Academia meets Industry

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Earlier this week, Nathan and I had the privilege of presenting this research project at JAMK’s Global Colloquium in Jyväskylä, Finland. The focus of the event was the challenge faced by higher education regarding how to deliver and support innovative learning solutions in environments characterized by changing technology, economic condition and globalization. It was great to dialogue around this important topic with faculty from France, England, Turkey, South Africa, USA, and of course, Finland.
I believe it is important to keep asking the ‘why’ behind all the research we undertake. When we get our heads around ‘why’, only then can we move forward with more ‘how’ type questions. In a previous blog, ‘Remote Workers-what makes you great’ I touched on the ‘why’ behind this remote research… but what might the ‘how’ questions be? What design thinking type questions will open new doors of possibilities once the research findings have been gathered and analyzed?
As we posed these questions to the colloquium attendees…wonderful ideas began to emerge!

  • How might we deliver learning in innovative spaces such as we do with trades and technology?
  • How might we help students experience the life of a remote worker?
  • How might we prepare our students for the global impact of work?
  • How might we design our curriculum in such a way as to prepare for the competencies or ‘soft skills’ needed by our students to be successful in this context?
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Innovative classroom at JAMK’s Tiimiakatemia

The exciting thing is that as educators:

  • We have direct access to the workers of the future…we owe it to them to provide insights as to what they need to be successful (opportunity)
  • We are charged with preparing these young minds (responsibility)
  • We have the ability to reframe education in a way that reflects industry (ability), and,
  • Our students need to know how they can thrive in an every changing world (compulsion)

In an ever changing world, we may not be able to prepare students for the specifics of the jobs they will do, so perhaps we need to focus more on the nature of how the work will get done. I suggest this kind of rethinking around how we prepare students must be done in collaboration with industry, with the experts, with remote workers and those who fully support remote work. Which circles right back to the research regarding what are the keys to success for remote workers, and in what ways do they need to receive feedback and support.

Next blog…what we’ve learned so far from interviews with remote workers in Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver and Helsinki.

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