“Will this be on the test?”
Seth Godin

Thanks for sharing this! I love the way that you are rethinking education.

Consumers now have choice and have an expectation for solutions that meet their needs and the university is on the wrong side of this new customer-focused mindset. By their own self-admittance, universities are designed to meet the needs of the faculty (e.g. tenure model, courses driven by professors’ research interests). The appetite for learning and the spending on learning hasn’t waned, it’s just be redirected away from the university- consumers are choosing alternatives because they can.

I completely agree with you that current solutions have failed to address the root problem. It’s because they are listening to the wrong stakeholder: new ed tech solutions are emerging but have been designed with a very different customer in mind: the professor. From my experience in working with various universities, the faculty are the most resistant to change, especially when it comes to their pedagogy — they’ve been trained to research, write, and lecture if they must and so they tell entrepreneurs that they just need a better way to lecture and remove the administrative headache of everything else. Therefore, many ed tech solutions look the same: blackboard 2.0 (e.g. Desire2Learn) or iTunesU 2.0 (e.g. coursera). And so the pedagogy doesn’t change and we’re still left with the same problem.

Education has always been about transformation, not mere information transfer, and this requires human-to-human interaction. Socrates’s early academy was just that: learning with and from others. Athletic training requires drills and working with another person, not just book learning. But, as you pointed out, for some reason we’ve forgotten all of this.

I love what you are doing and how you are thinking about this! Eager to see how this industry evolves!