Educational Media in Transition: Broadcasting, Digital Media and Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Economy. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)

By Flew, Terry | International Journal of Instructional Media, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

Educational Media in Transition: Broadcasting, Digital Media and Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Economy. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)


Flew, Terry, International Journal of Instructional Media


EDUCATION IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

It has been widely argued that there has been a transition in recent years in technologically advanced societies towards an information society or a knowledge economy. For sociologist Manuel Castells, what is significant to the current technological revolution, and what links it to the idea of a knowledge economy, is not simply the centrality of knowledge and information, but `the application of such knowledge and information to knowledge generation and information processing/communication devices, in a cumulative feedback loop between innovation and the uses of innovation' (Castells, 1996: 32). Castells (1996: 60-63) identifies five further features of the information technology paradigm, which are central to understanding the knowledge economy:

* The role played by technologies in acting on information, rather than information used to act on technologies;

* The pervasiveness of effects of the new technologies, both within and outside the workplace;

* The networking, logic of systems that use new communications and information and communication technologies;

* The flexibility of networks, and their capacity to be reconfigured as required;

* The growing convergence of specific technologies into integrated systems, including not only the convergence of IT, media and telecommunications (cf. Barr, 2000), but also convergence between the biological and IT revolutions through projects such as the `Human Genome Project.'

Charles Leadbetter (1999: 10) has identified the knowledge economy as one that is `driven by new factors of production and sources of competitive advantage- innovation, design, branding, know-how- which are at work in all industries', and where the capacity to promote collaboration and distribute knowledge is the key to appropriate forms of institutional reform. This concept of cumulative and distributed knowledge, that is at the center of the knowledge economy, is shared by leaders in the corporate university movement such as Motorola University, who believe that the key to success in the `new economy' lies in knowledge management, or the capacity to make knowledge portable, collective and accredited through aligning networked technologies with organizational structures to distribute knowledge (McCarty, 1999).

In a recent report on the emergence of new forms of higher education provision. such as corporate universities, virtual universities and private for-profit education and training providers, Cunningham et. al. (2000) identified eight trends that were driving change in modes of education provision:

1. Globalization, and the need to deliver appropriate courses worldwide, as well as develop cross-cultural competencies at management level;

2. New information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the need to continually upgrade skills in how to use ICTs throughout the Organization, as the `half-life' of knowledge falls dramatically;

3. The knowledge economy, and the need to reduce the cycle time between developing and executing new ideas, as well as making knowledge portable and transferable through sharing best practice;

4. The need to create a learning organization, which promotes learning agility, an orientation to change, and a commitment to lifelong learning throughout the organization- the major issue is no longer seen as the acquisition of skills, but how to teach behaviors, which are primarily learned through challenging experiences;

5. The growth of user-pays higher education, and closer attention on the part of corporations to the `bottom line' of externally-provided training, as well as the decline in public funding to universities;

6. Use of ICTs to distribute knowledge through the organization at lower costs, through the Internet and corporate Intranets, in order to lever com petitive advantage through the sharing of intellectual capital,

7. …

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Educational Media in Transition: Broadcasting, Digital Media and Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Economy. (Instructional Media Initiatives: Focusing on the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York)
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