Jaschik (2015) argues that college students are not well prepared with qualities and skills required for their future careers. There are several reasons why students are not well prepared in areas of communication, critical thinking, and creativity. To begin with, there is a perception gap where graduates and faculty believe the former are well prepared compared to employers. This makes it more difficult to improve the students’ skills as both faculty and students consider their skills to be sufficient. Secondly, school faculties do not consider it their obligation to train students in these skills. Rather, faculties focus on habits of learning and intellectual skill education. In this case, educators may not focus on the student’s outcomes following their graduation. Thirdly, the diverse nature and needs of students in schools may lead to gaps between their needs or expectations and what teachers deliver in classroom settings (Livingstone, 2012). Finally, weak links between the job market and degree programs may also harm preparations in the aforementioned skills.
Technology has a significant impact on lack of preparation in the areas of communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Indeed, these skills have declined as technology plays a more critical role in the students’ coursework. One reason for this is due to a decline in reading skills. Reading for pleasure especially engages the imagination and enhances thinking, which is harmed by the use of technology (Livingstone, 2012). Students who spend more time using technology and less time using print media may improve their information-processing capacity. However, this does not give the student time for imagination, analysis, reflection, or presenting written/oral feedback. As such, rather than being a panacea for the education sector, technology leads to a loss of critical skills needed in the job market. Further, the use of technology has slowed the development of vocabulary acquisition and retention (Livingstone, 2012). In turn, this has negatively affected the written and oral communication skills of the students.
Inadequate communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills has several long term consequences. According to Jaschik (2015), employers want employees who can solve problems, think critically, communicate more effectively, collaborate, and innovate. Thus, communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills are the most important factors for success in the workplace. Thus, inadequate skills may make the student uncompetitive in the job market. Furthermore, inadequate development of the aforementioned skills reduces the student’s capacity for imagination, analysis, or reflection. In the long term, such reduced capacities may cause the individual’s reasoning abilities to become overwhelmed. Moreover, inadequate creativity and critical thinking skill development may also reduce the individual’s capacity for decision making and knowledge creation in the long term (Livingstone, 2012). This is because the individual is unable to accommodate increased information and data levels. Finally, inadequate development of creativity skills also reduces the individual’s capacity for multi-tasking in the long-term.
Finally, there are significant concerns that dependence on technology could result in a lack of empathy. Empathy, which is the capacity to share another person’s feelings, allows humans to collaborate, communicate, and learn. However, technology exposes the individual to massive amounts of ideas and information that could destroy empathy (Livingstone, 2012). For example, the information silos in social, website, print, and broadcast media may create ideological biases in the learner. In turn, such ideological biases may lead to acceptance of extreme beliefs and actions against ‘out-groups’, destroying empathy towards these groups. Moreover, technology provides too much information for the individual learner to take in. This situation could result in suppression or negation of the individual’ emotion and lead to emotional fatigue, in turn destroying empathy. In this case, the individual’s choice to either suppress or experience empathetic emotion could alter their human connection (Livingstone, 2012). Nevertheless, increased consciousness to diminishing empathy could help in recovering one’s human connections.
- Jaschik, S. (2015, January 20). Well-Prepared in Their Own Eyes. Retrieved August 21, 2017, from Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/20/study-finds-big-gaps-between-student-and-employer-perceptions
- Livingstone, S. (2012). Critical reflections on the benefits of ICT in education. Oxford review of education, 38(1), 9-24