Equipping students for an automated world

New research from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), in partnership with Nesta, suggests that complex human traits like problem-solving and social skills will be the most sought-after in the future workplace, as these are the hardest to replicate in an automated world.

Rose Luckin and colleagues argue that giving children well-structured problems to solve together (collaborative problem solving), is an essential skill to learn in order to prepare them for the workplace of the future, and also reinforces knowledge and improves attainment. However, despite this, collaborative problem solving is rarely taught in schools. The report, Solved! Making the case for collaborative problem solving, suggests that the current education system is stifling such skills because it remains focused on memory and knowledge tasks, due mainly to the preference for individual assessment, concerns over behaviour management, and lack of training for teachers. It calls for policymakers, educators, and innovators to adapt to equip young people with the skills needed for the future and includes recommendations on how the education system can incorporate collaborative problem solving.

Source: Solved! Making the case for collaborative problem solving (March 2017), Nesta

The science of learning

A new resource from Deans for Impact aims to give guidance to anyone working in education who is interested in understanding the science of how learning takes place and what that means for how we teach. The intention is that the publication will evolve over time, and as well as being periodically revised by the authors, they also hope that teachers and others will provide additional evidence that they can include.

This first version summarises existing research from cognitive science around six key questions:
  1. How do pupils understand new ideas?
  2. How do pupils learn and retain new information?
  3. How do pupils solve problems?
  4. How does learning transfer to new situations?
  5. What motivates pupils to learn?
  6. What are some common misconceptions about how pupils think and learn?

The findings for each question are then divided into “cognitive principles” and “practical implications for the classroom.” In both cases, the original research is clearly referenced for anyone wishing to find out more.

Source: The Science of Learning (2015), Deans for Impact.

English teenagers do well at problem solving…

A new PISA study has been published, responding to the question of whether today’s 15-year-olds are acquiring the problem-solving skills needed in the 21st century. The study presents results from the PISA 2012 assessment of problem solving, which was administered on computer to about 85,000 teenagers in 44 countries and economies.

Singapore, Korea, and Japan top the performance table. However, England, which is often cited as “underperforming” in international tests, is 11th, with pupils performing significantly better in problem solving, on average, than pupils in other countries who show similar performance in mathematics, reading, and science.

In general boys outperformed girls in problem solving, and the study also found that the impact of socio-economic status on problem-solving performance is weaker than it is on performance in mathematics, reading, or science.

Source: PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving: Students’ skills in tackling real-life problems (Volume V) (2014), OECD.