Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – The Necessary Breakthrough in Mindset and Culture of the Engineering Profession

Version 1 : Received: 22 July 2021 / Approved: 23 July 2021 / Online: 23 July 2021 (10:50:42 CEST)

How to cite: Bühler, M.M.; Nübel, K.; Jelinek, T. Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – The Necessary Breakthrough in Mindset and Culture of the Engineering Profession. Preprints 2021, 2021070537 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0537.v1). Bühler, M.M.; Nübel, K.; Jelinek, T. Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – The Necessary Breakthrough in Mindset and Culture of the Engineering Profession. Preprints 2021, 2021070537 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0537.v1).

Abstract

We are calling for a paradigm shift in engineering education. In times of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“4IR”), a myriad of potential changes is affecting all industrial sectors leading to increased ambiguity that makes it impossible to predict what lies ahead of us. Thus, incremental culture change in education is not an option any more. The vast majority of engineering education and training systems, having remained mostly static and underinvested in for decades, are largely inadequate for the new 4IR labor markets. Some positive developments in changing the direction of the engineering education sector can be observed. Novel approaches of engineering education already deliver distinctive, student centered curricular experiences within an integrated and unified educational approach. We must educate engineering students for a future whose main characteristics are volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Talent and skills gaps across all industries are poised to grow in the years to come. The authors promote an engineering curriculum that combine timeless didactic tradition, such as Socratic inquiry, project-based learning and first-principles thinking with novel elements (e.g. student centered active and e-learning by focusing on the case study and apprenticeship pedagogical methods) as well as a refocused engineering skillset and knowledge. These capabilities reinforce engineering students’ perceptions of the world and the subsequent decisions they make. This 4IR engineering curriculum will prepare engineering students to become curious engineers and excellent communicators better navigating increasingly complex multistakeholder ecosystems.

Keywords

engineering education; Forth Industrial Revolution; 4IR; skills gap; future of work; e-learning; didactics

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