Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Classroom Education


Each industrial revolution created a system of education and a method of learning that suited its needs. Looking back in time, the first evidence of human labor was the creation of agrarian society, characterized by human muscle power, domesticated animals and water, and writing as a means of communication. Children from wealthy families went to school – mainly for religious education. The majority of the population was poor and uneducated.

From the start of the industrial revolution, more people started going to school because there was a need for more people with technical and manageable skills. The real expansion of education for all classes of people took place during the Second Industrial Revolution (2IR) when school education was an important part of life. During the period of the first industrial revolution (1775-1900), the technology of human and animal labor evolved into machines, such as the steam engine, textiles, metallurgy, puddling and rolling processes for making iron, etc. In schools, classes were small (20-30 students), and teachers used a blackboard.

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The exams were invented by an American businessman and philanthropist, Henry Fischel, at the end of the 19th century. The 2IR (1901-1960) was represented by innovations in communication, transportation, manufacturing, etc. A large number of people attended institutions of higher learning. Institutions of higher education during the 2IR period were coeducational and helped foster an increased role for women in industry and academia. Class sizes in schools increased (30 to 40 students) and teachers used blackboards as well as whiteboards. The Third Industrial Revolution (3IR), from 1961 to 2000, led to computerization, digitalization, and web-based interconnectivity. Classes were large (30 to 100 students) and teachers used transparencies and the Internet in addition to blackboards and whiteboards. However, all revolutions are characterized by centuries of experience with memorization, based on the interaction between teacher and student via dictation; it was a one-way process, with students being largely the consumers of information.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is characterized by the merging of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the increasing use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, and technology. ‘Internet of Things. A recent survey suggested that the most valuable skills in the future will be those that machines cannot yet easily replicate, such as creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability and collaboration. On the other hand, almost all fields have benefited from advances in artificial intelligence. However, this has not yet been included in the education system. Therefore, there is a need to reinvent 4RI education. As artificial intelligence grows in importance, future jobs will involve the ability to work with it, so subject-specific knowledge alone will not suffice. Prospective graduates should be intimately familiar with coding and technologies such as AI, robotics, and advanced analytics. Graduates must also learn soft skills in order to survive and thrive in the 4IR economy, which is characterized by constant change and disruption.

From the middle of the 3IR period, he brought teachers into an environment where access to information is free and immediate, where the emphasis is on active learning, which attaches great importance to collaboration between the different teams (Maur, 2009). Many of the responses to reform in science and engineering education have led to a greater emphasis on the arts and interpersonal skills embedded in an interdisciplinary curriculum. Educational researchers at the start of 4IR tried to place more emphasis on the learning paradigm instead of the traditional instruction paradigm.

Knowledge is primarily imparted through lectures in today’s teacher-centered teaching paradigm, and students are expected to learn simply by listening. This passive role of the student in the learning process promotes memorization rather than internalization of material and is therefore ineffective. If we understand how the brain processes information, we can see how inadequate the lecture-based teaching paradigm is. Sensory memory, working memory (short-term memory), and long-term memory are the three main functions of the information processing model. Working memory is responsible for a mechanism that temporarily stores information when triggered by sensory memory. The time limit for short-term memory is usually 10 seconds to one minute. It also includes a time frame for the process; it cannot process more than seven pieces of information at a time.

Information in short-term memory is also short-lived, disappearing after 10 to 60 seconds if not repeated. This short-term memory limit for retaining information affects the amount of information that working memory has access to for processing. When working memory receives a lot of information, it becomes overloaded and can process part of all the information in long-term memory. This is one of the reasons educators question the effectiveness of the formal teaching paradigm.

The learning paradigm was proposed as a solution by Barr and Tagg in 1995. The learning paradigm is based on the idea that to learn effectively, learners must themselves construct and reconstruct knowledge. Research reveals that it is impossible to teach if a student is unwilling or unable to do it themselves.

Teachers play the role of facilitator in this case. Only part of the class time is devoted to lectures and the rest of the time teachers work to create an interactive learning environment by allocating time for group discussions and question-and-answer sessions. The active participation of students in the learning process is the answer to effective learning. Encouraging group study, assigning hands-on projects, and taking on challenges are some of the ways to ensure active participation.

Bangladesh cannot ignore the changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution in order to achieve economic progress in the era of globalization. Universities must take responsibility for making the necessary changes in curriculum and teaching and learning to produce graduates capable of working with the 4IR. Based on the education changes, teachers should have four competencies: pedagogical competency, professional competency, social competency, and personal competency.

M. M. Shahidul Hassan is the Vice-Chancellor of East West University. Email: [email protected]


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