The future students part 1

To succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, every college student must possess certain knowledge and skills based on an education system that promotes deeper learning NOT memorization. The foundation of deeper learning is the mastery of the basic academic content of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to develop skills in an interdisciplinary field that merging several key fields of study into a specific new field. (i.e., Biotechnology is a combination of Computer science and Biology. Data Science is a combination of Computer science and Statistics etc.)

Besides the technical knowledge, students must learn to be active participants in their education or active learners. As the education system is changing, the teaching method is changing, students will be asked to participate in a new and challenging curriculum that requires them to go further than what is taught in school and continue to explore and discover new knowledge on their own, and apply what they have learned to create their own knowledge. In another word, they must learn to be self-learner and lifelong learner in order to thrive in this fast-changing world.

Image: Internet

To prepare the “students of the future”, the following are the essential factors that they will need to thrive in this technology-driven job market:

  1. Master all basics academic content that is taught in school.
  2. Exploring, discovering and learning additional knowledge from other sources (i.e., MOOCs, Online tutorials, articles, research etc.)
  3. Develop the ability to think independently and critically to solve complex problems.
  4. Communicate effectively in a foreign language and know how to work collaboratively
  5. Know how to learn and continue to learn effectively (i.e. Be self-learner and lifelong learner)
  6. Develop ethical mindsets to guide their working and proper behaviors in society.

Students must have a career plan to guide them in their studying. Teachers must facilitate students learning by explaining the reason (WHY) they need to learn the materials because students will learn more when they understand that what they learn is valuable for their future. Students need to open their mind to a bigger picture of their learning because many fields in the future will not be an isolated field but a combination of several fields of study together. Students cannot be good only in one field of study (i.e.math, physics, chemistry, biology etc.) but they need to develop a deeper understanding where many fields that relate to one another are connected to solve complex problems.

In the near future, there will be many crossed-disciplines or integrated-fields of study that require students to have knowledge of multiple fields. For example, to study Artificial Intelligence, students need to have knowledge and skills in mathematics, Statistics, Computer science. To study Biotechnology, students need to have knowledge and skills in Biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics etc.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
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