Digitisation has not arrived in knowledge transfer. Our schools teach as if we still had encyclopaedias as reference books
A regrettable fact – our schools and universities are outdated. They are analog and one-dimensional.
No trace of modern knowledge exchange
Digitisation has reached almost all occupational groups. Paradoxically, higher education is largely unaffected.
In classical school lessons, a single expert still passes on his or her specialist knowledge to the pupils. So-called “MOOCs” Massive Open Online Courses have not yet been able to establish themselves at our educational institutions. First attempts with it were disappointing. The courses did not fulfil the hopes placed in them.
Offers were not used – silos in the heads?
It was expected that the “MOOCs” would make access to educational institutions more democratic and easier. Apparently the offer was not designed in such a way that it could reach everyone. For it turned out that it was almost exclusively perceived by people who had already attended or were attending university.
Also, many universities were not willing to issue diplomas and certificates for people who took a free online course.
The many networked sites of the Internet have also produced a new model of thinking – “network thinking”
For a long time, knowledge was ordered and structured in a linear fashion. In our educational system, information is still organised from A to Z and divided into subject areas. Schools divide into subjects and universities into faculties.
But today we have a new kind of information source online with Wikipedia. The Internet represents not only a change from paper to screen.
Digitisation is changing the requirements for knowledge transfer
The digital revolution not only changes our access to information, but revolutionizes all life and work processes.
Our schools and universities are further characterized by exams and grades. This completely ignores the fact that knowledge does not get stuck by good grades, but by personal experience, such as working on joint projects.
The education of our country is lagging behind. The land of poets and thinkers has not arrived in the new age. Our education system is in the last century. In those days, when people still looked things up in the Brockhaus and learned them by heart alone at home.
Linear thinking is a thing of the past in almost all areas of our lives. Paradoxically, not in the way we (let) our children be educated.
Wikipedia shows us how
Here the former experts in the fields are replaced by authors who are enthusiastic about the respective topic and fill the pages with passion. This changes not only the authorship, but also the entire organization and handling of knowledge.
Networking instead of “silo thinking”
The old system consists of silos, of so-called “islands of knowledge” – of categories. Interdisciplinary considerations are unfortunately still the exception in education and research. But the new organization of knowledge is free! Silos dissolve in all areas of our lives.
This can be best described with the Wikipedia articles, which offer an incredible treasure of related knowledge through appropriate links.
Our education needs digital networking – “Network Thinking
Instead of the rigid form of knowledge structuring, a modern educational system like Wikipedia must function – with information that refers and references each other. Our current form of teaching leaves little room for creativity, exchange of knowledge and interactive work. No student will be prepared for today’s world of work in this way! Not even e-books have reached the classroom. Students are still dragging mountains of books around in their satchels.
How do you prepare for the working world 4.0?
Above all by rethinking from competition to cooperation! Notes promote a mutuality, not a community. But the digitalised working world of the 21st century is based on knowledge sharing, on community.
Loners are a discontinued model. Due to the competitive system in schools and the grading system, pupils and students are not prepared for the requirements of Work 4.0. They are being prepared for an outdated model of work. Teachers and professors also have to rethink – our educational system requires change and the breaking of old silos.
Scenarios for the future of (further) education
Last year, the Fraunhofer Academy presented a number of scenarios for the 2026 training program, which were developed as part of a foresight project.
Entirely in line with the demolition of silos and old categories, these should not be considered either as forecasts or in isolation. They are intended to stimulate discussion about the future of education and inspire personal ideas and networking. They themselves should be a stimulus for “network thinking”.
One scenario in this series is, for example, the “further education Netflix”, in which content is made available for retrieval on learning platforms. I like the idea very much, because you can pick up a broad mass of people with it – not only those who are already at the universities.
I would have been happy if I had had the internet to search for content during my studies. How many books I carried home from the library – only to find that they did not carry the contents I was looking for!
Schools and universities with flat hierarchies that focus on community, networking and knowledge exchange?
Once a utopia, which – with a little commitment and “network thinking” – can become reality today. Nice!