EDUCATION in today’s online world

While our planet may be revolving at the same speed, it’s hard not to get the impression that the world is accelerating. Technological progress means processes have become much more efficient and faster, with very few things remaining unchanged. Global competition drives performance constantly forward, and the young generation should be prepared for this.

In earlier times, it was common for people to finish school and then draw upon the education thus attained their entire life. That is no longer the case. The trend looking forward is entirely different and therefore education also needs to reflect this fact. In the past, it was enough to have one single profession, but the situation today indicates that over the course of their career, people will change profession more than ten times. This requires life-long learning, gaining and nurturing digital skills, and also an excellent knowledge of English.

Be prepared for the future

In order to be sufficiently prepared for a tempo which is going to continuously accelerate, one first of all needs to learn effective learning skills. This undoubtedly also involves adaptability skills, that is to say the art of adapting to new conditions and information – the current generation is the first one which will need to learn to unlearn the knowledge and skills they will have gained.

Another essential skill is knowledge of English. Globalisation is no longer a trend, but an integral component of our lives. This also closely relates to an ability to work as a team, and a team’s effectiveness will improve if individuals within it have emotional intelligence and communication skills.

Not a lot of emphasis is placed on critical thinking and media literacy in today’s education system, but without it, it is extremely difficult to traverse this world of information obesity. Having a grasp of the situation, being able to differentiate between fact and disinformation, and also being able to ask the right questions are all absolutely crucial. Similarly, one needs to remain aware of the growing influence of technology and the importance of artificial intelligence, which today affects the lives of the majority of (frequently unsuspecting) people on this planet.

Self-knowledge should also be mentioned. Knowing who we are, what we are good at and what in contrast we don’t excel at, is one of the requirements for success today. We gain new experience every day, and our personality is constantly developing. If you realise in time that education doesn’t end with school, and form a positive relationship to it, it will be much easier for you to keep pace with today’s world as it develops.

Education doesn’t end with gaining a qualification

Companies seeking new recruits are increasingly including life-long learning amongst their requirements, looking for flexible, creative and curious people to fill their vacancies. The public education system, which the majority of schools in the Czech Republic still operate under, unfortunately conforms to the time when you completed due education in your youth, after which you gained experience in a field which you stayed loyal to your entire life. Acquiring new knowledge and skills was unnecessary. But the global interconnectedness of today’s world has also led to global competition, and so life- long learning has become essential and a mantra for the future. We are going to have to get used to learning new things, continuously educating ourselves and progressing.

Only the most cutting-edge companies are focusing on the online learning phenomenon. Their employees often have the advantage that if they want to move to another position, they just need to complete the prescribed online courses in order to acquire the necessary knowledge. In contrast, traditional companies do not focus as much attention on online education, something that they may regret at a time when employees have to work from home. It’s true that working from home is only temporary, but even so employers should take on board the fact that this trend will become a common component of most occupations.

Shell undertook a survey in order to ascertain what companies had to do in order to remain in the global top five best ranked companies in their field. The survey revealed that the only long-term competitive advantage a company has is its ability to learn new things quickly. And this, of course, is a reflection of the ability to learn of the people it employs.

So the future belongs to companies who can get their employees into what is referred to as a “flow state”. This state allows people to make full use of their talents while also absorbing newly acquired knowledge and skills in an optimal manner. By being able to learn new things efficiently, organisations gain a huge competitive advantage. Even if a company is equipped with the latest technology, if its workers are unable to learn how to use it, then it will all come to nothing.

Life-long learning is something mostly discovered by university students who after finishing university find out in their new job that the education system hadn’t given them as much as they need, even though they had spent most of their life up to that point within it. As such, they look for resources so they can further their education and add to it what they actually need to know for their job.

They are interested not just in specific and practical information in terms of their position, but also opportunities for growth in personal development. People have a natural desire to progress and improve how they work in order to be better off. New life circumstances bring new challenges with them, and so they naturally seek information which they can use to progress their knowledge.

The online world and the new opportunities it offers

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a wealth of new experiences. The opportunity to learn online is undoubtedly one of the positive ones. One of the negative ones, however, is the unattractive way this is often implemented. Not even the latest technology can make up for the shortcomings which the centuries- old education system suffers from. A prerequisite for effectively implemented online education is technology thoughtfully connected to Comenius’s principle of School by Play. Repetition of material on camera is not enough; in order to hold attention teaching needs to incorporate a story and endeavour to get all students’ senses involved. This also requires experienced teachers who see in online learning the potential of something previously unexplored and who want to give their children and themselves the opportunity to gain insights into the field. High quality online learning facilitates a number of important aspects of student development. One of these is individual learning. Khan Academy, for example, which is one platform offering online learning, provides a number of different options for absorbing new information. Students can choose between the spoken word, text or the visual form, and so the teacher is able to adapt his or her course to meet the participant’s bespoke needs.

Advanced technology today allows for much better team work than in the past. Apps designed for conferences and seminars allow you to divide participants into a number of groups, who can then work undisturbed on their own tasks, later presenting the results of their co-operation. Neither needs language learning be boring: quite the opposite. Because you can connect online to almost any corner of the world, students can look at ways the subject is taught in a different country and culture. Today there are many platforms which allow such a connection. As well as freely accessible information on the internet, children can also make use of opportunities to contact their foreign friends and so encourage the establishment of international teams.

One of the undeniable advantages of online learning is being able to learn from the best through specific videos, recordings of talks, podcasts, documents and online courses. One alternative and high-quality form is provided by TED Talks, Masterclass, MOOC and others. The talks you can see there are given by professionals in their field, many of whom work as professors at renowned universities. In this regard, the online world represents a simple and accessible opportunity for enriching your knowledge. All you need to do is to make the decision, and then make it happen.

What next?

If this article has inspired you and you want to help your children discover their talents while also preparing them for their future life, then register for one of our courses now available in online form. Parents can use these to easily find out how to effectively raise children using the latest findings in positive psychology so that they are not just successful in their lives, but also happy. You can find more information at www.odemykanidetskehopotencialu.cz and www.janmuhlfeit.com.

By Jan Mühlfeit and Kateřina Novotná

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