Do you think our education system could help our young people find or create job in future? Improving education environment is the main topic in many Forums and conferences on the Middle East and North Africa now. Good education system is the primary solution that helps in creating jobs in developing countries.

Figure – student from above. istockphoto, Lisa Klumpp, from http://www.samfundsfaget.dk/?id=481&L=0

When we talk about education, images such as this are used. It gives you the impression of the current situation of traditional education that we have now in different parts of the world. The image shows group of students in a lecture-based course who are sitting in in huge traditional hall in a university. When you look at image you can see that everyone is busy doing something else in classroom instead of focusing on the lecture. You can see two students talking to each other, one student is sleeping, other student concatenates on something in front of him, and others just are reading or writing.

This image tries to tell you that there is no real learning here. Real and successful learning cannot be achieved by just listening to lectures. How can students understand from lecture, take notes, and learn in the same time? Is it interesting for them to learn like this? What is the connection between what they are listening and real live?

This type of learning cannot help in creating jobs for our students. Learning is not just transferring of knowledge from teachers to students; it is more sharing of experience and knowledge. Activities are needed to engage students with each other, with education materials and learning tasks. Students need to perform activities and do some tasks that help them get real skills, which are very important for their future career, Traditional education does not help students prepare for future.

To learn (and be ready to get a job), you need to do some practices, make mistakes, and learn after that. Coyle in his book “Talent code” called this “deep practice”. Why our students are not practicing instead of memorizing information?

Implementing practices in education is not an easy job. For sure, classroom is not the tool that you can use to do this. Most schools and universities are built around subjects not around practices which lead to non-qualified students who do not have enough experience to deal with the real problems in their future career. However, there are some successful cases that we could learn from.

Dr. Roger C. Schank is one of the experts who successes in creating education system based on practice which prepare student to get jobs.. He came within an idea of using real story to teach students. Students play a key role in these stories (like project manager, IT director, developer…). These roles are what students will see in their real job. It aims to teach by creating simulated experience as what we see in the real world.

10 years ago, Dr. Roger had started implementing his concept for Carnegie Mellon University to build master program in software engineering. Classrooms have not been used there, just meeting rooms and students are participating in real projects with different roles. There was no teachers or instructors, just mentors to support and guide students. The program gave students a competitive advantage in their careers relative to their corporate peers since they are prepared for real job.

This is what we need. We need learning that is based on real deep practices. It is all around practicing sequence of activities with specific long term goal that teach students how to do something that hope to do in real life later. Students should focus on practicing not just getting information. Practice here is the heart of the learning process.

Learning that we need is not limited by the classroom. Sitting in a lecture hall and listen to instructor is not accepted as a core method of learning. Practice, practice, and practice is what learners need. Schools need to adopt new learning model in which students apply what they learn by solving real-life solutions that help them create and get jobs later. We need talented people who can develop and improve their communities. Learning by practice is the real learning.