IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE professor delivers UNESCO keynote on engineering education

27 April 2022

Professor David Guile has delivered a keynote presentation at the UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation webinar series on engineering education.

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Professor in Education and Work at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, David Guile spoke to a global audience of over 300 academics about the concept of fusion skills, and how this differs from the idea of digital skills. Fusion skills are hybrid human-AI skills where artificial intelligence complements or amplifies human skills in new ways. For example, ‘judgement-integration’ combines predictions generated by a machine with professional considerations and ethical values. Fusion skills are therefore the skills which individuals will need increasingly to flourish in education and work.

Professor Guile’s talk was based on a recent chapter he co-wrote with Professor John Mitchell, Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) with Professor Guile, titled ‘Fusion Skills and Industry 5.0: Conceptions and Challenges’. The chapter was published in a book edited by Dr Montaha Bouezzeddine ‘Insights into Global Engineering Education After the Birth of Industry 5.0’.

In his presentation, Professor Guile explored how fusion skills offer a way for departments of engineering to identify how to integrate AI-employability skills into discipline-specific engineering degrees and interdisciplinary degrees. He also examined how the Engineering Education MSc at UCL offers departments of engineering a way to upskill their academic staff to address the challenge of integrating fusion skills into engineering programmes.

Professor Guile said: “The challenge for departments of engineering, and arguably other disciplines in higher education, is to decide whether they want to just add fusion skills as an additional module to existing programmes or re-design programmes to embed the skills within modules. The key thing to bear in mind is that though helpful, the former is merely an additive strategy whereas the latter will help all students to, as the Royal Society recommended in 2017, “think algorithmically.”

The Engineering Education Special Series of webinars is part of a UNESCO-ICHEI flagship project to empower the digital upskilling of higher education professionals worldwide amid the challenges brought about from the Covid-19 pandemic.