Info-tech

‘Tech is triggering mass revolution in education’

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 15, 2018

Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, EkStep, and Non Executive Chairman, Infosys, at the Future of Learning Conference 2018 at IIM-B on Monday

“Today, 2.5 billion people have smartphones and they have options in terms of data, apps and capabilities. This has an impact on education too,” said Nandan Nilekani Chairman, EkStep, and Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys.

Inaugurating a three-day conference on ‘The Future of Learning’ here on Monday, hosted by IIM-B in collaboration with IIT-Bombay, Nilekani said: “Digital unbundling leads every sector, including education, to go from mega to micro and creates new ways to mix and match.”

The Future of Learning Conference is the first in the series of annual conferences alternating between IIM-Bangalore and IIT-Bombay for the next three years. In his presentation, ‘Micro is the New Mega’, Nilekani focused on how to learn in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

We are seeing the third mass revolution in education, he said, triggered and powered by new-age platforms. Data is the “new soil”, he added. He spoke of how unbundling to micro and the data avalanche will lead to more automation and millions of micro work packets, and rise of second-generation platforms or the gig economy.

“In terms of the future of learning, this means we must re-imagine what will happen in terms of these mega trends because universities will become platforms that distribute the ability to teach and learn,” Nilekani said, adding that universities will become testing grounds for blended learning models.

The question and answer session following Nilekani’s address revolved around the forces that are driving the change in the education sector, such as increasing globalisation (fiercely competitive domestic and international student markets), greater global mobility (of academics, students and academic brands), an intensifying clamour for democratisation of knowledge and access, and the emergence of disruptive digital technologies that drive innovations and offer leapfrogging opportunities.



Problem-solving



“These developments have important implications for the universities of the future. Successful universities of the future will not be limited by physical spaces or contracts. University learning spaces will be built collaboratively by traditional educational institutions, non-academic subject experts, technopreneurs and investors and the focus will be on the distribution of the ability to solve problems,” Nilekani responded.

In his opening remarks, Prof Deepak B Phatak from IIT-Bombay, who is co-chair of FoL 2018, highlighted disruption in the education sector and spoke of the need to bring the different silos together and focus on creative disruption.

Earlier in the day, Professor PD Jose, co-chair of FoL 2018 and Faculty in the Strategy area at IIM-B, said: “The education sector is set for a major makeover. The 20the century model, characterised by intense faculty-student interactions in brick and mortar classrooms, is fast changing to one of need-based and asynchronous exchanges in a virtual space.”

He added that the conference will examine how to bridge the learning divide in the country and not let it go the way of digital divide.

Published on January 15, 2018

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