Concept and Need
In thinking about reimagining Higher Education, we need to start with a change in mindset on approach. By changing the paradigm from narrowing a student’s focus to broadening possible pathways to solving problems, we empower students and build the concepts of transferable skills rather than single focus pathways.
Have you heard of Jaime Casap? He is the Global Education Evangelist with Google.
His approach and many at Google is exactly this: Stop asking students what they want to be or major in and start asking 'What problem do you want to solve?' Then, help them find the pathway to getting the skills, training, classes and connections they need to do exactly that.
By utilizing a 'mixed method' approach, students can tap into resources both locally and online to develop a broader pathway and explore more ways to get to the career they want to achieve through higher education or even before.
Human connection is very important here as most students look at a very linear/direct approach to a career rather than examining the skills and knowledge needed to help them in their efforts in 'problem-solving' - identifying transferable skills. All learners, from pre-k to lifelong, normally need advisement or help in the protocol and access pathways and to knowing how to reach beyond the traditional to the innovative.
A problem students often encounter when they have a very narrow focus is that when things go awry, they run into a wall such as not being admitted to a program or needing to repeat a class, they don’t have any wiggle room in career options. An example might be the large number of people who end up working in a field or job not directly related to their academic training. By starting with a broader approach to finding a ‘passion point’ students are more ready to adjust and know they can still be part of the team impacting a ‘solution’.
A rising trend in medical or engineering schools is to view candidates with favor who think outside the box. For example: If you at looking for the best candidate for medical school to look at innovation and broad approach possibilities in the changing landscape of medicine, do you choose from the 400 applicants with biology degrees or maybe an equally qualified applicant from bio-engineering or even communication who can bring a new approach to resolving patient care and research.
This 'starting point' opens the higher education window to a multisource approach. Students have a societal contribution and a purpose in mind from the beginning. They are empowered to know they can be involved in the solution regardless of their background by tapping into their strengths.
This could be linked as well with Industry/Company-sponsored learning opportunities with students who are all working toward the same goals.