierarchy needs to be eliminated with fewer layers of decision making to create agile organizations. Leaders will also need to support individual development on a one-on-one basis and create a sustainable coaching culture.
Acquiring ‘knack for learning’ and designing ‘liberal pathways’
One can learn from three main resources, namely a teacher, life and nature. Therefore, new-age learning ecosystems shall need to be inclusive in its approach and focus on multidisciplinarity, building a global mindset, focus on triple bottom line i.e., social, environmental and economic challenges and gender equality.
‘Education of the heart’ will be critical in a world of profound interconnectedness. Students need to develop relational competencies and be aware of the interconnection of self, others and the larger systems. Further, the curriculum should work towards developing the emotional capabilities rather along with cognitive capabilities. The spirit of experimentation cannot be promoted by punishing failures and giving away gold medals for success. The priority is to break free from the engineering model of management and move towards unscripted real–world challenges that concern us as human beings. To facilitate that we need creative, collaborative and empathetic experiments. Students cannot be taught to be creative if we give them standardized tests and curriculum.
Curriculum should focus on digital transformation. Asian Business School’s approach in terms of social purpose or contribution, spirituality, health, physical and mental wellbeing differentiate business schools in Industry 4.0. The 4 Ds characterizing Industry 4.0 are: Diversifying the Boardroom, Demographic Shift which focuses on the shrinking lifespan of Businesses, Democratization of the Industry, i.e., the ability of non-traditional players to enter traditional industries and Decarbonization.
The four essential skills which are key enablers for studying any discipline are writing and articulacy related skills, logic, mathematical and digital literacy skills. The curriculum should focus on the development of these skills to groom students to equip them with ability to continuously learn.
The faculty, who would be preparing gradates for new job roles, need to be ‘T–shaped’ for effective implementation of curriculum 4.0. The broad range of skills for the faculty to stay relevant for Industry 4.0 and curriculum 4.0 is to develop curiosity, comfort zone aversion, creativity, cutting edge research, cross–functional collaboration, communication, continuous learning, contributing to society etc. in addition to the core area of expertise and experience.
Faculty and Admin are the two sides of the same coin for curriculum 4.0. Also, appropriate admin 4.0 is essential for developing and nurturing Faculty 4.0 in terms of recruitment, retention, rewards, resources for teaching and research etc., that are aligned with Industry and curriculum 4.0 requirements.
Continuous employability will demand continuous learning. Human beings would evolve and adapt in the long run to such changes. Therefore, technology will be at the forefront of learning ecosystems. Technology has great use for resource sharing and even for personalized learning and AI will have its significance in digital libraries. The 3Is of learning, which include Interactive, Integrated, and Individualized learning in the digital age. Better engagement, better learning and better retention would be the outcome of the 3 Is of learning. The implication for educators would be that increasingly tablets would replace textbooks, bots and robots would assume the role of teaching assistants. Faculty would have to focus on curating knowledge and facilitate greater self-learning and participation. Digital technology will make learning more egalitarian through better affordability.
A consensus emerged during the deliberations that the onus of what must be taught and how it has to be taught will remain with humans and not artificial intelligence.
The full report can be accessed at https://www.ifimbschool.com/ifim-efmd/