A 21st-century higher education: training for jobs of the future

Today’s Conversation published quite interesting article about higher education and skills for 21st-century jobs: A 21st-century higher education: training for jobs of the future, by Belinda Probert and Shirley Alexander

We posted our comment on it. Here is a copy of it

Thank you for this interesting article. I completely agree that the “challenges for tertiary education are significant” in this area, and particularly that “universities will need to give teaching and curriculum design a greater priority.” One of additional key challenges is that current pedagogies for “21st century jobs” often draw on a very limited understanding about knowledge, skills and other capabilities needed for innovation and flexible, skilful, future-oriented knowledge work. Teaching to innovate should be informed by much deeper understanding of how people learn to innovate.

Peter Goodyear and I have been researching this area for last 7-8 years, including our ARC project. Our findings generally show that much of skilfulness for innovation draws on capabilities that allow people to recognize and participate in different ways of knowing and (re)configure their knowledge/work environments in ways that allow them to see problems and possible solutions anew. This involves generic communication skills, critical thinking, etc., but it is a much more nuanced set of capabilities than this. These capabilities generally could be taught in higher education courses; and this could be done within specific disciplinary courses and across. The main challenge, however, is that the psychological and pedagogical foundations of the capabilities that underpin innovation and knowledge work are hugely unappreciated in curriculum design in Higher Education.

If you are interested, some our ideas are available on our Epistemic fluency website: http://epistemicfluency.com . More will be in the forthcoming book: Markauskaite, L., & Goodyear, P. (forthcoming). Epistemic fluency and professional education: innovation, knowledgeable action and actionable knowledge. Dordrecht: Springer. (Some extracts from the book are on the website http://epistemicfluency.com . See section “Book-Epistemic Fluency,” particularly Chapter 19).

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