Higher Education in the Age of Information Explosion
I shared a YouTube video in my social media class today. It shows how fast technology and our knowledge evolve in this age. There are some seem-to-be-terrifying statistics related to higher education:
If you are an employer, what do you expect from a college graduate? If you are a student, how do you cope with information explosion? What do you expect to learn in class besides the subject itself?
- The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.
- We are currently preparing students for (future) jobs that don’t yet exist (today).
- Using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems --- we don’t even know (what) are (the) problems yet.
- For students starting a 4 year technical degree, this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
If that is the case, what is good about high education? What should be taught in college?
I believe that colleges and universities in general are the places to develop future leaders and that research institutes are designed to create new knowledge and innovative ideas. It is good that students can learn the latest technology and information. Accordingly, we should at least keep our students informed with the industry updates and trends even though we may not be able to constantly change textbooks.
Considering the fact that there is always “newer” information available, however, I argue that it would be more important to teach students the core values/principles as well as the transferable skills through the process of learning, such as leadership, problem-solving, critical and independent thinking, communication skills, and the ability of learning on one’s own. Hotel and restaurant operations, for example, jobs can be re-designed; organization can be re-structured. Yet, the philosophy of taking good care of employees and customers or running an efficient business has never changed.
In my social media class, we will for sure talk about Facebook’s and Twitter’s business implications. In my human resource management class, we will go over the legal issues, but who can guarantee that Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate the network or that the Congress will not pass new regulations?