• Dr Parag Diwan

Is Education 4.0 an imperative for the Success of the 4th Industrial Revolution?

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was publicly announced in Davos in 2016, various elements related to what makes this modern dimension has been ongoing for almost a decade. The term gained broad attention when German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Hanover Fair in 2011, outlined the advent of Industry 4.0 to make German manufacturing more competitive.

The emergence of Industry Revolution 4.0

Industry 1.0: (1784): Based on mechanical production equipment driven by water and steam power.

Industry 2.0: (1870): Based on mass production enabled by the division of labor and the use of electrical energy.

Industry 3.0 (1969): Based on the use of electronics and IT to further automate production.

Industry 4.0 (today): Based on the use of cyber-physical systems.

The explanation that the fourth industrial revolution is truly in effect today

is that today's breakthroughs have momentum and influence that is never before.

The new inventions and technologies have been increasingly powered by the advancement of fields such as Artificial Intelligence, robots, the Internet of topics, self-sufficient cars, biotechnology, nanotechnology, 3D printing, materials science, quantum computing, and energy storage. The effect of such breakthroughs is so fast that almost every industry is being affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Opportunities brought by Fourth Industry Revolution

Industry 4.0 can play a vital role in raising the global income levels and take our current stand of living to the next orbit. Technology has made it possible to make products and services that enable us to lead a better life. This will drive gains within the efficiency and productivity of our current lifestyle, leading to:

  • Increase in global income levels

  • Enhanced quality of life with higher-order technologies

  • Reduction in transportation and communication costs

  • Creation of new products and markets

  • Safer workplace as hazardous work is taken over by robots

  • Enhanced health services leading to longevity

Challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

On the contrary, one of the biggest challenges is that it could lead to even higher inequality, as emerging technologies take over labor-intensive jobs. But, then Economist Eric Brynjolfsson has famously said, “Technology has always been destroying jobs, and it has always been creating jobs.” Apart from this, other challenges could be:

  • Security issues of data and maintaining the privacy

  • Risk of greater inequality in labor markets

  • Decrease in real income of workers as machines take over

  • Displacement of workers by machines and artificial intelligence

  • The creation of higher-order human jobs is always a concern when automated technologies take over the day to day jobs

The Six Drivers of Change in the workplace brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industry Revolution with its opportunities and challenges will bring forth the new drivers of change in the workplace and organizations. These are summarized in the info-graphic below:

Graphic Source: http://www.top10onlinecolleges.org/work-skills-2020/

The Skills of Tomorrow needed in the 4IR world

With the drivers of change as enumerated above, the skill-set that would be required by the “jobs- of –the- future” would change rapidly. Some of these skills are specified in the following info-graph.

The argument here is if today's educating climate will contribute to the creation of those competencies which also fulfill our 'Z' generation' aspirations, which cut their teeth in the world of 4IR.

Aspirations of Gen Z

Gen Z is defined as teenagers ages between 13 to 19 currently. They are growing up in a time so revolutionized by technology that it hardly resembles that of their parents and grandparents. This is the generation that would be attending colleges in the coming years!!

Source: Generation Z: Teens, Tech, and What the Future Holds, author Shelly Kramer

In a recent survey conducted among this generation, three notable aspirations came out strongly; about 22% of them expressed a desire for relevant and meaningful education to equip them for jobs of the future; about 38% wanted strong growth early enough in their careers and another 32% wished most of their dreams to be fulfilled within 10 years of their entering the new age exciting career.

Changed Habits of Gen Z

We now come to issues of how the current Generation Z has changed from those of the earlier generations in terms of reading and learning habits. The table below summarizes these changes:

Need for Education 4.0 framework

One of the imperatives of the 4IR is human capital enhancements to be able to meet the knowledge and skills requirements. This, as we saw in the previous section, puts a demand on knowledge production and innovative applications of knowledge. Also, changes in reading and learning habits need that educationalists devise new pedagogical techniques. The rapid pace of emergence of Industry 4.0 requires that Education 4.0 also leapfrogs from the current Education 2.0 framework to Education 3.0/4.0.

Education 1.0: centuries of experience with memorization

Education 2.0: Internet-enabled learning

Education 3.0: Consuming & Producing knowledge

Education 4.0: Empowering education to produce innovation

Evolution of Education 4.0

Following tabular representation depicts the stages of evolution of education over the years. This construct shows how things have changed from education 1.0 to the emerging education 4.0 paradigm.

Source: Framework of John Moravec as adapted by Arthur M Harkins

5 I’s of Learning in Education 4.0

A learning framework is presented below which is aligned to the changed habit of Gen ‘Z’ and the need for an innovation producing education.

  1. IMBIBING: Internalizing basic concepts

  2. ITERATING: Practicing fundamental skills rigorously

  3. INTERPRETING: Taking facts from the study and applying them to different situations with adaptive alterations

  4. INTEREST: Developing enough curiosity about a subject to delve deep and create a further body of knowledge

  5. INNOVATING: Think differently and come up with original concepts and build innovative ideas, products, and services

Building the I’s in Education 4.0

Now, let us briefly dwell on how the various facets of the learning model will operate.

Imbibe— from different sources

  • Boredom sets in easily for today’s students, there need to infuse excitement from visual and aural inputs

  • Use multiple sources — the Internet is your best friend, films, experiences

  • Change source material year after year keeping the curriculum at the leading edge.

Iterate— through fun

  • Gamify tests — run them as competitions

  • Subject championships as teams, evaluated through the year

  • Redefine assignments — as challenges where more and more elements of knowledge can be synthesized.


  • Form student teams and give open-ended projects involving sports or other avenues. For example, while teaching Economics basics, let students do a project on valuation models for football or Kabaddi players.


  • Cover one part of a concept in class, get a group of students to deliver the remaining part. Different groups for each concept. This removes stage fright and makes them willing participants too.


  • Go cross-discipline. Groups of teachers amalgamate subjects to craft year-long projects with a presentation month.

Building an Undergraduate program in the context of E4.0 and 4IR

The graphic depicts various components to build an Undergraduate program in Education 4.0 Era.

Programs designed to produce Professional Triathletes who can excel in many dimensions that would be needed for the workforce of 4IR

  • The core of Business or Technology Discipline

  • Specializations for careers of tomorrow

  • Digital Marketing, Business Analytics, Machine Learning & AI, Internet-of-Things, Financial Technologies, etc.

  • Liberal Dose of Liberal Studies

  • A truly well-rounded personality building experience — courses on Literature, Performing & Visual Arts, Public Policy, Psychology, Sociology, Media, Design

• Learning by Doing

• Social Sector Internships, Study-Abroad Terms, Industry Engagement

Pedagogical Approach in the world of E4.0

From rote to rigor: Not remembering the right answers, it’s about figuring out the right questions

• It’s not about YOU: Emotional Intelligence supersedes individual brilliance. Learn in teams, grow as teams.

Creators shall inherit the Future: Schools and institutions must pledge NEVER to shoot down ideas. Foster creativity by open-ended questions that take greater time to evaluate but lead to true thinking and real innovations

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1. https://industry4magazine.com/the-beginners-guide-to-the-industry-4-0-f45b93a95649 author : Corné Duivenvoorden

2. https://www.strategy-business.com/article/10-Principles-for-Leading-the-Next-Industrial-Revolution: author Norbert Schwieters and Bob Moritz

3. http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/front/docs/sponsored/phoenix/future_work_skills_2020.pdf

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