Sunday, July 29, 2012

How Could New Ideas Change Education?

Chris Brogan recently asked a brilliant question. Actually, he asked 5 brilliant questions:
+ How could new ideas change education?
+ How can younger generations learn from the body of work of their successors?
+ How can we marry up all the great resources of people who know something great to those of us who could stand to learn more?
+ How can I help those of us who lived in the cubicle farms, and what can I do to share that information in a way that will empower others?
+ How can we equip our youth and/or our students and/or our business professionals?
Each of these questions dances around a singular issue: Today's learning models are inadequate. This message is similar to one Charlie O'Donnell has been spreading: "Structures for industry specific learning, particularly when it comes from learning from the accumulated wisdom of successful and experienced professionals, is horribly inefficient." So, we've got two really smart guys highlighting the exact same issue. Could this spell business opportunity? Methinks so...
Note: What you are about to read is a radically different idea. This idea serves as the backbone for my company, a provider of real world education services.
You see, a new model for education is quietly emerging. One fully endorsed - and championed - by my company. This new model definitively solves Chris Brogan's riddles and answers Charlie O'Donnell's call by establishing an efficient structure for industry specific learning.
A new idea that will change education
Before unveiling this new education model, we must first review its foundational principles. If these assumptions were to prove false, then the model would fall apart:
+ Individual, customized learning is better than a generic, one size fits all approach.
+ Adults learn best when they are involved in the diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating of their own learning.
+ Life's reservoir of "experience" is a primary learning resource; the life experiences of others enrich the learning process.
+ Distributed learning (learning which occurs over time) is a more efficient learning method than massed learning because it allows for absorption and understanding (note: massed learning is also known as cramming).
+ If provided the right tools, anyone can be an educator.
Note: This is the most critical principle of this new education model. The current model has built invisible barriers of entry around the teaching profession - barriers like certification and credential requirements. This new model assumes no barriers to becoming an educator. This assumption is borne from Malcolm Gladwell's mismatch hypothesis. He explains:
There is no difference between the performance of credentialed teachers and non-credentialed teachers when it comes to increasing student performance. Whether you have a Master's Degree or not, whether you scored 1400 on your SAT or 1200 on your SAT, it makes absolutely no difference in how you perform at the task of relating to and teaching kids.
In the name of trying to make a better decision, we're spending all this money and spending all this time and none of it is having any effect. In fact, we are doing the very thing that actually defeats the cause of finding better teachers. We're narrowing - what we should be doing is broadening the pool as much as possible - to find as many of these people with this ineffable, elusive gift called "being a good teacher" but instead what we do is narrow the pool.
Founded on the above tenants, the centerpiece for this new education model is the idea of mentorship. Not traditional Boys & Girls Club mentorship, but a radically new kind of mentorship. One that requires accountability, elicits insightful knowledge sharing and helps build deep relationships. This new education model re-envisions mentorship and calls for real world professionals to become the new class of educators.
How does this model work?
This new model is brilliant in its simplicity. Professionals are given a curriculum - one that facilitates real conversation and real-world knowledge transfer. Students are matched to a professional in their chosen career field (each professional is screened on multiple levels). The pair meets (either in person or via phone) and builds a relationship around the given curriculum. Each side records his / her thoughts following every meeting, and reports relationship progress intermittently. In the event of negative feedback, Mentors are replaced, ensuring only the best "teachers" remain.
Now, for this model to work, an incentive structure must exist. Why? To ensure engagement from both the student and the professional. In this model, students pay the curriculum provider and the curriculum provider pays its Mentors (Professionals) for their time. Over time, the curriculum provider becomes much smarter about each professional on its platform. And it tests and molds its curriculum based on community feedback. As time passes, the system gets better!
What is required to make this model successful? For this model to be successful, three things are required:
+ A renowned curriculum that guides each relationship.
+ Students that understand the importance of professional relationships in the context of their career (and are willing to pay for these relationships).
+ Industry professionals that are willing to offer insight and perspective in exchange for monetary compensation.
Why will this model work so well?
This model recognizes the biggest flaw of our current resource constrained model: the number of educators for each student (the student:teacher ratio is one of the keys to delivering quality education). This new education model leverages industry professionals as its force multiplier to dramatically increase the effectiveness and delivery of education. This market-based approach is unlike anything that exists today. Will this new model work? It already does.

1 comment:

  1. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. ThanksBest advertising Agency in the world | top advertising agencies in pakistan | Marketing Agency