Over the past 25 years, the global economy has been transformed from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. Higher education which, unlike K12 is highly impacted by this change, has yet however to make the necessary adjustments in educational content and learning methodologies to respond to this sea change.
The resulting misalignment of educational programs and workplace requirements and the requirements of the modern economy is creating friction among university constituents.
Three central principles guide our design of dotCampus in addressing the challenge of educating students for the knowledge economy.
Active Learning is the key to creating a greater focus on problem solving and communication abilities in university education. Active Learning promotes the active application of theoretical concepts and ideas. Students need and want to be able to hit the ground running when they start their first job. We’re packing dotCampus with features that allow instructors to increase the quantity and quality of Active Learning taking place both inside and outside the classroom. Surveys show that Active Learning increases student motivation.
One of the top attributes Japanese companies’ say they are looking for when hiring new graduates is autonomy: the ability to think and act independently. As industry in the developed world has changed from the mass production of consumer goods to a service economy where innovation, individuality and uniqueness are prized, this is to be expected. Autonomy, however, is not something that can easily be taught in the classroom; it’s more of an attitude that needs to be instilled and nurtured over a period of time. We have structured dotCampus to encourage student-centered learning to help educate autonomous individuals. In dotCampus, students do not exclusively respond to instructor prompts but have wide latitude to take charge of their own learning: interacting with other students, asking questions, commenting on content and lectures, and managing their progress in their portfolio.
Competencies are largely about transparency; about clarifying what students will really be learning. Transparency in turn sets the stage for educational improvements and insights.
The urgent task of aligning university learning with the skills needs of corporations and other organizations becomes manageable, and students gain valuable perceptions as to their real strengths and weaknesses. An added benefit is that instructors are able to have informed discussions about class dependencies within the curriculum.