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Curriculum Based Education Systems Foster Less Engagement From Students then Skill-Based Education

Students lack the skills necessary to succeed in our group-based world, due to a curriculum-based education system. Students today spend all day learning and memorizing facts for exams and tests that, will most likely, have no real-world application. And even when students are learning information that can be valuable to them. it is wasted, because they do not have the skills to apply it in the correct settings. In our world most jobs require people to work in group settings that schools should have prepared them for.

Schools that use a curriculum based education system will often require students to learn and memorize specific materials in order to complete a test or exam. While in some cases this can be beneficial to introduce a student to a concept or system. It often leads to students only memorizing the information and forgetting about it after the exam is over. This can also lead to teachers lecturing for full class periods without having any student interactivity at all. In the article “Skill Based Assessment” from the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the author states “Written tests can assess knowledge acquisition and reasoning ability, but they cannot so easily measure skills… For a reliable measure of clinical skills, performance has to be sampled across a range of patient problems.” Students often receive the most value from education when the concepts they are learning are put into practice.

Every day there are many industries of our world get more and more complex. New problems pop up every single day that require all new methods of thinking in order to solve. As we are moving into the fourth industrial revolution (otherwise known as industry 4.0), many jobs require more than just a base knowledge a specific subject. In the article “A Reference Human-centric Architecture Model: a skill based approach for education of future workforce,” the authors Emmanuel Flores, Xun Xu, and Yuqian Lu state “Education and adequate upskilling of students and employees are required for a proper industry 4.0 criterion, such as future sustainability and creation of value. This requirement invites opportunities for new ways of tackling such an existing issue.” As our industries evolve and get more competitive and advanced, our system of education should also follow suit in order to best prepare it’s students for the wider industry world.

As a college student, I have seen first hand what skill based education can provide to a student. As a music student, I have had to spend a lot of time, not only in curriculum based education, but also skill based education. Every day I use my knowledge of music theory, and music in general, to not only play music, but also write my own. I have to prepare pieces of music for specific musicians and different groups of instruments, which requires me to not only know a lot of information about music, but also know how to work with people on different projects. Having the opportunity to create music with live musicians and work with all sorts of people has helped me get to a skill level where I am now comfortable doing it.

Another industry we can look to to see good examples of skill based education is the video game industry. Video games get players directly involved in their systems and force them to learn quickly in either solo or group settings. A good video game will teach it’s players the basics of how to play without the player realizing they’re being taught. One game that does skill based education particularly well is Destiny 2. The 2017 the first-person-shooter game (which is a sequel the original Destiny from 2014) has a very fun base gameplay loop. It gives players many different weapons and armor pieces to choose from, and allows them to pick what they believe is correct for each situation. Players then use this is gear that they have earned in order to complete different challenges. The games cooperative flagship team game mode, otherwise known as Raids, are the pinnacle of what this game does correctly in terms of skill based education. It takes what the player has in terms of gear and knowledge of the overall game and forces them to think on their feet in a group setting. When players want to attempt a raid, they must first make sure that they have five other people to play with and the proper gear. Throughout the raid players must complete puzzles and boss fights with a varying complexity of mechanics. These mechanics are not known to the players. Through team base coordination and trial and error, players we must figure out the mechanics in order to avoid failing.

Another game that does this particularly well is Elden Ring. The 2022 game begins by giving the player a short and optional tutorial. Players can skip this tutorial if they either already know what they’re doing or want to figure it out on their own. After the tutorial the game gives you very minimal guidance on where to go and what to do. It is almost completely up to the player to figure out every system, boss fight, enemy, and dungeon in the game. The games developers, FromSoftware, want players too be fully immersed in the world they created. The game is meant to feel as if you were on an epic quest, fighting gods and monsters, except you are just a regular person. The game does not spoonfeed you information, it tests your skill and puts you in situations where you have to use what you know.

I believe that our education systems can improve from having more skill based and group based work. Well I do think students need some form of basic knowledge to succeed in any industry, and video game for that matter, having nowhere to test those ideas and learn group and solo skills makes the information that is being taught worthless. Engaging students in the classroom will help them be more engaged in the workplace and in many of their future endeavors.

The British Medical Journal, Skill Based Assessment, 26 March 2003.

Flores, Emmanuel, Xu, Xun, Lu, Yuqian, A Reference Human-centric Architecture Model: a skill-based approach for education of future workforce, 2022.

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