This future research process was developed as a consequence of the economic crisis that was triggered in 2008. The purpose of the research, led by Peter Belohlavek, was to find the human aspects that participated in the crisis and how education could have helped to anticipate it and/or accelerate the recovery.
The research included participants of 10 countries. The final objective of this research was to develop a reliable 10-year future scenario for Superior Education.
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Superior Education is defined as the activity that deals with the acquisition of knowledge to manage the complex adaptive aspects of the environment.
It requires having the technologies, tools and approaches to:
- Develop reliable future forecasts
- Design the necessary maximal and minimum strategies
- Build the architectures that are needed to make things happen
What has changed in the environment?
- The speed of technological development has increased
- Information technology made most of the operational and administrative aspects of business manageable
- Information became accessible to everyone on the Internet
- The speed of technological evolution and the saturation of information increased the level of complexity to manage businesses
Which technologies appeared?
- The double dialectical logic to explain the dynamics of complex problems
- The business objects driven technologies to manage adaptive processes
- Future research methodologies to forecast the environment that made predictive adaptive systems feasible.
What will have happened within the next 10 years?
In ten years the following aspects will probably be the standard for Superior Education:
- Logical approaches will have replaced mechanical approaches to solve complex problems
- Future forecasting will have become a must for business planning
- Dynamic education will have replaced static education
- Virtual education will be dominant
- Educational processes will be fully learning driven
- Complex problem solving will have replaced thematic education
- Teachers’ role will be focused on “expert counseling”
This can be synthesized in one sentence:
The “know why” and adaptiveness will be the core of Superior Education.
Educational models respond naturally to the needs, archetypes and lifestyles of cultures and their development. The changes in superior education should be guiding the changes of cultures but, unfortunately, mostly they are a consequence of the changes of cultures.
It can be noticed that the changes in education happen extremely slowly because the standards of the educational systems are implicitly established by the patterns of parents, teachers and educational authorities.
The most influential aspects of educational systems is what we have named the superior education which deals with the knowledge that goes beyond the necessary professional skills needed to work. Superior education is based on programs that are prepared to form the professional elite.
While the educational models at a superior level have been strongly driven by teaching the operational and technical aspects of a field, the IT driven tools evolved allowing automating or semi-automating the work processes which made the knowledge acquired redundant with the knowledge included in the IT solutions.
This change happened while the educational system maintained its inertia using the necessary dualistic approach to deal with operational and technical-analytical approaches.
Static vs. Dynamic Learning Processes
The superior education in business management provided an empirical operational and analytical framework for business management that upgraded professionalism in the XXth century.
The static empirical model that permitted administrating businesses provided the knowledge that allowed developing the necessary information technology that become redundant with the superior educational programs. Simultaneously, the explosive R&D capacity to release new products shortened their lifecycle.
These two situations, the redundancy of operational an analytical knowledge and the acceleration of business processes, made the static empirical approach to business become functional to business operation but dysfunctional to business management.
This scenario opened new demands for superior education in businesses that are still unsatisfied.
These new demands imply going beyond empirical approaches and providing technologies that allow managing the adaptive dynamics of businesses which require being able to forecast the future, build strategies to achieve this future and design the necessary business architecture to make the future happen.
The development of the unicist double dialectical logic and its rules provided the basic tools that allow dealing with the adaptive dynamics of businesses to build future scenarios, diagnoses, strategies and business architecture.
About Static Learning Processes
A synthetic description of static learning processes allows understanding the difference between dealing with reality as an adaptive system or managing it as a stagnated reality.
Dualistic logic and the traditional dialectical approach naturally drive towards static learning. Dualistic logic is based on the disjunction “or”, which allows fixing reality with an arbitrary approach.
This allows learning operational methods and using analytical thinking to understand them. But this approach generates parallel realities when dealing with complex adaptive systems.
The final purpose is to have valid knowledge in the long term memory which is based on the operational knowledge and to have the knowledge of cause-effect relationships which provides the causal foundations of this knowledge.
The static learning process drives to sustain personal opinions which allow dealing with systemic aspects of reality where the technical-analytical knowledge is being fully managed. This knowledge is valid as long as the reality has not changed. That is why we talk about static equilibrium.
This learning process is based on what has been named “pseudo accommodation” which is based on assuming the role of an “observer” of reality and managing the projections on the environment as valid information.
It allows building hypothetical knowledge that confirms the opinions of the learner. It is the typical accumulative learning considering the external reality as an observable environment that can be influenced through cause-effect actions.
The static learning process is the natural learning standard in over-adapted environments that are driven by domination, submission and opposition of the members.
The confirmation of the knowledge is based on using fallacious confirmation processes which are based on the projection of apparent facts and hypothetical ideas to confirm the beliefs of the participants.
These beliefs allow confirming the opinions of the learners which are the core of the static knowledge that can be acquired in static learning processes.
1) Static Equilibrium
The use of dualistic logic, based on the confrontation of positions, using the disjunction “or” to deal with reality, drives individuals to a static equilibrium where their opinions prevail.
Dualistic thinking, following the natural behavior of neurons, is the less energy consuming thinking process.
This drives naturally towards an over-adaptive behavior which implies submitting, dominating or opposing to the environment.
Dualistic logic generates naturally aprioristic fallacies to deal with the environment which allows individuals to build a parallel reality that works as a comfort zone where they have no need of adapting. Domination, submission and oppositions are the alternatives they manage to feel safe.
Dualistic dialectics, like the ones of Hegel and Marx, provide the justification of the actions of individuals, apparently proposing a change but in fact remaining in a static equilibrium.
The positive aspect is that static equilibrium allows managing reality as a systemic model based on cause-effect relationships although complexity cannot be apprehended.
Static equilibrium is necessary to deal with methods and supernatural and religious thinking. That is why the basic educational system is based on teaching static processes in order to allow people to access the world of work.
Dealing with Dynamic Learning Processes
Reliable Knowledge: The Objective of Learning Processes in Dynamic Environments
The knowledge is adaptive when it allows apprehending reality as a complex adaptive system and the individual is able to transform knowledge into actions, understanding the consequences based on its foundations.
The development of actions requires knowing the fundamentals of what someone is doing. The knowledge of the fundamentals is required to do things. Technical-analytical knowledge allows controlling the cause-effect relationships after the actions were implemented.
Reliability is based on the integration of the knowledge of the fundamentals, the technical-analytical knowledge and the possibility to adapt to the environment.
2) Dynamic Equilibrium
Dynamic equilibrium implies adapting to reality which implies a permanent accommodation process in order to generate the necessary complementation or supplementation with the environment.
Dynamic equilibrium requires using the double dialectical logic to approach reality which is based on the conjunction “and” without the existence of disjunctions. This allows individuals to influence the environment while they are being influenced by it.
It requires having a structural approach in order to be able to apprehend the fundamentals of reality and a functional approach in order to measure them in terms of results. In a dynamic equilibrium environment things are not true or false, but functional or dysfunctional.
Dynamic equilibrium requires dealing with reality as a complex adaptive system. This implies that the structure of the complex adaptive system, defined by a purpose, an active function and an energy conservation function, needs to be apprehended.
This apprehension requires the use of the double dialectical logic which demands using the unicist double dialectical thinking. This approach allows apprehending complex adaptive systems in their nature and transforming them into systemic systems making the necessary compromises without leaving aside their essential structure while measuring the results that are being achieved.
Conclusion: “Know why” and Adaptiveness are the Next Step
The unicist logical approach allows driving businesses to the next level increasing their adaptiveness and speed of actions to improve results measured in growth and profits.
It has to be considered that there are cultures where the question “why” is socially non-acceptable because it provides full transparency, that defines the limits of an individual’s influencing capacity. In these cultures superior education is, from now on, a question of status and not of knowledge.
It also has to be considered that adaptiveness implies, besides reacting, forecasting the future and also influencing it. But in some cultures the future is a “taboo” which makes the acceptance of the credibility of reliable future scenarios impossible.
As these cultures are natural followers, their superior education cannot include aspects that deal with adaptiveness. This implies that the next step that has been defined is only applicable to cultures that accept their capacity to influence the future in an adapted way.
Anyway and anyhow this change process will demand decades and will be catalyzed by the individual initiatives of institutions and corporations that decide to make it on their own.
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NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute was the pioneer in complexity science research and became a private global decentralized leading research organization in the field of human adaptive systems. http://www.unicist.org