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Design and the 4th Industrial Revolution

Discussions on the Fourth Industrial Revolution dwell on artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and the interconnectedness of things to name but a few. The adoption of technologies to make our lives and work easier has infiltrated every thinkable corner of society.  The world is constantly in flux, and no one is able to succinctly predict what the future holds for people and the jobs they are currently occupying.

The working world is rapidly changing and it is imperative for any training or educational institution to embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to prepare students for successful assimilation into the workforce.

The Design Faculty at CTU Training Solutions consists of programme offerings in Visual Communication, Graphic Design, and Computer Aided Draughting & Design (CAD).

In the visual communications industry, changes in media consumption and the manner how users interact with communication have a tremendous impact on the acquisition of skills for any potential designer. In the programmes offered in Graphic Design and Visual Communication, students engage with a variety of current software applications that enables the application of design ideas to press, online, film and interactive media. Students are further encouraged to explore the combination of media types such as creating illustrative designs and providing the viewer with the option to engage with content through augmented reality.

In an article published in Art Times, it is stated that ‘creative economy, now more than ever, needs to be considered a powerful addition to the current world of work. Conceptualised by John Howkins in 2001, the ‘creative economy’ refers to economic systems in which value is derived from creative and imaginative qualities instead of traditional sources such as capital, land or labour’ (Art Times, ND).

Besides developing students’ technical acuity, the programmes in Visual Communication and Graphic Design focus on the development of students’ ability to develop innovative design solutions to stated design problems. Creativity is not only a key skill for every successful designer but is identified as a priority skill in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In 2015, creativity was ranked number 10 on the list of important skills but has subsequently been moved to the third most important skill after complex problem solving and critical thinking by the World Economic Forum (Gray, 2016).

In the CAD programmes offered by CTU Training Solutions, the application of technology is consistently reviewed to ensure students stay abreast of the latest developments. Although the principles of mechanical and architectural draughting remain the same, technology has drastically altered the way that we are able to present three-dimensional representations of architectural and mechanical structures. At CTU, we employ virtual reality (VR) to enable a viewer to experience the space of an architectural structural through a virtual walk-through.

The CAD department is in the planning phases of incorporating drone technology into the curriculum. Drones have been successfully integrated to assist in performing land surveys, photogrammetry, 3D mapping, topographic surveying, and more. Whilst students will still engage with the traditional methods of land surveying, engaging with new technologies and the methods of interpreting data will assist in preparing them for utilizing new technologies in the industry.

In the Icograda Design Education Manifesto, Dave Malouf (2011) states that “[t]echnology as a tool cannot be relied upon and our ability to predict future technology is severely hampered by the complexity and flux of our society and our markets. It is, thus, more important to develop methods for understanding technology and its uses than it is to learn how to use any specific tool.” In the Design Faculty, we not only develop creative skills considered as key in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but we also create an awareness of technological advances which will encourage the desire to apply technology, whatever it may be in future.


Art Times. (ND). Art Times. Retrieved March 17, 2020, from Creativity, is the currency in 4th industrial revolution:

Gray, A. (2016, January 19). The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Retrieved March 17, 2020, from World Economic Forum:

Malouf, D. (2011). Design Education of the Future. Icograda Design Education Manifesto 2011, 100.