Innovation in Education

The world around us changes at a rapid rate, the emergence of disruptive technologies seem to be the ever present reality. The replacement of our existing technology with newer, better models, functions, features and effectively leading us to replace what we hold in the perpetual chase for the newest.

Arguably and until recently innovation in the field of education has been relatively modest. Whilst teaching practices may have developed, the tools which support learning have remained relatively stable; participants are still going to workshops instructed by a single facilitator using a single-focused medium at the front of the room.

This posses the question; if the world is changing at such a rapid rate, why hasn’t education moved as quickly?

Well it’s a huge topic. Some answers lie in the fact that these practices still meet the fundamental needs of learning. People are still learning effectively using these methods. Other theories involve the fact that educators generally come from a generation prior to their learners- in which time they have acquired the technical knowledge and skills of their respective areas and their teaching practices are often based on how they themselves were taught.

Asking an educator whether the days of students coming to workshops are numbered is the same as asking a manager about the fate of face to face meetings. The truth is no one actually knows. History has taught us that the only constant through the ages is change. Yes things will look different, but what that actually looks like it’s hard to say.

My personal beliefs were that nothing would replace the physical workshop, largely as that’s what I had known education was: attending school, university and so on; the format was the same- sit and learn. But ask me in my time poor state to learn a new skill and I am straight on the internet to find a solution. For example if I’m working on a computer program like excel and I get stuck, my instinct is not to find and enrol in a course, it’s to find a fast answer to my problems. Most likely a YouTube video produced by a 13 year old explaining how easy this is to do.

I was recently asked to deliver at a conference; the 2016 International Vocation Education and Training Association Conference in Fiji, with the topic being innovation in education. During my research I uncovered a lot of fascinating things that are going on around us in the world of education that I and the attendees (educators representing 40 countries) had very little knowledge of. It’s a good watch if you have a few minutes.

Anyway I wanted to leave some room for comment; so let us know what innovations you have seen or used to improve educational practices. I would love to hear about it.

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