This year we are about to celebrate the completion of 15 years of producing highly skilled design graduates. In the past 15 years, we prepped and guided all kinds of students, coming from different walks of life. With a solid cross-sectional insight into the problems faced by students while studying design and combining that with the future of the design industry, we designed a course that solves one of the most pressing matters of this generation and the ones we can foresee for the consequent ones as well.
Let’s take a deeper look into some of these problems to better understand the impending doom in the education sector of India.
- By now, it’s a known fact that young adults these days have an attention span of a goldfish, the entire social media culture has ensured that. And with the rapid advancement of technology, the youth is continuously exposed to witch-crafts of the generation, like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence. However, majority of the education in India still remains within the confines of a classroom. No matter how much we want to blame the “millennial” for their growing disinterest in education, we cannot hide from the simple truth that the methodologies we follow are rather outdated. We cannot expect these highly exposed technologically advanced generation to sit through an hour of just verbal lecture, especially with their much shorter attention spans, when they can be out there doing something much cooler. It becomes the responsibility of the education providers to create a system that inspires a student to learn. Instead we are depending on an education system that banks on the teaching methodologies of decades ago for a generation that doesn’t want to stop moving. The growing disinterest among students simply brings to light the insufficiency of the classroom teaching method.
- Students of today like to spend most of their time over digital experiences, be it involvement in mobile phones, television, computers or some of the more fortunate even have VR goggles at their perusal. Infact, it would be wrong to say that this is just the case with youngsters, because aren’t we all increasingly being pulled into the digital world? Quite honestly, the digital world has its own benefits but it has also led to a growing disconnect with the real world and the real people around us. Yes, we have achieved great things technology wise but it’s no secret that there are certain things that cannot be replicated or compensated by technology. For example, no amount of technological advancement can recreate the comfort one gets by hugging a loved one or the feeling of joy when you meet a random stranger who has the same music taste as you let alone recreate the enchantments of nature! No matter the time or age, one cannot replace human interaction and interaction with nature with any intelligence. These experiences teach us, mould us and impact us as humans most effectively. The sad part? These experiences are becoming rarer with time.
- Classroom learning only deals with theories. We as academicians understand the importance of teaching these theories to students but after years of handling students we consistently noticed how students learn better when they are themselves involved in doing something. Expecting students to know how to apply things they have only read and wrote about in college as soon as they graduate is like expecting to learn swimming just by reading about it. Moreover, tackling a subject practically adds a lot of factors into play as opposed to just theorising about it. When students, subjected to years of classroom teaching that keeps them within the limits of the classroom, graduate, they are not ready to enter an industry like design that is brutal and requires copious amounts of practical experience.
- The inefficiencies of the methodology is also evident in the statistics that claim that over a massive 48% of graduates in India will be unemployable in the coming years, due to the increasing skill gap. The skill gap is the difference in the demand of various skill-sets required in employees for the coming age of automation and the absence of these skills in the graduates of today. These statistics claim that the students we are pushing out into the market today don’t have the necessary skills to stay afloat in the nearing future. With automation on the rise, we require people who are problem solvers and critical thinkers, and with the classroom learning experience, we are only producing rot learners. While the focus should be on design thinking, most colleges in India only focus on teaching different sofware.
Taking all of these problems as challenges, we designed a Design Program that focuses not just on remedying problems but also progresses towards an evolved teaching methodology keeping up with the evolution in us, humans.
Experiential Design Program as the name suggests takes inspiration from the pedagogy of experiential learning, and combines that with the solid educational foundations and expertise of NICC. We aim to rebuild interest in education and produce industry ready graduates for the future by letting the student out of the classroom.