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Today many institutions of higher learning are trying to implement it in some form (Bass, Dellana, & Herbert, 1996, p. 339).
In developing the institution of higher learning for the future, the administration will have to consider the new technologies that can be adopted, the consequences of doing so, ways in which those technologies can be used both on and off campus, and the way education should be organized to accomplish the tasks needed for the future. This will require rethinking the way the institution is currently structured:
Reengineering in education is about developing a delivery process which is coherent and progressive in scope in order to maximize the learning experiences of students. Since reengineering focuses on coherent processes, not structures, it negates the perpetuation of typical educational structures, such as departments in high schools, and focuses more on sequential, progressive learning through the rearrangement of the curriculum and instruction to address the goals of cohesion and progression (Weller, 1998).
Managers note that today's business environment is rapidly changing. Technology has entered the workplace to a degree never before seen, and the interaction between humans and machines is changing the very nature of work. Increasingly, machines are being used not only to perform tasks which are dangerous for humans, but tasks which cannot be done as quickly or as effectively human beings. The result is that today's workers are different in their knowledge, skills and expectations than the workers of the Industrial Age, which means that different approaches to management are necessary, and that different challenges now face managers. The workforce is simply too vital an element in any business to be given secondary status. Large businesses show that they know there is a need for better training and orientation and that developing a more skilled workforce is a key to strategic success. Small businesses should know the same thing even if the workforce is only one or two people. The skills of the workers are what the public sees and what the public relies on for better products, better service, and so on.
The design of the school of the future is a necessary consideration as we move into the new millennium and seek ways to make our educational system live up to its promise for all citizens. Again, employers who are part of cooperative agreements with schools will have more influence over how education is designed and administered. Employers should recognize that cooperative learning can help reduce costs. High turnover and the training of new hires that this entails is known to be costly, and businesses today seek more and more to reduce turnover as much as possible. Cooperative education is also called experiential education. Colleges recognize the value of experience in leaning and so give credit for work time under certain circumstances. Employers need to give the same recognition to employees who continue their education or to interns who are learning the business while going to school. Such a program can create better employees and can help the employer in a number of ways, including by reducing the costs of training that the employer now has.
Universities are both providing corporate training and learning from the training they are giving to students. Corporations can save money on what they have to spend for in-house training and can achieve greater productivity as a result. Universities gain with the money paid to them by the corporate world. Distance learning is only one of the technological changes taking place at universities, but the impetus for distance learning programs is fueling many changes and is seen to have an influence on regular classroom instruction as well. Distance learning is sought by corporations for its convenience, but it also offers an opportunity for pedagogical improvement with the production of new materials and more interesting presentations. The universities are learning from their involvement with the corporate world and are putting many of these lessons into practice to benefit themselves as institutions, thus increasing revenues, attracting more students, and becoming more vital in the community as a whole. The process is certain to continue into the future and may mean even more connection between academia and the corporate world.
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