DESIGNING A SEED
January 16, 2012
Posted by on
How many adults around the globe do you think could benefit from new knowledge that could help them improve their lives and living standards? Could it easily be several billion people?
How many people do you think could afford to pay for that learning at the rates that are charged for college courses or continuing education programs or business workshops? Probably not very many.
What new tools and social factors might help us reduce the cost and deliver new knowledge broadly? The Internet is certainly one of the tools. Research about how we learn and the differences in learning styles offer other tools. Social factors like new organizational forms that produce results like Wikipedia and the Linux operating system offered new ideas about organizing and getting people involved in such activities.
Another major social factor is that we have more people living longer who have immense amounts of life experience and expertise that they could share. Also, many of these people have enough “retirement” income to give them greater flexibility in terms of how they spend their time. And, some may want additional purpose in their lives and enjoy connecting with people in other places and other cultures.
If you can accept these premises – and please feel free to challenge them – how could we design a different educational approach that would be much less expensive and that could be replicated and scaled to meet global needs?
I see that challenge as “designing a seed“, because it has to start very small but have within its core the necessary DNA blueprint to grow into something much, much larger.
I want to explore some ideas about that design in subsequent posts. I am also wondering about the soil that will be necessary to germinate this seed and to nourish it as it grows.
So, what factors do you think fit into this design? Does the Stanford University course with 140,000 registrants mentioned in my last post suggest any factors that should be considered in this design? What else is happening in education that you might know about that is changing the model for adult learning in terms of cost and scale?