The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Human Skills, and Online Learning: Notes from the higher educational experiences of police officers




Deckha, Nitin

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Begell House


This article describes how the blended format of a higher education program initially designed for police officers supported the nurturing of human skills, such as creativity, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking, which are increasingly seen as essential in 21st century workplaces. The article begins with a discussion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how the impacts of automation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things, among others, are compelling reevaluation of non-cognitive or human skills. Then, the article explores the evolution of the educational program at the University of Guelph-Humber, in Toronto, Canada, and outlines how by-products of the program were hallmark liberal arts skills, such as critical thinking, research, analysis, and communication, which were seen as valuable to police work. Third, it highlights some of the specific impacts of increasing technological inputs such as artificial intelligence, crime mapping, and predictive policing algorithms on everyday community policing. Finally, the article correlates how, perhaps counterintuitively, blended or hybrid and online education can create learning environments to nurture the human skills to respond to the workplaces of the future.



online education, human skills, soft skills, police, higher education, professionalization