Tuesday, 17 August 2010

12 years of your life for 4 years of knowledge - a good deal?

Michael Feldstein has written a thought-provoking post on Xplana.com which "provides direct-to-student productivity tools that enhance the student learning experience". Xplana is an attempt to support individuals in their learning, which is a broad trend that will be highly disruptive to current educational models, certainly in Higher Education. The economic climate and availability of access to internet resources (while still not universal) sits in stark contrast with the student experience on offer in most educational institutions (and even corporate training for that matter).

Charles Jennings commented questioning the content-centric view of learning rather than an experience-centric view.

I suspect we need to redefine what “content” is. Certainly, the emphasis on complex, pre-packaged content (textbooks, e-learning tutorials etc) must shift to a more fluid, flow based model of content. In many respects, this is what informal, social learning embodies – the short comment, prompted reflection, trying things out, taking action – all intertwined with your daily life experience. Tools that can help nudge, structure, catalyse that experience will come to the forefront as we genuinely take more individual responsibility for our learning – as we won’t be able to rely on traditional institutions to provide the right support in the immediate future. Here in the UK, it’s reported that we will have 200,000 students not getting access to University education despite appearing to have the right grades and while the integrity of that process is an another debate, it looks like a growing contingent of students will avoid fees and the relatively glacial pace of learning on offer within the traditional route, and will take a very different path that is much more under their control and personalised to their needs.

As David Mitchell, a comedian, in the UK reflected (I paraphrase), “The education system provides 4 years of knowledge taking a leisurely 12 years to give it to you.” To which I might add, by which time you’ve forgotten most of it and with the remainder you’re still left unclear how to apply it in a useful and productive way.

Things can only get better…in the end.