#JTBD: When Education Looks Different, But Creates the Same Result
Would that school were so easy.
You go to school to learn something. You take that something and use it in the real world to get things done.
But what if the world changes so fast that the nineteenth century sysetm you are learning in does not prepare you for the 21st century world you go home to live in, use the web in, make your friends in?
You end up disrupting education by finding your own consumption. And that has consequences — some great, some maybe not so great.
Has Traditional Education Jumped the Shark?
What happens when the school you go to is online, free and part of an experiment? What if it’s a test, and not really part of the formal system? Do you lose out by learning in it?
What matters most — that you experienced the very same experience as your “cohort,” or that you learned the skills that you need to get a job?
We are starting to see this kind of question a lot when we look into how different people hire school to get the job of education done.
When education looks different, but creates the same result, what are the tensions that one experiences when trying to use the byproduct of that education to get hired? This question on Quora makes us wonder. The asker of the question offers context:
I’m currently taking part in a free programming course with Stanford University, and I’m watching the same lectures and doing the same work as real students, just not getting a degree out of it. Is it appropriate to include this on my CV/LinkedIn profile?
Here are my questions:
1. If the guy learns skills from this course, but does not get a degree, and he can perform the job that having the degree would indicate he could perform, then what use is the degree?
2. What is more important to an employer — the skill or the degree?
3. Do we rely on the degree because the people who hire us are often people who are not specialists in that field — I’m thinking of an HR manager here, who must have to use degrees to vet applicants.
Future thinking: we can take this thinking to its long-term conclusions. What if education evolves into something that is more about showing your work, or proving that you can solve problems in teh real world? Is it stilla bout the degree? Does the degree become something that proves that, or does the work itself prove that?
If it is the work itself, then what is more important? Is it your relationship in the school, or your relationship in the community?
I think that education institutions give people a bigger platform on which to stand, to build greater relationships with community. But as internet technology deconstructs those platforms, you have to consistently see these things differently. If social web technologies are their own platforms, and one can use those to connect to communities, then what happens to education?
As I have written before, in education there are often more questions than real market forces. If we could experiment more and more with education, we would find the answer to these questions come readily. If we could see real “market forces,” like teachers giving active and ready insight into how they use products, or if there was less overhead to deal with (bureaucracy and red tape), then developers and entrepreneurs could make the changes that would facilitate better learning.
Back to the original point: when students are given access, outside of the system, to newer ways to learn, those choices end up part of the market forces in the equation, and teachers, or anyone who does not participate, becomes further isolated.
My gut instinct says that many who are in education and who make their living from it, are wary of exploring this too much. Realistically speaking, they may feel their livelihood is at stake.
I think it’s not at stake, but it changes. Teachers — in K12 all the way through higher ed — have to change their roles the way reporters in journalism institutions do. It is more important to be facilitator to the hyper-informed community than it is to be the broad generalist who seeks to be the single conduit for information.
Teaching moves from lecturing, monitoring, coaching and mentoring, to curating, guiding, disrupting, and platform leveling. It’s more a task of community management than it is a teacher role.