Cisco’s Network Academy Keeps Up with The Digital Age

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Rapid technological advances and the digitization of the workplace are making it harder for workers to match their skill sets with the needs of employers. Worryingly, 90% of organisations currently have an IT skills shortage, while 75% of educators and students feel there is a gap in their ability to meet the skills needs of the IT workforce. The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school will find themselves in occupations that will not exist by 2020 and is estimated that there will be 1.5 million new digital jobs across the globe. Therefore, fueling educational innovation is critical and imperative for education to adapt quickly, as the demands for IT skills evolves.

Insights into how we learn are emerging, uncovering new approaches to education. Imagine a classroom that includes wireless technologies, remotely accessible switches and routers, collaboration tools to create an “intelligent” environment for the invention of real-world Internet of Things (IoT) products, services and experiences by students. Where creation takes place in different venues, such as the classroom during project-based learning, or from hackathons. Students model the networks they create in a simulator and prototype with cloud-based technology at home. Instructors are empowered with a customized learning management platform, while collaborating with peer instructors around the world. But why imagine, as all this is happening now!

There are three learning science concepts – distributed cognition (dCoG), the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and formative assessment – all of which emphasize how humans learn through activity. Distributed cognition (dCoG) describes how people, their environment and tools can be regarded as one cognitive system. Educators can view human learning through the lens of dCoG to design digitally enhanced learning experiences that facilitate the interaction of people (students, teachers, mentors), their environment (classrooms, workplace learning, informal settings) and tools (hands-on activities, simulators, games).

Cisco Networking Academy, a world-leading IT skills and career building program, applies dCog and learning to develop deeper, transferable problem-solving skills. Leveraging collaboration technology, students and teachers can interact face-to-face or virtually to create and test digital solutions. The learning environment is flexible and diverse, offering online classes rich with video and interactivity, in-person labs, and blended classroom experiences. The program uses tools to support learning, such as Cisco’s Packet Tracer (PT), an innovative network simulation and visualization tool that offers opportunities and applications for the teacher and learner. It’s free to anyone globally who registers and allows for student-directed, open-ended networking building and guided practice in designing, configuring, and troubleshooting networks.

The arrival of this Fourth Industrial Revolution – the digital age is transforming the way we work – and workers’ skills will need to keep pace with these changes. Experts believe that while learning has not changed vastly over time, the external factors affecting how we comprehend, retain and receive new material are constantly advancing. We need to leverage the best of what digitally enhanced and human-driven education offers to create learning experiences that keep pace with the digital skills demanded by the market.

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