Is education providing the skills of the future?


The most significant challenge of the time is to improve the educational outcomes to prepare students for the skills of the future. As our lives and workplaces are becoming smarter and smart machines taking over the rote tasks, there will be an increase in demand for the skills that only humans can do.

What are those skills and is our educational system currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that are not yet invented, to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet?

To deal with this problem, the need to explore new approaches to education becomes the most obvious solution. While the industry continues to transform itself to remain abreast of a rapidly shifting technological landscape, accelerated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the education sector conspicuously lags.

In a recent study encompassing 2,846 education professionals across 89 countries, conducted by, a US-based learning management system, researchers found that teachers and administrators are in overwhelming agreement that the future of learning should cultivate creativity, curiosity, and resilience.

However, one of the top three findings indicates that static instructional resources are still the norm. In other words, the most used instructional resources are static – or provide a non-interactive, one-way flow of information.

These findings tend to suggest that schools are merely digitizing traditional learning rather than looking at the efficacy of education. This system creates mostly dependent learners, reliant on teachers, discipline, and schooling to acquire new skills. Such a system isn’t necessarily cultivating self-starters, thirsty for knowledge with the ability to master their learning.

Hence experts tend to agree that the rally for new education approaches needs to drive innovative practice, supported by relevant technology – required to operate at both an infrastructure, pedagogical, domain and learner level.

Finding the right balance between technology and education is crucial. Journals and hands-on-learning are still beneficial ways of learning. Devices, teaching assistants, gamification programs, etc. should be used to enhance learning as a secondary feature.

When the education is digitized, there is a general tendency to spend more time using technology and less time learning.

No one can deny the fact that technology and usage of devices and internet have transformed our lives beyond what we could have ever have imagined, and it is evolving at a fast pace. At the same time, it is essential to understand the effect of handing over the devices to children in the classroom, without re-imagining the learning environment. The learning content and the learning method should be carefully crafted to enhance the learning and cognitive abilities of the child.

Educators need to find effective ways of using technology in classrooms where the latest pedagogical thinking can be applied to unlock the skillsets of the future. The curriculum designers should focus on the technological pedagogical content knowledge that can build effective learning outcomes.

The workplaces of tomorrow will need collaborators who can creatively solve problems. Lifelong learning will not be an option. Cognitive and “soft” or social skills, such as complex problem-solving, interpersonal and communication abilities, are taking on an even more significant role because they enable individuals to absorb knowledge more quickly, a skill vital for adapting to new opportunities.

That said, it then becomes apparent that the conventional content knowledge-based, a traditional model needs a paradigm shift to a student-centered learning where problem-solving requires creative and strategic thinking with a focus on personalized and experiential learning. Students should be given more control over what and how they learn to develop the metacognitive skills. The system should continuously help children how to think better and eventually build a generation that can thrive in a world where complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, emotional intelligence would be some of the top skills required.

Therefore, having access to educational solutions such as Alef (, the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-powered transformational technology-enabled education solution, will be metamorphic. Since Alef, and solutions like it, enable teachers to personalize lessons to suit the student’s learning needs, while also collecting detailed analytics on a students’ effort and progress.

Not only do such educational solutions free up teachers, giving them more time to focus on one-to-one and group sessions with students who are struggling; but they allow them the opportunity to track individual progress accurately.

Additionally, the personalization, gamification and micro-learning elements of the solutions like Alef enable students to absorb ideas and lessons into bite-sized information chunks, carefully interweaving skills, character, and knowledge across and within subjects.

It is such educational solutions that adopt AI to deliver a fundamentally reimagined learning journey for a yet unknowable future, which will continue to disrupt education, and stand a far higher chance of adequately equipping the next few generations with the necessary skills we already know are fundamental to the future.

At GESS Dubai 2018, Alef will be showcasing its unique edtech solution, powered by AI, which seeks to transform education by enabling teachers to personalize lessons to suit students’ learning needs, while also providing detailed analytics on their efforts and progress.

Geoffrey Alphonso, is the Acting CEO at Alef, the world’s first transformational education system powered by AI.