Korea Institute of Energy Technology (KENTECH) will break down the barriers that exist between education and the real world. We will bring the working world into education and take education into the working world. We will go in-between learning and work. We will bring professionals into the classroom to teach. We will work on projects for real organizations from the beginning, and we will go out into the environment, into communities. To prepare people for the future, we need to design an education system that is forward-looking and not backward-looking. In today’s world of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we must prepare students for uncertainty and promote agility and adaptability. This requires a reorientation all the way from early childhood education to university education. It means encouraging flexibility rather than specialization. It requires training and retraining educators, as well as redesigning education systems and curricula. We need to completely reimagine education. Instead of learning to memorize facts and figures, students need to “learn how to learn” and “how to solve problems”. And they should be allowed to learn independently and in collaboration. We need to completely reframe the system of education based on where the world is going, instead of continuing to do the same thing over and over again. We will understand the real problems that people and industries are facing so we can shape our learning around those problems rather than just looking at a textbook. As the world gets complicated, however, the world’s problems will not be able to be solved by looking at only one discipline. They’re solved at the intersection of disciplines. What we believe is that instead of giving students a menu of academic courses and disciplines, we should give them a menu of problems and challenges that the world (or field) is facing, and then have them pick one of them and curate their learning experience around solving those problems. The end goal is to impart methods of learning to become experts and leaders who can tackle the greatest challenges of the 21st century in an innovative way no one can’t yet imagine.
KENTECH ways of educational innovation: Problem-Based Learning
The Motivation to Learn Begins with a Problem. In a problem-based learning (PBL) model, students engage complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution. PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge to real-world problems - the motivation to solve a problem becomes the motivation to learn. KENTECH founding mission compels innovative and practical coursework with an emphasis on ‘usable knowledge’— connecting research to practice. As our courses and on-going research work continue to confront the vexing global challenges through multi-disciplinary efforts, we need an educational approach that values and promotes collaborative working skills and meaningful experiences. We will aim at nurturing the creative problem-solving skills and collaborative educational efforts through a PBL approach that can nurture the vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that defines KENTECH. At KENTECH, all undergraduate students participate in five high-impact energy-related courses from the first year that provide hands-on, field-initiated experiences in the areas, so that they can stay engaged by working on projects connected to real-world challenges throughout the curriculum. Students participate in project-based activities in their courses from entry-level (a teacher-presented) through their own capstone projects (a student-formulated). Examples of this work are pervasive beyond classes in Residential College including student club activities and our thriving community-engagement / service-learning efforts.
Students complete HASS (Humanities, Arts, Social Science) courses by their senior year, one per a semester, in order to build strong skills in humanistic insights, communication, and critical thinking. To deal with HASS areas, KETNECH establishes a partnership with Minerva Project specialized in liberal arts and science education (KENTECH is the first University in Korea to implement Minerva’s educational program). Minerva combines an interdisciplinary and cross-contextual curriculum with a Fully Active Learning Pedagogy, based on decades of research in the science of learning. The same curriculum, pedagogy, and learning platform are used by Minerva University, Minerva Project’s flagship partner. Minerva University’s admission rate, hovering around 1-2% making it the most selective university in the world, has been ranked 3rd in the 2021 WURI (World Universities with Real Impact) ranking, after MIT and Stanford. KENTECH students will take the same foundational HASS classes as Minerva University students for their first and second year. These courses are designed to strengthen foundational skills such as critical and creative thinking, as well as effective communication and interrelation. These concepts are learned and practiced in various contexts, using Minerva’s Active Learning Pedagogy, where the class is not a place to listen to lectures, but rather one to deepen and practice new concepts learned through active debate, live polling, and students’ collaboration.